Tour trio endures miserable trip to Kapalua

Hunter Mahan during a practice round for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Hunter Mahan during a practice round for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

KAPALUA, Hawaii – It seems like the first week of the PGA Tour season always has a story or two about trips to Hawaii. Usually weather delays, mechanical problems or lost luggage accompanies the trips to paradise, but with all the weird injuries and possible withdrawals by Zach Johnson and Geoff Ogilvy, a story of a 25-hour trip from Dallas to Kapalua was lost until now.

The trip started normally for Jason Day, Hunter Mahan and Jimmy Johnson (Steve Stricker’s caddie) as they got on a commercial jet Sunday from Dallas to Hawaii. While the 11:10 a.m. flight left on time, it took only three hours for an issue to arise.

It seems a female passenger had gall bladder surgery only days before, and instead of waiting a prudent couple of weeks before jumping on a plane, she decided to go on that Sunday morning. 

Needless to say, three hours into the flight she could not handle the trip, and the plane made an emergency landing in Salt Lake City.

According to Day, the plane was 11,000 pounds overweight when it landed in Utah. After one inspection of the plane, another inspection was necessary because of the weight. The second inspection took some time because the inspector was not on site at the medium-sized airport. They waited over three hours on the tarmac; the captain finally got on the intercom and outlined options to the passengers. 

One option was to fly to Los Angeles, but they would need to change the crew because they had been flying for too many hours, or fly back to Dallas and start again.

So after syphoning 5,000 pounds of fuel, the plane turned around and went back to Dallas, arriving at 7:30 p.m., a little more then eight hours after they left that morning.

So Day, Mahan and Johnson started all over again at 9:00 p.m., arriving in Honolulu at 2 a.m. But since they had a 5:30 a.m. flight to Kapalua, they decided not to get a hotel room. And since the airport was closed, the three camped outside of the commuter terminal, which didn’t open until just before their flight, just a 45-minute trip from Ohau to Maui.

In all, it took the trio 25 hours to arrive in Maui, and then a 40-minute-plus ride to the resort for the players, but for Johnson the nightmare continued. He had to get a rental car but the rental car facilities were not open when they arrived, and when he finally got to Kapalua at around 9 a.m., he had an hour to recover before his boss, Steve Stricker, was ready for his practice round.

“I just had to rest on Monday,” Day said. “It was a debacle.”

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