KAPALUA - American Bubba Watson, who claimed his first major championship triumph in April at the Masters Tournament with one of the most memorable shots of the year, is one of three players to recently commit to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Watson is joined by Ryder Cup teammate and fellow major champion Keegan Bradley, and England's Ian Poulter, whose clutch play enabled the European Team to capture the Ryder Cup in September.
Watson, Bradley and Poulter join the field of tournament winners from the 2012 PGA Tour season when the Hyundai Tournament of Champions returns to The Plantation Course at Kapalua on Jan. 3-7, 2013.
Steve Stricker, his family and a Polynesian guest celebrate after the PGA Tour pro won the 2012 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua. The 2013 event is set for Jan. 3-7 at The Plantation Course. PHOTO BY DENTON JOHNSON.
To start the first competitive round of the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in style, an Aloha Kick-Off featuring a traditional Hawaiian blessing will precede the first tee time on Friday, Jan. 4, by 40 minutes.
Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Cultural Advisor Clifford Nae'ole and the cast of 'Ulalena will perform the blessing. The Aloha Kick-Off will also feature performances by Grammy Award-winning slack key guitarist George Kahumoku and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner Amy Hanaiali'i, who will sing "Hawaii Pono'i" and the National Anthem.
"To announce a trio of players like Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley and Ian Poulter have committed to compete in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions here at Kapalua is absolutely fantastic," said Executive Director Nancy Cross.
"We're excited for sports fans across Maui to have the opportunity to come to The Plantation Course at Kapalua to watch these elite players compete over four days the first week of the new year. We are also thrilled to begin the tournament in traditional Hawaii fashion with some of our amazing local talent at the Aloha Kick-Off. "
Bradley qualified for the Kapalua contest for the second straight year after winning the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational in August, his third PGA Tour victory.
Poulter will return to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions after a one-year absence in 2012, earning an invitation back to Maui after collecting his second PGA Tour victory and second World Golf Championships title at the HSBC Champions in November.
Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit www.pgatour.com/hyundai or call (808) 665-9160.
In related news, Hyundai Hope On Wheels last week announced that the 2013 Hyundai Hope On Wheels 5K Run/Walk will be held on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 7 a.m. at Whalers Village in Kaanapali.
Hyundai looks forward to bringing its signature 5K event to Hawaii as the kick-off to its 2013 Hope On Wheels program.
The event will raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research and programs serving children battling cancer in Hawaii.
"We are thrilled to bring our growing 5K series to Maui for the first time in conjunction with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to benefit childhood cancer research in Hawaii," said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.
"Through Hope On Wheels and our partnership with Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children, families on Oahu, Maui and across the entire State of Hawaii will have greater access to critical pediatric cancer resources."
As part of the 5K, runners and walkers of all ages and skill levels are invited to participate in this family fun event by either registering for the run/walk or pledging to fundraise.
Participants can register online at www.HyundaiRun4Hope.org for $35 until Jan. 4. Onsite registration will be available. Children 2-12 years of age can participate in the 5K for a discounted rate of $10, which also includes participation in the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Keiki Sprint just before the 5K begins.
All participants will receive a race T-shirt and race bib, commemorative medal, professional timing and access to the sponsors' expo and the post-event celebration, where awards will be given to the top finishers.
"Our thanks go out to the Hyundai dealers, the company and to Hyundai Hope On Wheels for their continued support of our institution," said Martha Smith, chief operating officer at Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children.
"Community support like theirs is essential in helping us provide exceptional and comprehensive care to families across the State of Hawaii and the Pacific."
"As part of this 5K event, Hope On Wheels will also award a $75,000 Hyundai Scholar Grant to Kapi'olani Medical Center," said Mickey Pong, vice chairman of the Hyundai Hope On Wheels Board of Directors.
"On behalf of all Hyundai dealers, we are proud to award our first grant of 2013, along with net proceeds raised at the 5K, to benefit a partnership between Maui Memorial Hospital, Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children and the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank to support cancer research in Hawaii."
Supporters who wish to fundraise on behalf of the cause can make a fundraising pledge and become a part of Team Hope. Simply set up a pledge team, and you'll receive your very own fundraising page to jump start your donations.
For more information on the Hyundai Hope On Wheels 5K Run/Walk on Maui, including registration and pledge details, visit www.HyundaiRun4Hope.org.
In addition to the 5K run/walk, Hyundai continues to be the presenting sponsor of the Tournament of Champions PGA Tour golf tournament for the third year in a row.
In honor of this special event, each adult 5K registration will come with two passes to the final round of the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
The Hyundai Hope On Wheels 5K Run/Walk in Maui is sponsored by The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, Cliff Bar, Maui Printing Company, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Hawaii Hyundai Dealers.
To become a sponsor or volunteer, contact Aaron Bensoua at (310) 552-4128.
For more information on the program, visit www.HyundaiHopeOnWheels.org.