Adam Hadwin starts to cash in on his successful campaign of a year ago when he tees it up in this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. The kick-off to the 2018 portion of the PGA Tour schedule is a no-cut, $6.3 million (U.S.) purse event for tournament winners from 2017.
Add in the fact that it’s being played in Hawaii and it’s not a bad way to start the new year.
There are just 34 golfers in the field and Hadwin, who won the Valspar Championship, is one of 14 first-timers to the event. He tees of Thursday at 11:30 local time alongside Kevin Chappell.
In addition to this tournament, the Abbotsford, B.C., product has also booked spots in the year’s first three majors, two of the first three World Golf Championship events and invitationals such as Bay Hill, Colonial and Memorial.
Mike Weir continues to find different places to play as he fights to return to form.
Weir will tee it up at the South African Open next week, marking his first visit back that country since the 2003 Presidents Cup. The Canadian is playing at the invitation of tournament host Ernie Els, a close friend.
“I know the tournament has a long history and many great names on the trophy, so it’s a title worth pursuing,” Weir told the European Tour’s website. “I’m looking forward to it.”
In his last start, Weir finished tied for 15th at the Australian PGA Championship in December. That marked his best finish in any professional tournament since 2014.
Weir has struggled for consistency since injuring his elbow in 2010. He has suffered subsequent injuries and undergone a number of surgeries in hopes of correcting the problems.
In the last year, Weir has teed it up in Australia, Morocco, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Fiji, the United States, Canada and now South Africa.
Weir is also expected to play the Career Builder Challenge on the PGA Tour and then tee it up on the Web.Com Tour as he tries to return to form. In May, he turns 48 and has said he’d like to play the Champions Tour when he turns 50.
The PGA Tour begins the new year with two tournaments that have no title sponsor, a rarity for sure.
The Houston Open, which started back in 1946, and The National, a tournament hosted by Tiger Woods and benefitting his charity, are both looking for financial backing.
Shell was the sponsor of the Houston Open, beginning its association with the event back in 1992. It parted ways after last year’s tournament.
The National started in 2007 and was known as the AT&T National until 2013. From 2014 to 2017 it was the Quicken Loans National. Now it’s without a sponsor although the hunt continues.
Whether these two events can carry on without a title is a question PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will have to deal with. If a past example is any indication, sponsor-less tournaments can be shuffled to less desirable spots on the calendar.
The RBC Canadian Open lost Bell as title sponsor after the 2006 Open and was relegated to its present date, stuck between the Open Championship and the PGA Championship. If the Houston or Washington events can’t find a sponsor before the 2019 editions, they may either cease to exist or be moved to less high-profile dates.
Coincidentally, the current date for The National – two weeks after the U.S. Open and two before The Open – would be ideal for the RBC Canadian Open, having it played over the Canada Day weekend.
In past interviews with the Monahan, he’s said that there are no plans to move the RBC Canadian Open, which he believes fares well despite it’s date. But with tournaments struggling and RBC spending mega-bucks on two events and player endorsements, he’ll at least have to consider the possibility of a move on the calendar.