The PGA Tour comes back on Friday afternoon, with the annual start to the year coming from Maui at the Plantation Course of Kapalua. The Hyundai Tournament of Champions is no longer the official start to the season, thanks to the Tour's confusing new wraparound schedule, but it is the start to the calendar season even if six events were played back in October and November. The regular break over the holiday months has ended, and it feels better to begin the year on Maui with 30 winners from last year's PGA Tour slate (as opposed to say, a mishmash of guys playing at CordeValle in October).
Golf Channel has the unfortunate task of camping out in Maui for the week and they will have the coverage for all four days of the Hyundai TOC. Thanks to the five-hour time difference, most of the tournament will be played in primetime in the eastern U.S., with the Monday finish once again on tap to avoid head-to-head competition with the NFL (now they just get the BCS title game). Given that GC is under the Comcast umbrella with NBC, everyone's favorite curmudgeon Johnny Miller will also be in attendance for the season opener, undoubtedly telling players to toughen up if it gets a little too windy. NBC will carry coverage for just one hour, a brief stint on Sunday from 3 to 4 p.m. A simulcast of all the coverage will be available via the LiveExtra app.
Only five players are missing from the 35 invites to this limited field event, but as usual, they are some of the biggest names in the game. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, and Graeme McDowell are all otherwise engaged and will not be making the early January trip to Hawaii. But that still leaves a pretty stacked group of 2013 champions, including Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, and Jordan Spieth. They all go out on Friday towards the backend of the tee sheet. So while we all freeze in the eastern U.S., some of the game's best will begin the 2014 march in primetime. Here are all the media options for Friday's opening round in Maui
Hyundai Tournament of Champions 1st Round -- Friday, Jan. 3
Golf Channel 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET
NBC/Golf Channel LiveExtra Simulcast 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET
Sirius-XM PGA Tour (Channel 93/208) 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET