Brandt Snedeker starts a new year in golf with hopes of avoiding an old problem -- staying healthy.

The Tournament of Champions, which starts Friday in Kapalua, Hawaii, is his first event since a freak accident in Shanghai two months ago. Snedeker was on a Segway scooter during a corporate outing at Sheshan International when he took a tumble and injured his left knee.

"I had been on one all day," Snedeker said Wednesday. "I hit a sprinkler head, lost control a little bit and jumped off. I landed on my knee and my knee popped."

He feared he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament. Just his luck, he only suffered a small tear, along with a cracked tibia.

Snedeker said the knee feels good, though the real test starts Friday. He spent last week playing at Hideaway in the California desert, walking 18 holes a day and carrying his own bag.

"I've had a few aches and pains of playing again, but nothing that concerns me," he said.

In his seven years on tour, Snedeker has had surgery on both hips to correct a degenerative problem. He missed the 2012 U.S. Open because of a rib injury. Last year he had recurring problems with his ribs and missed a month. Snedeker said his rookie season was his only injury-free year.

"Over the course of your career, you're going to have injuries. I'm hoping all mine are in a five-year stretch," he said.


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  • Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are sitting Kapalua out, as they have for years. Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell also stayed home because they're members of the PGA and European tours and played deep into 2013.

    The list of those who failed to qualify is nearly as impressive as the 30 players that did -- Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker and Sergio Garcia from the top 10 in the world, along with Jason Day, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Charl Schwartzel, Jim Furyk and Keegan Bradley to round out the top 20.

    Only nine players who were in the 2012 field at Kapalua returned this year, starting with defending champion Dustin Johnson.

  • Masters champion Adam Scott is taking a six-week break after Hawaii. He's playing at Kapalua and the Sony Open at Honolulu next week. He won't play again until the Honda Classic in Florida, missing the entire West Coast Swing.

  • Woods is facing another favorable menu of major sites in 2014. He already has won majors at Augusta (Masters), Royal Liverpool (British Open) and Valhalla (PGA Championship). The U.S. Open is at Pinehurst No. 2, were Woods was third in 1999 and runner-up in 2005. "I'm trending in the right way," Woods said recently. He's been stuck on 14 majors since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He's four behind Jack Nicklaus' record.

  • Ernie Els is changing equipment again after signing a deal with Adams Golf. He's has won three majors with different equipment companies: Lynx (1994 U.S. Open), TaylorMade (1997 U.S. Open and 2002 British Open) and Callaway (2012 British Open). Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

  • McIlroy and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki announced their engagement on Twitter. A spokesman for McIlroy confirmed he popped the question in Sydney, where Wozniacki is preparing for the upcoming Australian Open in Melbourne. They first began to see each other in 2011. McIlroy is coming off a rough season in which he failed to meet enormous expectations while changing golf equipment.