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Friday, January 3, 2014

HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS - KAPALUA, MAUI

HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
KAPALUA, MAUI

Took the 20 minute flight from Honolulu to Maui and spent a beautiful January day on one of the most beautiful golf courses on the planet.  The Plantation Course at Kapalua is spectacular.  While it is a bear to walk because of all the hills, this day was worth every calorie burned walking and one that I will not soon forget.  We arrived early to watch the Pro Am Practice Round held on the Thursday before the Hyundai Tournament of Champions begins on Friday.  The reason I like to go on Thursday is that it is the only day where you have a lot of access to the worlds greatest golfers and a small crowd that allows you to get up close and even talk with the players.  This day was epic when it comes to getting autographs.  We secured signatures from almost the entire field.  Adam Scott, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Rory Sabbatini, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, Jordan Speith, Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar to name a few.  Players like Kuchar, Speith, Dufner, Snedeker, Jonas Blixt and D.A. Points were especially gracious.  Brandt Snedeker was signing my hat and using my pen.  He continue to use the pen to sign other autographs.  He remembered it was my pen and went to give it back to me.  He paused and took off his golfing glove that he had wore during his round.  He signed the glove with my pen and then asked me if I would trade the pen for the autographed glove.  All while smiling and laughing.  I took the signed glove and found another pen.  Another moment was with Adam Scott.  Just talking with him for a minute and then meeting his caddy Steve Williams.  Steve is one of the best if not the best in golf history.  Caddying for Tiger Woods and winning multiple Masters and then caddying for Adam Scott and winning yet another Masters.  Steve was humble and gracious.  Took time to sign several items and take a photo with me.  Another moment was with Matt Kutcher.  Kuch as he is called walked up and asked how we were doing.  He signed autographs for everyone in our small group without rushing and then posed for photos with his great bright smile.  Kuch was incredible and I will always respect him for the way he treats his fans.  Jason Dufner while always reserved and quiet signed items with a slight smile and posed for a photo.  Sang-Moon Bae a Korean golfer was also humble and gracious as he greeted us.  Boo Weekeley stopped to sign for us and answered every question with a "yes sir or no sir".  Very humble man with tons of class.  One of my favorites of the day was Jonas Blixt.  Jonas was extremely friendly and really took his time talking with the fans.  He stayed the longest and really seemed to enjoy chatting up the crowd.  Always smiling and laughing, this guy is awesome.  Zach Johnson pulled off the cart path when he saw us standing and holding items to sign.  Pulled his cart up to us and happily signed for us.  There was a tall guy with Zach who had and even larger crowd around him.  I did not know who is was so I asked.  Turned out it was Yankee Pitcher Andy Pettitte who was probably one of the nicest and most humble guys on the course.  Andy signed autographs and posed for pictures with a smile and treated everyone so nicely.  This guy is a class act in my book and I am not even a Yankee fan.  The final big moment for me was meeting Jordan Spieth.  Jordan is only 20 years old and he is tearing up the PGA Tour.  He signed autographs and posed for photos with a huge smile and treated us like friends.  We caught up with him off the course and he was even more gracious and accommodating.  Another class act and a future PGA Superstar.  Rory Sabbatini like Zach Johnson pulled his golf cart off the path and greeted us with three woman in his cart.  He was having fun and asked if we had a beer for the girls.  This was a day to remember and one of those times where I gotta thank the lord for putting me in Hawaii.

HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS GOLF TOURNAMENT IN KAPALUA, MAUI
SPECTACULAR COURSE WITH EVEN MORE SPECTACULAR VIEWS
THE PLANTATION COURSE AT KAPALUA
DOESN'T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS IN JANUARY
COURSE IS LONG AND FULL OF ROLLING HILLS
PAR 3 HOLE 11 IS POSTCARD BEAUTIFUL
WATCHING ADAM SCOTT TEE OFF ON 11
CADDY STEVE WILLIAMS IS A CLASS ACT AND TOTAL GENTLEMEN
LUNCH MENU ON THE COURSE AT KAPALUA
EXCELLENT HOT DOG, COLD BEER AND MAUI ONION CHIPS - LUNCH IN PARADISE!
WIDE FAIRWAYS ON THE PLANTATION COURSE AT KAPALUA
LOOKING UP AT CLUBHOUSE AND HOLE #1 TEE BOX
PLAYERS APPROACHING HOLE #9 AT KAPALUA
LOCAL MAUI ARTIST "MIMI" WITH A PAINTING SHE DID FOR CHARITY
YANKEE PITCHER ANDY PETTITTE WAS HUMBLE AND GRACIOUS.
THE DUDE IS HUGE.  I AM STANDING ON CURB AND HE IS NOT.  
JASON DUFNER - ONE OF MY FAVORITE GOLFERS!

DUFNERING WHILE JASON DUFNER TEES OFF ON HOLE #14.  WE ASKED JASON TO DO A
DUFNERING POSE WITH US BUT HE DID NOT.   THAT REALLY IS HIM BEHIND US.
PAR 3 HOLE WHERE YOU NEED TO CLEAR A REVINE TO HIT THE GREEN
MATT KUCHAR WAS INCREDIBLE.  FRIENDLY, SMILING AND HAVING FUN
"KUCH" SIGNING MY HAT AND FLAG
A BLURRY JORDAN SPIETH BECAUSE MY FRIEND CANNOT HANDLE HIS BEER
BRANDT SNEDEKER SIGNED MY GOLF DIGEST MAGAZINE COVER
BRANDT SNEDEKER PULLED OFF THIS GLOVE THAT HE PLAYED THE ROUND WITH AND
SIGNED IT FOR ME.  TRADED HIM MY SHARPIE FOR THE GLOVE
ADAM SCOTT, WEBB SIMPSON, BILLY HORSCHEL, KEVIN STREELMAN, JIMMY WALKER,
BILL HAAS, JONAS BLIXT, RUSSELL HENLEY, RORY SABBAATINI, ZACH JOHNSON, JASON DUFNER, JORDAN SPEITH, BRANDT SNEDEKER, GARY WOODLAND, BOO WEEKLEY, RYAN MOORE, PATRICK REED, KEN DUKE, SANG-MOON BAE, MICHAEL THOMPSON, D.A. POINTS, MATT KUCHAR AND CADDY STEVE WILLIAMS
ADAM SCOTT AND STEVE WILLIAMS AUTOGRAPHS
ALL SIGNATURES LISTED ABOVE ON THE HAT TOO!
2014 HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS WINNER ZACH JOHNSON AUTOGRAPH
YANKEE PITCHER ANDY PETTITTE AUTOGRAPHED HAT

GOLF CHANNEL ANNOUNCERS FOR THE DAY

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