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Eric Risberg, Associated Press
Jonathan Byrd makes a birdie putt on the 13th green during the pro-am event of the Tournament of Champions PGA Tour golf tournament in Kapalua, Hawaii Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012. Byrd is the defending champion of the tournament which is scheduled to being Friday.

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Steve Stricker returns to Kapalua for the season opener on the PGA Tour, and he'll be competing against several players he didn't even know at this time last year.

There already has been plenty of talk about the 11 players who didn't or couldn't make it to Hawaii for the Tournament of Champions, which starts Friday. Equally interesting is the number of newcomers who won on the PGA Tour for the first time. That list includes PGA champion Keegan Bradley, Gary Woodland and Chris Kirk.

The year starts with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson no longer part of the top 10 in the world ranking.

Stricker says it's fun to see new faces emerge, and there are plenty at Kapalua with 12 players making their debut at the winners-only tournament.