After a nearly two-month break, the 2014-15 PGA Tour season resumes this week at the gorgeous Kapalua Plantation Course on the island of Maui in Hawaii with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
There are only 34 players in the 2013-14 winners-only field, highlighted by Masters champ Bubba Watson.
Zach Johnson returns to Maui as the defending champ at the 7,452 yards, par-73 Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore designed course.
Before the tournament tees off on Friday, here are five players you'll want to keep an eye on in Maui.
5. Geoff Ogilvy
Best finish in 2014-15 season: First start
Reason to watch: Ogilvy won in back-to-back starts at Kapalua in 2009-10. Until late last season, the 2006 U.S. Open champ had been deep in a slump. Ogilvy broke out of that slump with a win in the Barracuda Championship (played opposite the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) last August. That timely win propelled him to a previously believed unlikely spot in the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup, where he would tie for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship and play his way into the Tour Championship. Ogilvy picked up some much-needed confidence with those victories. To begin the new season this week in Maui at a venue where he's won twice must feel great. That's why I like Ogilvy to continue his resurgence this week.
4. Bubba Watson
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won the WGC-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: Well, the two-time Masters champ is one-for-one this season having won in China in early November. After a long break, we'll see Watson at the long-ball friendly Plantation Course, where he tied for fourth when he last played the event in 2013. Watson got off to a red-hot start last season, finishing in the top 10 in seven of his first 10 starts, highlighted by wins at the Northern Trust Open and the Masters. He cooled off a touch, understandably, after that hot start, but the start of the year traditionally seems to suit Watson. Plus, I want to see him try to recreate that driver off the tee-driver off the deck-putt sequence on Kapalua's 18th hole from 2011. That was awesome.
3. Jimmy Walker
Best finish in 2014-15 season: T4 at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: It'll be darn near impossible for Walker to top his 2013-14 season, one in which he won three times, and recorded seven other top 10s. This will be Walker's second straight start at Kapalua and I'm interested in seeing if he learned anything about the course from his T21 showing a year ago. He should be a nice, relaxing week for Walker, who heads over to Oahu next week as the defending champ of the Sony Open.
2. Zach Johnson
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Missed cut at The McGladrey Classic
Reason to watch: This will be just the second start of the new season for Johnson, who returns to Kapalua as the tournament's defending champ. As he's proven time and again, there's no ballpark on the PGA Tour too big for Johnson. Last year's win in Maui was the first of three consecutive top-10 finishes for Johnson. A high finish at Kapalua could lead to another nice, little run.
1. Matt Kuchar
Best finish in 2014-15 season: T21 at the Frys.com Open
Reason to watch: Kuchar has played in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions four times in the last five seasons. All four of those starts yielded no worse than a T6 finish. There's no reason to believe that trend won't continue -- or even improve -- this week. Kuchar is one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour and has been for years. He rarely misses a cut and -- more often than not -- is in the mix.