Countdown to Kapalua for Reed, Snedeker, Moore, WalkerNovember 29, 2016, 7:50 AM HST · Updated November 29, 8:00 AM 0 Comments
Leading up to the start of the Tournament of Champions, tournament officials are highlighting each of the qualifiers for the winners-only event. Each spotlight recaps how each qualified player earned his way into the prestigious field at the Tournament of Champions when the event returns to The Plantation Course at Kapalua from Jan. 4-8, 2017.
This installment of the Countdown to Kapalua looks back on 2016 victories by Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Moore and Jimmy Walker, all members of the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Keep up with the full list of player capsules between now and the tournament at http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/tournament-of-champions/past-champions/qualifiers.html
Patrick Reed (THE NORTHERN TRUST) – Fourth Appearance (Best Finish: Win, 2015)
American Patrick Reed has a strong history at the Tournament of Champions, winning the event in 2015 in dramatic fashion, holing out from the fairway for an eagle-two at the par-4 16th in the final round and defeating Jimmy Walker in a playoff. This past year, he finished solo second to runaway winner, Jordan Spieth. Heading into the FedExCup Playoffs, Reed’s return to Kapalua was uncertain. After THE NORTHERN TRUST? Not so uncertain. Reed fired a final-round 70 to edge Emiliano Grillo and Sean O’Hair by one stroke at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park. The win was the fifth of Reed’s career, and helped him to a final FedExCup ranking of third, a career-best finish.
“I feel great,” Reed said following his victory. “Any time you can come from behind on Sunday to win a golf tournament, means you must be doing something right. To build yourself a lead to come down the last couple was huge, especially around a place like this, because those last holes are just so difficult.”
Reed’s play in 2016 helped him represent the United States in two international competitions, at the Olympics in Rio in August and at the Ryder Cup in late October. At the Ryder Cup, Reed was the sparkplug for the U.S. team, recording a 3-1-1 record that was highlighted by a dramatic singles win on Sunday over Rory McIlroy.
Brandt Snedeker (Farmers Insurance Open) – Fifth Appearance (Best Finish: T3, 2016, 3, 2013)
2012 FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker qualified to play in his fifth Tournament of Champions with a brilliant final round at the Farmers Insurance Open, which saw some of the worst weather – and worst scoring – of the year.
Snedeker entered the final round trailing by six shots, but was able to finish his final round on Sunday – a 3- under 69 – before play was called due to inclement weather. 49 players finished their rounds on a strange Monday morning, as the inclement weather forced the tournament to remain closed for fans during the completion of play.
With the severe wind and rain, Snedeker’s final-round 69 was nearly nine shots better than the course average for the round and was good enough to earn him his eighth PGA TOUR victory and a berth in the Tournament of Champions.
“To be sitting here right now, it’s obviously a lot of good fortune happened today,” Snedeker said following his win. “Just because of the way the weather blew in, the way the wind blew and made those last five holes play so tough on those guys. I feel bad for them. They got the raw end of the stick this morning. But just the way golf goes and luckily enough, I played good enough yesterday to get the job done. So it’s a special feeling to say the least.”
Snedeker was another starring player for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, recording a 3-0-0 record for the week in a winning effort.
Ryan Moore (John Deere Classic) – Fifth Appearance (Best Finish: T6, 2010)
Starting the day with a one-shot lead at the John Deere Classic, Ryan Moore played his last 46 holes without a bogey to earn his fifth career PGA TOUR win and earn a spot at the Tournament of Champions. It was his first win in the United States since the 2012 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open; he recorded back-to-back victories at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia in 2013 and 2014.
“You know, for me, it’s just been – every win is a little different,” Moore said. “This one was – I liked how steady it was. This is the kind of golf that I feel like I can play. Just really solid, really steady. No bogeys on the weekend.”
Moore’s season gained momentum through the FedExCup Playoffs to the season-ending TOUR Championship in Atlanta. At the conclusion of 72 holes at East Lake, Moore was tied with Rory McIlroy and Kevin Chappell after a final round 64. The three moved into a three-way playoff, with Chappell eliminated on the first hole.
McIlroy defeated Moore on the fourth playoff hole after Moore holed a dramatic par putt to force McIlroy to make his birdie putt for the win.
The strong performance at the end of the season earned Moore a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team via a Captain’s pick. The pick proved prudent, as Moore’s Sunday singles match win clinched the win for the U.S. team.
Jimmy Walker (PGA Championship) – Fourth Appearance (Best Finish: 2, 2015)
In 2015, American Jimmy Walker came painstakingly close to winning the Tournament of Champions, falling in a playoff to Patrick Reed. He will get a chance to better that finish in 2017 after recording the biggest victory of his career in 2016, the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club.
“I felt confident,” Walker said in a press conference following his win. “I felt confident in myself. I felt confident in what I was doing. Felt confident in my golf swing, my putting, my chipping. Kind of tried to wrap myself around that; that everything was feeling good, and to go with that and trust what I was doing. Trust all the stuff that I have been working on, and that’s what I tried to apply out there. I know I made nine pars in a row to start, and I hit a lot of quality golf shots.”
The major championship win was the fourth win of Walker’s PGA TOUR career. He has shown an affinity for Hawaii in the past, with two of his four wins coming at the Sony Open in Hawaii in 2014 and 2015. His play earned him a spot on the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Tickets for the Tournament of Champions are available at PGATOUR.com/TOC or via Ticketmaster. Birdies for the Brave® is proud to support complimentary and discounted military ticketing as they do throughout the PGA TOUR season. Fans are also reminded that up to three children, ages 18 and under are admitted free of charge with every one paid adult (applies to grounds access only).
Tickets can also be picked up at The Plantation Course at Kapalua’s golf shop and the Bay Course at Kapalua’s golf shop beginning on Dec. 1 and at the Honolua Store starting on Dec. 12.
Free public parking is available at the Lahaina Civic Center with shuttles to the course.
The 2017 Tournament of Champions returns to The Plantation Course at Kapalua Jan. 4-8. All four competitive rounds will be broadcast on Golf Channel. Follow the tournament on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PGATOURTOC or Twitter @PGATOUR_TOC to get updates and a behind-the-scenes look at the tournament preparations.