by Kevin Sylvester
-A big congratulations to Matt Kuchar on his 9th PGA Tour Win and second this season. It’s always great to see someone my age (I have him by a few years —or so) win. Kooch is a great guy, always available for a comment and friendly nod on the golf course. He was actually my pick to win while discussing possibilities with broadcast colleague Doug Bell earlier in the week. He is one of the best players without a Major, but he was so close a few years ago when Jordan Spieth won, thanks in part to that miracle shot from the driving range at The Open. Will he get one? I’ve always thought The Masters would be the one he wins, and he has the build of someone that would look good in a green jacket.
-What is wrong with Jordan Spieth? I was asked that question Friday evening when I was a guest on the post game show. He’s not playing to his potential. That was my answer and outside of that, if I knew, then I’d know how to fix it and offer my help. Okay, that’s a copout answer. Here is what I think: I think Jordan experienced tremendous success very early in his career due to talent and tenacity. Things seemed to come easy for him, similar to what Rory Mcllroy experienced. Also, similar to Rory, things change. It’s hard to stay on top. Injuries, illness (Jordan was sick for last year), business, and life command attention too. The depth of talent on the Tour is also a factor, making it hard to win. Anybody and everybody is capable of winning any week on Tour. I do think he will win again, and likely win another Major soon. He’s too good of a player and competitor. Spieth put that on display late Friday afternoon when he made a charge to try and make the cut at the Sony Open. He stepped on the 15th tee box at +1, needing to reach -2 to play on the weekend. He made birdie on 15 and 16. A near miss from 12 feet on 17 required an eagle at the 18th. He pulled his second shot to the left of the green on 18 and had a chip from 67 feet that needed to go in. It nearly did, scaring the cup and ending 2 feet past on the right side. It was a Tiger-like charge that fell short of it’s goal, but a good sign in my opinion.
-My first impression of Waialae CC was not great, but it grew on more as the week went on. I think a huge factor was coming from the topography of Kapalua’s Plantation Course to the relatively flat track in Honolulu. But the course started to show its teeth and necessity to find the fairway as the week went on. The par 3’s command a lot of respect for their length and style. Missing the green on 4 or 17 seemed like an automatic bogey.
-The media center in the clubhouse offered the best view we’ll see all year on the PGA Tour. The all window backside offers a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean and the calm waves on the south side of Oahu. It is stunning.
-The waves on the North Shore of Oahu are as advertised. Our crew made visit early in the week and they were mesmerizing. The day we were there, the waves were 12-14 feet and it was awesome to watch surfers try and tackle the big surf.
-The worst part about going to Hawaii for two weeks is the trip home. I’m not complaining about the distance and time it takes. I’m just complaining about leaving! It was paradise.