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BlogSony Open Preview and Picks

Sony Open in Hawaii

January 14th – 17th, 2016

Waialae C.C.

Honolulu, Ha.

Par: 70 / Yardage:

Purse: $5.8 million

with $1,044,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jimmy Walker

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 14 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with no one from the top-ten: The  top 50 players are #11 Adam Scott, #12 Zach Johnson, #16 Kevin Kisner, #20 Matt Kuchar, #23 Kevin Na, #25 Jimmy Walker, #26 Marc Leishman, #30 Russell Knox, #31 Emiliano Grillo, #34 Brandt Snedeker, #35 Justin Thomas, #45 Danny Lee, #48 Scott Piercy and #49 Chris Kirk.

Last year 13 of the top-50 played.

The field includes 15 of the Top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2016.  Those players are #1 Kevin Kisner, #2  Russell Knox, #3 Justin Thomas, #4 Graeme McDowell, #6 Kevin Na, #8 Emiliano Grillo, #10 Peter Malnati, #12 Alex Cejka, #14 Adam Scott, #16 William McGirt, #17 Charles Howell III, #18 Patton Kizzire, #19 Fabian Gomez, #T21 Brandt Snedeker and #23 Scott Piercy.

The field includes 15 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players are #1 Kevin Kisner, #2  Russell Knox, #3 Justin Thomas, #4 Graeme McDowell, #6 Kevin Na, #8 Emiliano Grillo, #10 Peter Malnati, #12 Adam Scott, #13 Alex Cejka, #15 William McGirt, #16 Patton Kizzire, #20 Charles Howell III, #21 Brett Stegmaier, #22 Brandt Snedeker and #25 Scott Piercy.

The field includes 9 past champions: Jimmy Walker (2015 & ’14), Russell Henley (2013), Johnson Wagner (2012), Mark Wilson (2011), Ryan Palmer (2010), Zach Johnson (2009), K.J. Choi (2008), Vijay Singh (2005) and Jerry Kelly (2002).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Sony Open in Hawaii field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Sony Open in Hawaii in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

24/7 GOLF

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We have the perfect solution for you.  If you own a Iphone or a Ipad we have developed a perfect app called 24/7 GOLF.

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Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Sony Open in Hawaii

Player Hyundai Nedbank Golf DP World BMW Masters Mayakoba RSM Classic Turkish Open WGC-HSBC Sanderson Farms CIMB Classic Hong Kong Shriners Hospitals Frys.com Open
Emiliano Grillo
(152.33 pts)
T18
(32)
T11
(26)
T4
(40)
T24
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Win
(44)
Kevin Kisner
(135 pts)
9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP
Russell Knox
(128 pts)
27
(23)
24
(17.33)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP T38
(4)
CUT
(-3.33)
Peter Malnati
(114 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
T75
(0)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Justin Thomas
(110.67 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP T3
(30)
Graeme McDowell
(108 pts)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
3
(30)
T37
(4.33)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(108 pts)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
DNP T29
(7)
DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(96.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 57
(0)
DNP T3
(30)
DNP T2
(33.33)
2
(33.33)
Brandt Snedeker
(94.33 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(11)
Alex Cejka
(90 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T6
(20)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Fabian Gomez
(84.33 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T44
(2)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
T17
(11)
Scott Piercy
(77.67 pts)
T24
(26)
20
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(5)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP
Patton Kizzire
(56.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Padraig Harrington
(56.67 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
William McGirt
(56.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
T30
(6.67)
Steven Bowditch
(53.33 pts)
T10
(40)
30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP 71
(0)
DNP 80
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Francesco Molinari
(51 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(40)
T17
(11)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charles Howell III
(50.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
T9
(15)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP 70
(0)
T17
(11)
David Lingmerth
(47 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP T72
(0)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP DNP DNP
Brett Stegmaier
(45 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
73
(0)
DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
T74
(0)
James Hahn
(42 pts)
T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 6
(20)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
Jimmy Walker
(40.33 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
DNP
Danny Lee
(39.67 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Roberto Castro
(37.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
T69
(0)
Keegan Bradley
(37 pts)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T47
(1)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Sony Open in Hawaii

Player Hyundai Nedbank Golf DP World BMW Masters Mayakoba RSM Classic Turkish Open WGC-HSBC Sanderson Farms CIMB Classic Hong Kong Shriners Hospitals Frys.com Open
Robert Allenby
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Jonas Blixt
(-12.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T48
(0.67)
Pat Perez
(-10 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 63
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Charlie Beljan
(-8.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T74
(0)
Tim Clark
(-8 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Whee Kim
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T76
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Stuart Appleby
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T69
(0)
Will MacKenzie
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T61
(0)
George McNeill
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Steve Wheatcroft
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T67
(0)
T55
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Since 1999 when it was placed behind the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the Sony got an added boost in that most of those at the Hyundai made the short flight to Honolulu to play this event.  But that trend seems to be changing.  In 2007 32 of the 34 Hyundai participants stuck around for the Sony while in 2008, 22 of the 31 Hyundai participants stayed.  In 2009 the trend of leaving, after the Hyundai continued as only 26 of the 33 TofC players showed up at Waialae.  In 2010  only 20 of the 28 Hyundai players made the trip and people started wondering.  In 2011 it was 23 of the 33 from Kapalua, while in 2012 only 20 of the 28 showed up.  In 2013 19 of 30 went, in 2014 only 18 of the 30 went, while last year 24 of the original 34 players made the trip from Maui to Honolulu.  This year it’s not any better as only 21 of the 32 players are playing at the Sony.  Unfortunately most of the big names at the Hyundai, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson aren’t playing as Brooks Koepka, J.B. Holmes, Smylie Kaufman, Steven Bowditch and Bill Haas decided to go home instead.  So for the second year in a row, the winner at Kapalua won’t be at the Sony.  still can’t blame Spieth, he is taking the week off before playing (along with Rickie Fowler) in Abu Dhabi before Spieth flies off the Singapore to play in the Singapore Open.

There are many conspiracy thoughts on this, but the bottom line is that players are making so much money that there is no need to stay in Hawaii.  For many the Hyundai is very special with the players staying free of charge at the Ritz Carlton, families usually coming over for some R&R and with last place getting $59,500 there is really no need for many players to stick around.  Too bad.

One player sticking around in Hawaii is Patrick Reed.  He isn’t playing at the Sony but will hang out with his wife and family in Hawaii to soak in some of the local color.  Says he will do a little practicing at the same time, gosh would you practice in paradise instead of going to the beach?

Now one of the important items for fantasy golfers to think about, since the Hyundai moved to Kapalua in 1999, ten of the 17 Sony winners participated in Kapalua the week before.  So despite the trend going away from this, the odds and common sense say to look for the winner to be a player from Kapalua.  Oh, defending champion Jimmy Walker finished T-10th at Maui on Sunday.

Here is a look at the Hyundai winners since 1999 and how they did at the Sony:

  • 2016 Hyundai winner Jordan Spieth will not play at the Sony
  • 2014 Hyundai winner Zach Johnson finished T8th at the Sony
  • 2013 Hyundai winner Dustin Johnson withdrew after the first round at the Sony
  • 2012 Hyundai winner Steve Stricker finished T38th at the Sony
  • 2011 Hyundai winner Jonathan Byrd finished T34th at the Sony
  • 2010 Hyundai winner Geoff Ogilvy didn’t play at the Sony
  • 2009 Hyundai winner Geoff Ogilvy finished T32nd at the Sony
  • 2008 Hyundai winner Daniel Chopra finished T32nd at the Sony
  • 2007 Hyundai winner Vijay Singh finished T34th at the Sony
  • 2006 Hyundai winner Stuart Appleby finished T7th at the Sony
  • 2005 Hyundai winner Stuart Appleby didn’t play at the Sony
  • 2004 Hyundai winner Stuart Appleby missed the cut at the Sony
  • 2003 Hyundai winner Ernie Els won the next week at the Sony
  • 2002 Hyundai winner Sergio finished T40th at the Sony
  • 2001 Hyundai winner Jim Furyk finished 4th at the Sony
  • 2000 Hyundai winner Tiger Woods didn’t play at the Sony
  • 1999 Hyundai winner David Duval finished 3rd at the Sony

Waialae Course information:

  • The course was designed by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks and was opened in 1925. It has gone through a series of changes, first by Bob Baldock in 1966, then Arthur Jack Snyder in 1969, then Robert Nelson and Rodney Wright in 1984, then by Arnold Palmer & Ed Seay in 1991 and finally by Desmond Muirhead in 1992.  To make things even tougher Waialae hired Rick Smith in the late ’90s to develop some more renovations for the future.  Smith came in to return the course to the original design that Seth Raynor came up with 78 years ago.
  • One of the big changes that were made, which didn’t affect the course but did affect the tournament, came in 1999.  That’s when tournament and PGA Tour officials moved up the tees on the 1st and 13th holes and changed them from par 5s to 4s. Though it doesn’t make the course easier or tougher, it was a perception that the course was harder and scores were going up, even though that wasn’t the case.
  • The average green size at Waialae is 7,500 square feet and the course has 79 bunkers.  Nine of the holes have water on them but for the touring pros only three of those holes are affected.  For tournament week the nines are reversed so that the par3 8th hole, which runs along the Pacific, becomes the 17th and is shown on television.
  • One other thing about Waialae: It’s been the only home of the Sony Open since 1965.  The only other courses with a better track record on the PGA Tour are Augusta National, which has been the home of the Masters since 1934, Pebble Beach, which has been the home of the AT&T since 1947, Colonial, which has been the home of the Crowne Plaza Invitational since 1948 and Doral, which have had a PGA Tour event every year since 1962.

Here is a new feature we have, a look at key stats that are important to Waialae:

This is based on the most important stats for Waialae, based on data from last years Sony Open in Hawaii, and using data from all the players in the field for with stats from 2015 and 2016. What we do is take there rank for each stat and average that number between players rank in ’15 & ’16
The scoring average of the field at Waialae in 2015 was 69.01, so with par being 70 that means the average score was just over 1 under per round, making Waialae the 37th hardest course to score on in 2015. It’s also important to see how the weather played a factor, it was perfect each day with winds coming out of the south, southwest at 5 to 12 mph.

In looking at the stats for Waialae last year driving accuracy hits you, it’s important to hit greens. Last year it Waialae had the 7th hardest fairways to hit on the PGA Tour, but if you look at Jimmy Walker he was T-13th in his win last year and T-22nd in his 2014 win. Now Walker was 8th in driving distance and 4th in Strokes Gained tee-to-green, as he led greens hit last year. In 2014 Walker was T-22nd in driving accuracy, but 1st in driving distance and 6th in Strokes Gained tee-to-green. Still for the rest of the field driving accuracy is very important to scoring low at Waialae, along with Strokes Gained tee-to-green. As for putting, you can’t go low without making putts and Waialae has the best greens on tour for good putting. That’s because they are flat and don’t have much undulation so look for the winner to make lots of putts inside 10 feet, On the other end of the spectrum, making putts over 25 feet are really hard, probably because they are hard to judge. For the PGA Tour last year, Waialae ranked 12th on putts inside 10 feet, while it ranked 5th in putts from 4 to 8 feet. Players also made lot’s of putts over 25 feet, it ranked 5th last year. As for winner Jimmy Walker, last year he was 26th in putts inside 10 feet, T-2nd on putts between 4 and 8 feet and 5th in putts over 25 feet.

A couple of other things to look for scrambling is important for those that miss greens, only 12 courses had better scrambling stats than Waialae. There are two par 5s at Waialae and both of them are the easiest on the PGA Tour so a player has to go low on them.

