The PGA Tour’s 2017 opener, the SBS Tournament of Champions, will see the awaited return of world-number-one Jason Day.
The Australian has been out resting a back injury since his performance at the Tour Championship in September 2016, where he withdrew for the second event running after pulling out of the BMW Championship two weeks prior.
Despite his lack of presence on the course, Day has not struggled to remain prominent in the media. A recent signing with Nike, as well as talk of not caring about his slow play and shortening his swing to prevent future injury has seen the 29-year-old continue to be one of the most talked about names in the game.
Day will return to the Kapalua Resort, Hawaii, where he has never finished in the top two, but did manage a tied third finish in 2015.
The same cannot be said, however, for some of Day’s rivals this week – many of which have recorded wins at this event, to find themselves on a list alongside the likes of Ernie Els, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Last year’s winner, Jordan Spieth, leads a host of American names who have made up 11 of the 12 top two spaces in the last six years in Hawaii. Spieth posted a near-record-breaking aggregate score of 30-under-par to beat friend Patrick Reed by a colossal eight shots last year.
Reed, who did win the year prior in 2015, and 2013’s champion Dustin Johnson will both return hoping to earn a second title at this event.
The in-form Hideki Matsuyama may not have any particular event form but heads into the tournament as possibly the current most prolific player in the world. The 24-year-old has four wins, one runner-up and one fifth place finish in his last six starts.
The links Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort continues to host this event with the unique record of being the only PGA Tour event course playing as a par 73. The course sits at a lengthy 7452 yards, but playing at a par 73 will offer an extra shot to make up for the yardage for the field.
2017’s opener will be fought for by a strong, albeit small, field aiming to pick up some vital FedExCup points to kick start their year. But all eyes will be on the returning world-number-one, Day, after over three months off.