Las Vegas, Nevada (January 9, 2011 UPDATE 1/10 2:00 AM PST)–It was the only time in the history of the PGA Tour that a tournament had ended with a hole in one. Big moments are common place in Las Vegas, and Jonathan Byrd's 6-iron to end the 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last October was a true Vegas jackpot. Courtesy of that victory and swing, Byrd opened the 2011 PGA Tour season in Hawaii playing in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, reserved only for 2010 winners. The events of three months ago seemed like yesterday for him. Byrd won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in a playoff over Robert Garrigus.–By Brian Hurlburt.
"I really feel like I kind of just walked off the golf course in Vegas and strolled up and started playing here,m" Byrd told the media gathered in Hawaii following a solid first round of 66 that put him at the top of the leader board. I didn't see my caddie a whole lot in the off-season. I only saw him twice. So we didn't do a ton of work together. We got right back to work here, and I am kind of riding some of those vibes and some of those good feelings. I feel like I've kind of got back into that groove pretty quick from some of the good things I was doing in Vegas." Byrd finished at 24-under par tied with Garrigus but won in extra time.
The Las Vegas PGA Tour event has a long history of being the event for making history on the PGA Tour. The original Tournament of Champions was played in Las Vegas in 1953, while the first-ever tournament with a purse of more than $1 million was played in Las Vegas in 1983, and in 1996, Tiger Woods won the Las Vegas Invitational, the first of his many wins. Las Vegas is also the home to many top Las Vegas golf courses, including Royal Links Golf Club, 18 holes of Las Vegas golf that were created to honor the holes played in the British Open. Click now to view the official website of this resort Las Vegas golf course. Also, there are more than 30 pros who have strong ties to Las Vegas golf courses who play the major tours, including Adam Scott, Bill Lunde, and Charley Hoffman who also were playing in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Byrd proved that knocking in long shots, like he did in Las Vegas, was no fluke because his opening round including an eagle on the 4, 10th hole when he holed out a wedge. "we were laughing because it was just like, all right, another hole-out, we can get used to this," said Byrd. "My caddie and I were talking yesterday that Ben Crane and his caddie, last year, had a bet for like 500 push-ups all year how many hole-outs they could have, and he had like seven last year with wedges, so we had talked about that, and boom, first hole-out of the year … I think I had about 111 (yards) so we were trying to hit it a little past the hole into the wind, so it was about a 120 shot, and we picked out one of the fans back there, and I hit it right on top of him, and it spun right in the hole." This year, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is to be played the week September 26-October 2.