REPORT FROM THE PGA TOUR – Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii – American Bubba Watson, who claimed his first major championship triumph in April at the Masters Tournament with one of the most memorable shots of the year, is one of three players to commit to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, tournament officials announced today. Watson is joined by Ryder Cup teammate and fellow major champion, Keegan Bradley, and England’s Ian Poulter, whose clutch play enabled the European Team to capture the Ryder Cup in September.
Watson, Bradley and Poulter will join a field of tournament winners from the 2012 PGA TOUR season when the Hyundai Tournament of Champions returns to The Plantation Course at Kapalua, January 3-7, 2013. To start the first competitive round of the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in style, an Aloha Kick-Off featuring a traditional Hawaiian Blessing will precede the first tee time on Friday, January 4, by approximately 40 minutes.
Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Cultural Advisor Clifford Naeole and the cast of Ulalena will perform the blessing. The Aloha Kick-Off will also feature performances by Grammy award winner and slack key guitarist George Kahumoku and Na Hoku award winner vocalist and songwriter Amy Hanaiali’i, who will sing Hawaii Ponoi and the National Anthem.
“To announce a trio of players like Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley and Ian Poulter have committed to compete in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions here at Kapalua is absolutely fantastic,” said Executive Director Nancy Cross. “We’re excited for sports fans across Maui to have the opportunity to come to The Plantation Course at Kapalua to watch these elite players compete over four days the first week of the new year. We are also thrilled to begin the tournament in traditional Hawaii fashion with some of our amazing local talent at the Aloha Kick-Off. ”
Watson qualified for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions for the third consecutive year by virtue of his breakthrough major championship victory at the Masters Tournament in April. Watson authored one of the most memorable shots of the year, hooking a wedge from 155 yards from the right trees on No. 10 at Augusta National Golf Club on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen. The shot curved more than 40 yards in the air and came to rest 12 feet from the hole, where he would two-putt for the victory. The victory was one of seven top 10s for the four-time PGA TOUR winner during the 2012 season, a year in which he also competed in the Ryder Cup for the second time. In his first two appearances at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Watson finished T25 and T18 in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Bradley, a teammate of Watson on the United States Ryder Cup team, qualified for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions for the second-consecutive year after winning the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in August, his third PGA TOUR victory. He made an immediate splash in his Ryder Cup debut, going 3-0 with partner Phil Mickelson during the first two days of competition before falling to World No. 1 Rory McIlroy in the Sunday Singles competition. Bradley, who won twice during his rookie campaign on the PGA TOUR in 2011, including the PGA Championship, finished alone in 16th at his Hyundai Tournament of Champions debut in January 2012.
Poulter will return to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions after a one-year absence in 2012, earning an invitation back to Maui after collecting his second PGA TOUR victory and second World Golf Championships title at the HSBC Champions in November. While the victory in China may have earned the Englishman a trip back to Kapalua, the highlight of Poulter’s season arguably came at the Ryder Cup in September. In his second appearance in the biennial competition, Poulter produced the only unblemished record at Medinah Country Club, going 4-0 over the course of the three-day competition. In a momentum swinging match, Poulter made five consecutive birdies during his Saturday afternoon Four-Ball match with partner Rory McIlroy to defeat the American team of Jason Dufner and Dustin Johnson, 1-up. Poulter went on to defeat Webb Simpson in his Sunday Singles match, 2-up, to complete his unblemished record. In his first appearance at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in 2011, Poulter finished T6.
Tickets are on sale now. For more info, visit www.pgatour.com/hyundai or call 808-665-9160.