The first full-season event of the year reminds me of the first week of school. Walk out to the practice areas, which are compact and conveniently located at Waialae Country Club, and it’s packed with players, caddies, reps and the rest of the Tour circus, exchanging hugs and bro handshakes.
The vibe is chill but enthusiastic. Most the rookies aren’t hard to spot because they’re the ones with their eyes wide open and taking in the scene. Everyone is chatting happily and smiling. After all, it’s the start of a fresh year and just look around — you’re in paradise.
The rookies and the veterans are all raring to get their seasons started. Twenty of the thirty who managed to play–and walk–54 holes on Monday and Tuesday to complete the wind-plagued Hyundai Tournament of Champions are also in the field at the Sony Open. They didn’t get much rest, either, since they were required to play in the pro-am on Wednesday.