HONOLULU (AP) The darkness of dawn Tuesday at Waialae Country Club wasn't enough to prevent a long line of PGA Tour players waiting to start their practice round at the Sony Open, the first full-field event of the season.
Among the early risers was Jason Day, the 19-year-old from Australia, which was symbolic in one respect. The youngest player on the PGA Tour is the latest in line with aspirations of challenging Tiger Woods.
"I'm sure I can take him down," he told Australian reporters in November.
He certainly has some strong credentials. Day made the cut in five out of the seven tour events he played last year, with his best result a tie for 11th in the Reno-Tahoe Open. He won a Nationwide Tour event, the youngest player to win on the junior circuit. He is said to be blessed with enormous talent, especially the short game, and that kind of skill seems scarce these days.
Whether he takes down Woods is impossible to predict because it hasn't happened.
In the 10 years since Woods rose to No. 1 in the world, the only newcomer to offer even a remote challenge is Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard took him to the wire at Medinah in the PGA Championship as a 19-year-old. Garcia has won six times on the PGA Tour, nine times around the world and played on four Ryder Cup teams while still trying to win his first major.
Since then, Woods has won 50 times on the PGA Tour, six times around the world and has 11 majors.
Charles Howell III didn't need Q-school to get his card and aspired to be No. 1, a worthy goal of any player. But his victory at Riviera last year was only his second in seven full seasons on tour.
Adam Scott was supposed to be the next Tiger, and his swing was a carbon copy when both worked with Butch Harmon. Scott has climbed as high as No. 3 in the world, but at age 27, he still only has five PGA Tour victories and four top 10s in a major.
Justin Rose won his first Order of Merit on the European Tour last year and has given himself a couple of chances in the majors, but he has yet to win on the PGA Tour. Ditto for Paul Casey, another Englishman with explosive skills.
Day is aware of Woods' career, perhaps not to the extent that he has posted a timeline on his bedroom wall as Woods once did with Jack Nicklaus. Even so, Day was quick to note that Woods never won a pro tournament at age 19.
"I'm just trying to mark myself up against him," Day said. "When I'm on the tour, somehow I've got to win two tournaments because that's what he won and I want to try and keep up with him."
Day is setting the bar high, which has left some veterans puzzled.