Chinese Taipei star C.T. Pan begins his eighth season on the PGA TOUR at this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii with one key goal in mind, which is to stay injury-free following a wretched 2023 campaign.
The 32-year-old missed five months of action following a left wrist injury which has proven to be difficult for the one-time PGA TOUR winner but he is determined to put last season behind. Pan will have 13 medical starts for the new season and needs to secure 57.89 FedExCup points to retain his TOUR card (Top 125 status) for full-field events.
“I hope I’m healthy and get rid of the pain from my physical injuries. The body is an athlete’s greatest asset and I’ll try my best to take good care of my body. Of course, my goal is to qualify for the final event of Playoffs, and be in the Top 30 of the FedExCup,” said Pan.
He will launch his 2024 campaign at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu this week, making a third trip to the Sony Open which is headlined by defending champion Si Woo Kim of Korea, last week’s The Sentry winner Chris Kirk, World No. 8 Matt Fitzpatrick, 2023 Rookie of the Year Eric Cole, rising star Ludvig Aberg and 2022 Sony Open champion Hideki Matsuyama. Pan’s compatriot, Kevin Yu, is also starting his 2024 season this week.
“I didn’t play for five months last season so I’ve got a medical exemption. I need 57 FedExCup points and if I secure a top 15 finish, I get those points. I will focus on every event and do my best,” said Pan.
“I like this golf course, the grass is similar to the grass back home and in Houston where I usually practice. We need accuracy off the tee and with the approach shots. I have confidence on all these aspects.”
Pan, who is also a one-time International Team member at the Presidents Cup, described last season as being challenging after taking time off to recuperate from a niggling wrist injury. He still produced three top 10s – 4th/CJ CUP Byron Nelson, T3 RBC Canadian Open and T9 Sanderson Farms Championship – but endured abbreviated weeks as well with eight missed cuts and several withdrawals largely due to his injury.
“Due to my wrist, I couldn’t play in many events last season. When I play more than two events, my wrist starts to give a warning and reminds me to take a rest. So my pace last year was to play two events and then take one to two weeks off,” he said.
His off-season break was once again spent back home in Taipei where he continued his tradition of hosting a charity golf event that raised nearly US$200,000 for the local community and a junior golf clinic.
“I was home for a month and a half and as every year, I held a charity event and collected almost TWD 6 million (Approximately US$200,000). This has raised the total sum to nearly TWD 33 million through six years of our charitable efforts. I am thrilled to contribute to the people and groups who need help,” he said.
“I also spent two days with 20 boys who love golf. I played a hole with each of them and shared my experiences, like pre-shot routine and course strategy. I also attended some sponsor events, which many of them are charity related.”