KAPALUA, Hawaii — There are still 36 holes to play at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but you’ll excuse David Toms if he’s looking past the golf here at Kapalua in order to focus on Monday night’s BCS Championship game in New Orleans, where his beloved LSU Tigers will play Alabama. While it’s killing Toms to miss the game, his eight season tickets to LSU home games will be transferred over to the New Orleans Superdome and they’re easily accounted for between parents, brothers, sisters and assorted relatives.
“My wife said I should have sold them on StubHub and paid for our trip here,” Toms said, laughing after his round on Saturday.
Had he not qualified for the Hyundai by winning the Colonial last year, Toms said he would have been at the BCS game, which means he would have skipped next week’s Sony. But he’s here and with son Carter and daughter Anna having flown in Saturday from Shreveport, he’ll be able to watch Monday’s game with his family at Kapalua Resort once he finishes play.
As high man in the field after one round, Toms went off as a single early Saturday at the Plantation Course, playing in 3 hours. The good news was that when he knocked a wedge to 1 foot at the par-5 18th to finish off a round of 1-over 74, it was 1:30 p.m. local time and he had all afternoon ahead of him. And certainly the weather and the walk were enjoyable. The last time he was first man off alone in a tournament was years ago at the Masters, and then he played with a non-competing marker.
“To be honest,” he said, “it’s embarrassing.”
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New year, new look: As additions and changes go, Johnson Wagner’s mustache may not rate up there in news value to those who signed new club deals for 2012, but it sure is catching some attention.
Up front, Wagner concedes “my wife hates it,” but he said the thick black mustache is staying, at least until the spring.
“I plan to keep it until the first of April. If I get in the Masters, the mustache will stay; if I don’t, I’ll shave it.”
There’s not much of a story behind the mustache, other than Johnson said he didn’t shave for a few weeks around Thanksgiving and “I didn’t want to waste all that effort, because I’ve never had that much facial hair.”
Wagner said he shaved what passed as a beard, but kind of liked the mustache. Yes, it has caused plenty of double-takes.
“I’ve had to acquire thick skin,” he said. “My friends back in Charlotte are calling me Juan or Carlos. I guess they think I look more Latin.”
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On the mend: Eighteen of the 27 players who started the season at Kapalua are scheduled to play in the Sony Open on Oahu beginning Thursday. Not included in that number is Lucas Glover, who withdrew Thursday morning at Kapalua after spraining his right knee paddle-surfing. He is hoping to play next week, but in his early-week mishap, he also cut his foot on some coral. So he plans to wait a few days and hang out in Hawaii and see how he progresses.
“He’s fine,” said Mac Barnhardt, CEO of Crown Sports Management, which represents Glover. “We did an MRI, and there is no major damage to his knee. If he were a football player, he’d be playing football. But he’s a golfer, so there’s no real reason to rush back and mess with his swing.
“Nobody ever came back too late from an injury, right?”
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Short shots: Kevin Na made history Saturday when he became the first player to make consecutive eagles at Kapalua’s Plantation Course. He holed a 5-iron from 219 yards for 2 at the 508-yard, par-4 17th hole, then hit a 3-wood approach from 282 yards that finished 10 feet from the hole at the 663-yard 18th hole, then added the eagle putt. When told you can’t do any better than that, Na’s caddie, Kenny Harms, quipped, “It would have been nice to go eagle-double eagle. Call me greedy.” Na’s finish gave him a 9-under 64, the second best round of the tournament, and his back-nine 29 tied Vijay Singh’s 2004 mark for low back nine. . . . Brendan Steele had 35 putts in a second-round 76, the high round of the day. . . . With a round of 10-under 63, Steve Stricker has broken par in 12 of his last 14 rounds at the Plantation Course. He’s been in the 60s 10 times and is a whopping 68 under in that span . . . Gary Woodland was 3 under when he drove it out-of-bounds right and made a triple bogey at the 305-yard, par-4 14th. So, how did he make amends? He hit a 2-iron from 250 yards to 8 feet to set up eagle at the par-5 15th . . . . . Six of the top nine names on the leaderboard (Webb Simpson, Kevin Na, D.A. Points, Chris Kirk, Bryce Molder and Keegan Bradley) are first-timers at the Plantation Course.
— Jeff Babineau contributed to this report.