Here are the top-21 from our list:

For a complete list of all players go to this link for our key course stat.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Sony Open in Hawaii

Key stat for the winner:

The PGA Tour is still in Hawaii for the Sony Open.  Played at Waialae C.C. it’s a fun course for the pros on pleasant day as it has only one defense, the wind.  If it blows scores are reasonable, but without winds scores go low, and someone shooting 59 comes into the equation.  The weather was great in Maui last week and according to the weatherman at Weather.com should be ok with very little chance of rain over the next week.  The good news is the lack of wind again all week, so with the lack of wind, look for low scoring with a possibility of having a couple sub-60 rounds. The key defense for Waialae is the driving zone.  In normal conditions of dry, fast fairways it makes it hard to keep it in the fairway.  Throw in 10 to 25 mph winds and it’s really hard.  That’s why Waialae is consistently one of the hardest driving courses on tour. Last year it ranked 7th hardest in driving accuracy as 52.34% of the fairways were hit, in 2014 it ranked 3rd hardest as only 49.35% of the drives hit the fairways. In 2013 & ’12 was 2nd.  In 2011 with rain and no wind it ranked 12th but in 2010 it ranked hardest of all courses.  So this course will be very vulnerable this week, one last thing, all this gives shorter hitters a better chance.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • The first thing to realize is that Waialae is the complete opposite of the Plantation Course which held the Hyundai last week.  Driving accuracy meant nothing as the Plantation course has the easiest fairways to hit on the PGA Tour.  But this week is a different story; each year Waialae is one of the hardest driving courses on tour.  So it helps to drive the ball straight so look at the driving accuracy charts and in the top-20 you may find your winner.  Looking at driving accuracy list’s the last couple of years funny how past champions like Russell Henley, Mark Wilson, Zach Johnson, Paul Goydos, David Toms and Jerry Kelly have ranked high in this stat in the last decade.
  • Another important stat to look at is total driving which combines distance with accuracy, look for the leaders in this stat that is playing at the Sony to do well.
  • Hitting greens is important, on a scale of 1 to 10, with ten being the most important give hitting greens a 7.  Still you can’t dismiss this stat since 1997, 14 of the 19 champions have been in the top-ten in this stat and only two have been worst that 15th.  Last year Jimmy Walker led the stat, the year before Walker was T7th, in 2013 Russell Henley was 2nd.
  • Putting is another important stat, but like hitting greens I give it a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10.  What I found interesting in this stat was making putts over ten feet, look for those types to do well.  In diving into Shotlink stats on PGA Tour.Com in 2016 Carlos Ortiz, Morgan Hoffman, Chris Stroud, Kevin Na, Sam Saunders and Ben Crane are all in the top-ten and are playing the Sony.  Last year’s champion Jimmy Walker was T-6th in putts made from 10 to 15 feet while 2013 champion Russell Henley was 2nd in putts made between 10 and 15 feet and was 6th in putts made between 15 and 20 feet.
  • More stats that is important is picking a person who has a high birdie average and is high on the par breaker list. Kevin Kisner ranks tops in both lists.
  • Last but not least the par 4s at Waialae is U.S. Open caliber, they are tough and rank on top of the tour as the toughest in golf.  Again in looking at the winners going back to 2000 when changes were made to reduce par from 72 to 70, every champion was between 2 under and 10 under. Last year Jimmy Walker was 16 under, the previous year he was 10 under.  In 2013 Russell Henley had the tournament best in this stat playing the par 4s in an incredible 17 under.  In looking at who is playing the par 4s the best on tour in 2016  those in the top-11 playing Sony include Kevin Kisner, Kevin Na, Justin Thomas, Russell Knox, Russell Henley and Charles Howell III.

Who to watch for at the Sony Open in Hawaii

Best Bets:

Kevin Kisner

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
84 CUT CUT CUT

He may not have played well in his four previous visits in this event, but stats show that he could easily win here. Things like being 30th in strokes gained tee-to-green, 15th in strokes gained putting and 8th in total strokes gained. He has been hot of late, finishing 2nd at WGC-HSBC, winning the RSM Classic and 9th at Kapalua.

