This Week in Golf -- January 12th through January 15th

PGA TOUR - SONY OPEN IN HAWAII, Waialae Now that the first week is in the books, the field event of 2012.

For the second week in a row, the tour is in Hawaii, where Mark Wilson will attempt to defend his championship at the Sony Open. It was the first of his two titles in 2011, winning two of his first three events before falling back to the middle of the pack the rest of the year.

It was a marathon for Wilson, who had to play 36 holes that Sunday because of poor weather earlier in the week. He managed to outlast Tim Clark and Steve Marino by a pair of strokes to earn nearly $1 million, his second biggest paycheck of the year.

The top-ranked player in the field is No. 5 Steve Stricker, who is coming off a victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Stricker, who is now a 12- time PGA Tour champion, has been one of the best golfers of recent years, posting eight wins since the start of 2009.

Other than Stricker, some of the more recognizable names in the field include reigning PGA Champion Keegan Bradley, three-time major winner Vijay Singh and FedEx Cup runner-up Webb Simpson.

Additionally, last year's Nationwide Tour money leader J.J. Killeen and Harris English, who won as an amateur on the Nationwide Tour last year, will get their first crack at the PGA Tour since earning their cards for 2012.

Unlike the Tournament of Champions, the Sony Open ends on the traditional day of Sunday. Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds.

Next week is the Humana Classic, renamed from the Bob Hope Classic, which was won by then-rookie Jhonattan Vegas in 2011.


JOBURG OPEN, Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, Johannesburg, South Africa - Reigning Masters champion Charl Schwartzel will attempt to capture his third straight Joburg Open this week in the sixth running of the event.

Schwartzel has dominated at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in his hometown, winning by four and six strokes, respectively, the last two years. Last year, he rode the momentum from the win all the way until April, when he posted a shocking Masters victory and vaulted himself into mainstream golf conversation.

Now ranked No. 9 in the world, Schwartzel heads into this event with a new title that goes with Masters champs: the favorite. Unfortunately for the South African, he has yet to post another win since Augusta, but is returning to his most familiar surroundings.

Only five players on the European Tour have previously won the same tournament three years in a row, most recently Tiger Woods in 2005-07 at the WGC - CA Championship and WGC - Bridgestone Invitational.

Schwartzel's biggest competition will likely come from fellow South African and two-time U.S. Open champ Retief Goosen, who posted a third-place finish at last week's Africa Open.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds, and the European Tour remains in South Africa next week for the Volvo Golf Champions, won by Paul Casey in 2011.