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Johnny Palmer
Johnny Palmer (1949)
Pine Forest CC
SONY Open in Hawaii - January 07, 2008

Waialae CC

Honolulu, HI
Par: 35-35—70Yards: 7,044
FedExCup Points: 25,000Winner: 4,500
Purse: $5,300,000Winner: $954,000
2007 Champion: Paul Goydos, (266, -14)

Sony Open in Hawaii Notes

Hawaii resident Tadd Fujikawa, who turns 17 on Tuesday, Jan. 8, became the second-youngest player in TOUR history to make a cut when he made it to the weekend in 2007 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Fujikawa was 16 years, 4 days. Fujikawa, who stands just 5-1, was born three months premature (1 pound, 15 ounces) and given a 50-50 chance of survival. He lived the first three months of his life in a Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

Vijay Singh is in the field this week, giving him six consecutive years appearing in both Hawaii events — the Mercedes-Benz Championship and Sony Open in Hawaii. Last year, with his win at the Mercedes event, Singh became the third player to win both Hawaii tournaments in a career, having won the Sony Open in 2005. Jim Furyk captured the Sony Open in Hawaii in 1996 and the 2001 Mercedes Championships, while Ernie Els won both events in 2003.

Steve Stricker, coming off a playoff loss last week at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, tied for fourth last year at Waialae Country Club. He earned his second consecutive PGA TOUR Comeback Player of the Year in 2007 as he finished second in the final FedExCup standings and earned his first PGA TOUR win since 2001 by capturing The Barclays. Stricker is No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking after falling as low as No. 337 in 2005.

Brandt Snedeker missed the cut last year in his first start as a PGA TOUR member but went on to win the Wyndham Championship and was voted the 2007 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year by his peers. Another rookie in 2007 who claimed a PGA TOUR title ( Open) is George McNeill. McNeill spent 2006 as an assistant golf professional at Fort Myers Country Club in Fort Myers, FL, before earning medalist honors at the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament in the fall of 2006.

Two Champions Tour members are set to play at the Sony Open in Hawaii — Jeff Sluman (1999 champion) and Fred Funk. Funk embarked on a four-week tournament tour of Hawaii at the Mercedes-Benz Championship and will play in both the MasterCard Championship at Hualalai and the Turtle Bay Championship on the Champions Tour the last two weeks of January.

Two of the four major championship winners from last year are scheduled to play at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Angel Cabrera won the U.S. Open, and Zach Johnson won the Masters Tournament. Cabrera will be making his first appearance at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Charles Howell III, who held the FedExCup points lead for four weeks last year en route to an eighth-place finish in the FedExCup Regular Season standings, tied for second at the Sony Open in Hawaii in 2007. He earned all five of his top-10s in his first seven starts of the season, amassing 92 percent of his Regular Season FedExCup points during that stretch.

E-Notes from the SONY Open

  • The PGA TOUR roster currently features 18 players who are 25 or younger.  Jason Day (11-12-87) is the youngest followed by Anthony Kim (6-19-85) and David Lutterus (4-25-85).

  • While there are 25 rookies on the PGA TOUR this year, most have played in at least an event or two previously.  For four new members of the PGA TOUR, however, this week will mark their first-ever start. Rookies Michael Letzig, Marc Turnesa, Travis Perkins and David Lutterus will all make their debut this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

  • It’s only week two, but it’s never a bad idea to get off to a good start.  The top nine finishers at last year’s Sony Open in Hawaii went on to qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.

  • Daniel Chopra’s win last week at the Mercedes-Benz Championship was the 218th by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR.

  • The last seven winners of the Mercedes-Benz Championship have come from outside the U.S.  Since Jim Furyk won in 2001, the title has been claimed by Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Stuart Appleby (three years in a row), Vijay Singh and now, Daniel Chopra.

  • Since beating Tiger Woods in a singles match at the 2007 Presidents Cup, Mike Weir has been on a tear.  He’s finished T10-1-4 in his next three starts with 12 consecutive rounds under-par.

  • Arizona State produced the most TOUR players this year, 12.  Oklahoma State is next with nine while UCLA and Texas each produced eight.  Wake Forest rounds out the top five with seven players on TOUR.

  • Jay Delsing, at 6 foot 5, is the tallest player on TOUR this year closely followed by 15 others who stand 6 feet 4.  Gavin Coles is the shortest at 5 feet 4 inches. Guy Boros at 265 pounds is the heaviest player and Jeff Sluman is the lightest at 140 pounds.

  • The 2008 season will see eight lefties competing on TOUR — Phil Mickelson, Mike Weir, Eric Axley, Steve Flesch, Bubba Watson, Nick O’Hern, Tim Wilkinson and Russ Cochran

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