1. The Plantation Course. Is there a more thrilling venue on the PGA Tour? Not in my mind. I love the risk-reward built into virtually every shot on this expansive canvas, the cost-benefit analysis forever complicated by the trade winds. Add all the birdies to the jaw-dropping views and the usual dramatic ending, and it's the perfect place to kick off the season.
2. Vijay. The perennial Mercedes contender blows in hot off a stellar victory at Tiger's shindig, to say nothing of recent FedEx Cup glory. I hope he's got a little room left in his garage.
3. Tiger Woods. Even as he's chilling at home doodling golf holes for the Dubai desert, he's on track to cross a billion dollars in career earnings in '09, according to Golf Digest. Good work if you can get it.
4. The PGA Tour. The lords of Ponte Vedra Beach did the right thing by suspending John Daly. Again.
5. Mercedes Championship. No Tiger, no Phil, no problem. For all you snowbound golf fans, the glorious sunshine of Maui in prime time will still leave a warm and fuzzy feeling.
1. Mercedes Championship. You do have to wonder about the viability of a tournament that has a supposedly exclusive field but still can't attract the top four guys in the World Ranking, not to mention the golf literati. I'll be in Maui, but I'm guessing only one or two other reporters from the mainland will be there to help fill out my daily foursome.
2. PGA Tour. It's beyond silly that the Tour won't discuss any details about Daly's suspension, even though Long John has been talking publicly about it. This is golf, people, not national security.
3. Jim Furyk. Dude has a home at Kapalua, but after a winless '08 he's stuck on the mainland watching the Mercedes on TV, just like every other sucker.
4. Anthony Kim. I love his future as much as the next sycophant, but after two breakthrough wins in the middle of the season he had trouble closing the deal at a series of tournaments late in the year, lowlighted by his Sunday implosion at the World Challenge. He needs a strong Sunday, and soon, to restart the hype machine.
5. John Daly. I shudder to think what he'll do with himself now that he has so much extra free time.