This Week in Golf — Jan. 15-18

Philadelphia, PA ( – PGA TOUR – SONY OPEN IN HAWAII, Waialae
Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii – Having already collected his first tour win
earlier in the season, Jimmy Walker continued his hot play as he fired a 7-
under 63 in the final round to win the 2014 Sony Open in Hawaii.

Walker rallied by Chris Kirk for his second win in the first six events of the
2013-14 season. Walker went on to win one more title and make his first Ryder
Cup team.

Kirk, the third-round leader, failed to hold the 54-hole lead, but he did pick
up his third victory in three years later in 2014 at the Deutsche Bank

Walker, who was in the penultimate group, birdied the 16th and 17th to end at
minus-17. Kirk had an eagle chip at the last to try to force a playoff, but he
ran the chip eight feet by the hole. He converted the birdie effort to end
alone in second place.

Walker and Kirk will be joined at Waialae by Jason Day and Matt Kuchar. Those
four, all ranked in the top 25 in the world, played the Hyundai Tournament of
Champions last week and more than two-thirds of those participants are also
competing at the Sony.

A pair of Japan Golf Tour stars, Hiroshi Iwata and Hideto Tanihara, were
invited to the event this week. Several 50-and-older players will also be at
Waialae, including Fred Funk, Paul Goydos, Davis Love III, Kenny Perry and
Vijay Singh.

Golf Channel has coverage of all four rounds. NBC will kick off Sunday’s final
round coverage, with Golf Channel airing the completion of the round.

The PGA Tour heads to the California desert next week for the Humana
Challenge. Patrick Reed opened with three straight 63s last year and cruised
to a 2-shot win over Ryan Palmer.


ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, United Arab
Emirates – A return to the desert for the European Tour brings with it a
return of some of the best players in golf.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy will make his first start of 2015 this week at the
Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. McIlroy is one of nine former major
champions in the field.

McIlroy will be joined at Abu Dhabi Golf Club by the likes of Martin Kaymer,
Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Ernie Els and Darren Clarke.

Kaymer won this event three times in a four-year span (2008-11) and he shared
second place in 2009. McIlory was runner-up to Kaymer in 2011, he was second
to Robert Rock in 2012 and shared second-place last year. Stenson (2006, 2008)
and Rose (2013) have also had runner-up finishes at this event.

Pablo Larrazabal closed with a 5-under 67 last year to hold off McIlroy and
Phil Mickelson, who went 63-69 on the weekend. McIlroy had been assessed a 2-
stroke penalty in the third round for taking an illegal drop.

The win for Larrazabal was his third on the European Tour.

Along with several of the top European Tour players, world No. 10 Rickie
Fowler also made the trip to the desert. Fowler will be competing for the
first time since the first week of December, when he played in the Hero World
Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods.

Golf Channel will have early morning coverage of all four rounds.

The European Tour continues its desert swing next week with the Commercial
Bank Qatar Masters. Sergio Garcia birdied the third playoff hole last year to
defeat Mikko Ilonen and win for the 11th time on the European Tour.