Adam Scott

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T8 CUT T2 T18 T20 CUT

His game from tee to green is perfect for Waialae, yes putting is always an issue with him, but he should play very well this week.

Matt Kuchar

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T3 T8 T5 T5 CUT CUT 65 CUT CUT

Has all of the key stats to play well at Waialae, has finished T-3rd last year, T-8th in 2014 and T’5th in 2013 & ’11. Don’t be surprise to see him back in the winners circle this week.

Best of the rest:

Harris English

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T3 4 T9 T67

Has shown that despite not hitting it straight and far, he can putt his way to victory this week.

Justin Thomas

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T6

Look for him to have a good week, he finished strong at Kapalua.

Kevin Na

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T64 T8 CUT CUT T20 T52 T5 T4 CUT T41

Has the game to play well and has finished in the top-ten, three times.

Russell Henley

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T17 T51 Win

Past champion that has shown he can play on this course, look for him to play well.

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Solid contenders

Zach Johnson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T64 T8 CUT T54 T57 T12 Win T32 T47 CUT

There is a reason he has won here, when he strips it straight he has the command of his game.

Brandt Snedeker

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T69 CUT

Played well at Kapalua, hasn’t played here in seven years.

Jason Dufner

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T29 CUT 56 T20 CUT T13 T41

His game should be good for this course, surprising that he has no top-tens in seven starts.

Jerry Kelly

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T6 3 CUT T29 T9 WD T23 3 T13 T13 CUT T5

Still has the game and it shines on this course, in 17 starts has finished in the top-ten, 8 times.

Long shots that could come through:

Charles Howell III

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T26 T8 T3 T2 T68 T5 4 T69 T2 T53 T3 T27

Always finds a way to contend and I bet he will be in the running this week.

Daniel Berger

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T13

Finished T-13th, look for an improvement this week.

Marc Leishman

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T37 5 T9 T27 T20 T12

He could be a big surprise this week.

No three-peat

Jimmy Walker

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
Win Win T26 CUT 4 CUT T32 T61 CUT

He has played awesome in this event of late, but just don’t think his game is sharp to contend this week or in the near future.

Comments

  1. What are your thoughts on leaving Chris Kirk off of the “who to watch”? He was you winner for this tournament on the 2016 pick your pro article.

  2. Just see him struggle with the game and his driver. Since winning at Colonial he has only finished in the top-25 twice, T-18th at RSM and T-24th at Kapalua last weekend.
    The thing that caused me to leave him out was his driver, just not that good.
    Yes, Kirk finished T-5th in 2013 and runner-up in 2014 at the Sony, but he also finished T-26th last year. He did shot a third round 74 which blew him out of the water, but still he hasn’t played well of late.

  3. Michael C says:

    Thanks for the insight Sal. I agree with most of what you wrote, but Howell/Berger/Leishman long shots is a stretch.
    I just bought into Hao-Tong Li @ 500-1…now that’s a long shot….but kid can putt the eyes out of it!

  4. I just can’t comprehend Li Haetong, even at 500 to 1.
    Yes the guy won four times but in China.
    Yes he did finish T-7th at the WGC-HSBC Champions two months ago, which was played in China.
    As a regular on the Web.Com Tour he finished 49th on the money list, then played terrible in the playoffs not getting a nod to play on the PGA Tour.
    So yes he is a longshot, thus the 500 to 1 odds but frankly I have just about as much chances at winning the powerball jackpot tonight than Haetong has at winning the Sony Open. But that is for this week, not the future which could be good for this kid.

    Not to say with another year under his belt on the Web.Com Tour. In looking at his Web.Com tour stats for 2015 he led the tour in greens hit and was 4th in putting average and 2nd in overall putting average. Along with finishing 2nd in birdie average it makes me think that there are certain courses he can kill, but it may be a very long shot for it happening at Waialae, but hey in my time doing golf I have seen guys with less credentials win.

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