POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 7, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 3:03 a.m. HST, Jan 7, 2011
Two-time defending champion Geoff Ogilvy withdrew from the Hyundai Tournament of Champions yesterday because of an injury he suffered on his right index finger late Monday afternoon.
He also confirmed yesterday that he will withdraw from the Sony Open in Hawaii due to the nasty cut that required 12 stitches to close. The Australian said in a release that he tripped in shallow water while at the beach and grazed his finger on a reef. The cut is causing him discomfort to bend or place any pressure on the finger.
"I do not feel as though I can make a full swing without making some compensation to both my grip and to the way in which I would normally swing a golf club," Ogilvy said in a statement.
Ogilvy will still earn $53,000 in unofficial money, but will not receive any FedEx Cup points. Last year, Ogilvy did not play in the Sony. He missed the cut the first four times he competed in the Oahu event, before tying for eighth in 2007 and tying for 32nd in 2009.
The last American to capture this winners-only tournament was Jim Furyk in 2001. Foreign-born players have captured this tournament nine consecutive times. Ogilvy won in 2009 and 2010, Daniel Chopra in 2008, Vijay Singh in 2007, Stuart Appleby in 2004, 2005 and 2006, Ernie Els in 2003 and Sergio Garcia in 2002.
Several players, including Furyk, were asked yesterday why that's the case. Most said the Australians (Ogilvy and Appleby) do well here because they are playing competitive golf Down Under during the down time for Americans. The Plantation Course is also similar to Australian layouts.
"I don't have an answer for you," Furyk said. "I was surprised. I heard that this morning on The Golf Channel in the locker room. I think right now you've got guys like Appleby and Ogilvy coming off I think wins in Australia or playing in Australia.
"You've got Ernie Els coming off a win in South Africa, so maybe you have some guys who are playing on the foreign tours who are a little more sharp right now. Where a bunch of guys like myself, I've just taken pretty much most of the last three months off. So, I'm rusty and I'll admit it."
Rocco Mediate hit the second shot of the PGA Tour season en route to bogeying the first two holes. And it only got worse from there. Mediate shot a 6-over 79 due mainly to how he played the par-5s on the long Plantation Course.
The 48-year-old Mediate was 5 over on those four holes with one double bogey and three bogeys. He carded only three birdies for the day and was one of two golfers to finish in red figures.
The average score for the opening round of this elite field of 33 golfers was 70.515. There were 12 rounds below 70, 28 rounds below par and 30 rounds at even par or better.
The most difficult hole was the par-4 seventh with an average score of 4.152. There were three birdies, 23 pars, six bogeys and one double bogey, by Bubba Watson, who also had the only eagle on the par-5 18th.
The easiest hole was the par-5 fifth with a scoring average of 4.273. There were two eagles, 24 birdies, four pars, two bogeys and one double bogey, by Mediate.