The first PGA Tour event of the new year at least will sound like a big tournament.
The Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua will be hosted on the Golf Channel by Dan Hicks of NBC Sports, and for the first time will feature the dual commentary of Nick Faldo and Johnny Miller. Faldo, the main analyst for CBS Sports, also works for the Golf Channel. Miller is with NBC Sports, which along with the Golf Channel is under new Comcast ownership.
Miller and Faldo one year were in the booth together briefly at The Players Championship. For the tour’s season opener, they will be together all four days.
“It’s great repartee when Nick and I are together,” Miller said. “It’s kind of an older brother-younger brother dynamic. We’re not afraid to challenge each other.”
Faldo has six majors. Miller is the only player to shoot 63 in the final round to win the U.S. Open.
“I was really looking forward to a stress-free start to the new season,” Faldo said. “Now this news. Oh well, never mind. At least I’ve got two weeks in Hawaii watching the PGA Tour, and let just say some lively debate. Should be fun.”
DONALD AWARD: Luke Donald made it a hat trick of awards Tuesday when he won the Golf Writers Trophy from the British-based Association of Golf Writers. Donald previously was named European Tour golfer of the year and PGA Tour player of the year.
Padraig Harrington, a double major winner in 2008, is the only other player to sweep the three honors.
British Open champion Darren Clarke and U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy tied for second in the voting of golf writers, while Europe’s winning Solheim Cup team placed fourth.
“Any award you win gives you a great amount of pleasure, and for the golf writers to consider me as their player of the year means a lot, it really does,” Donald said. “These are the people who really understand golf and appreciate all that I have achieved this year.”
Donald won four times around the world, became the first player to capture the money title on the U.S. and European tours and held the No. 1 world ranking for the final 31 weeks of the year.
DIVOTS: Brett Waldman, who gave up caddying for Camilo Villegas when he earned his Nationwide Tour card, is returning to the caddie ranks. He said Tuesday on Twitter that he would be working for Kyle Stanley. … For the first time, the Nordea Masters in Sweden on the European Tour will have a Saturday finish. It will be played June 6-9, giving players more time to get to San Francisco for the U.S. Open the following week. … Tom Lewis won the Sir Henry Cotton rookie of the year on the European Tour after the 20-year-old from England won in his third pro start. … Emiliano Grillo has signed with IMG. The 19-year-old Argentine is the second-youngest player to have a European Tour card, behind Matteo Manassero. He earned his card through Q-School.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Nineteen of the top 20 players in the world ranking will be PGA Tour members next year. The exception is Martin Kaymer of Germany at No. 4.
FINAL WORD: “I could have been a hell of an engineer. And I would have had to have been a hell of an engineer to live the lifestyle I’m living these days.” -- Graeme McDowell, who studied engineering in college.