After a brief holiday hiatus, professional golf returned in earnest last week with the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. While many along America’s East Coast dealt with frozen pipes, dead car batteries and other byproducts of an unseasonable deep freeze, the Tour’s 2017 winners competed on tropical Maui, providing a welcome televised escape.
There was little suspense Sunday as world No. 1 Dustin Johnson turned a slim 54-hole lead into a Kapalua cakewalk. In his most recent official start last October, the languid 33-year-old coughed up a six-stroke lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, but clearly that failure played little on Johnson’s mind in Hawaii, where he outclassed the field with shots like his drive to within inches of the hole on the 433-yard, par-4 12th hole on Kapalua’s Plantation Course in the final round.
Although Tiger Woods was not eligible for the T of C, he stoked hopes that his latest comeback from injury will be for keeps by announcing that he will play two events on the Tour’s upcoming West Coast swing: the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. The prospect of Woods becoming a factor on Tour again, fueled by his promising showing at last month’s unofficial Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, has not only fans but his fellow Tour players enthused, The Post’s Ron Green Jr. reports in this issue.
In addition to all the happenings from Maui, this week’s issue includes senior writer Steve Eubanks’ intimate chat with Nathaniel Crosby, the son of legendary entertainer Bing Crosby and the newly named U.S. Walker Cup captain. And from England, senior writer John Hopkins offers his take on the President’s Putter, an annual competition among members of the Oxford & Cambridge Golfing Society that boasts a distinguished history and unmistakable flavor.