Welcome to GOLFstats.com!As a special promotion, you are currently viewing one of our special Performance Charts or Preview and Picks posts that we publish each week. We also publish special DraftKings Picks Posts analyzing what picks are the best this week for the DraftKings games, and we do a weekly Key Fantasy Stats Post detailing what stats are most important for this weeks tournament and course, and which players excel in those stats.
Very useful! Our data is updated daily. To access all this info, and so much more, just CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for GOLFstats!

BlogSony Open in Hawaii Preview and Picks

Sony Open in Hawaii

January 13th – 16th, 2022

Waialae C.C.

Honolulu, HI

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,044

Purse: $7.5 million

with $1,350,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Kevin Na

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 36 of the top 100 and 17 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings: The top 100 players are #10 Cameron Smith, #14 Harris English, #19 Hideki Matsuyama, #20 Abraham Ancer, #22 Jason Kokrak, #23 Billy Horschel, #24 Sungjae Im, #27 Kevin Na, #29 Webb Simpson, #32 Talor Gooch, #33 Marc Leishman, #38 Corey Conners, #39 Kevin Kisner, #40 Lucas Herbert, #46 Ryan Palmer, #48 Christiaan Bezuidenhout, #50 Stewart Cink, #51 Takumi Kanaya, #53 Siwoo Kim, #56 Russell Henley, #61 Brian Harman, #62 Chan Kim, #63 Seamus Power, #64 Kyoung-Hoon Lee, #65 Erik van Rooyen, #66 Matt Jones, #68 Branden Grace, #72 Maverick McNealy, #74 Cameron Davis, #87 Keegan Bradley, #91 Joel Dahmen, #92 Rikuya Hoshino, #93 Keith Mitchell, #97 Emiliano Grillo, #99 Chris Kirk and #100 Aaron Rai.

Last year 20 of the top-50 played.

The field includes 9 of the Top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2022.  Those players are #3 Cameron Smith, #4 Sungjae Im, #5 Hideki Matsuyama, #8 Jason Kokrak, #9 Lucas Herbert, #14 Maverick McNealy, #17 Marc Leishman, #21 Seamus Power, #23 Brendan Steele.

The field includes 10 past champions: Kevin Na (2021), Cameron Smith (2020), Matt Kuchar (2019), Patton Kizzire (2018), Jimmy Walker (2015 & ’14), Russell Henley (2013), Ryan Palmer (2010), Zach Johnson (2009), Jerry Kelly (2002) and Jim Furyk (1996).

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.

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 Sentry TofC Hero World Challenge DP World, Dubai RSM Classic Houston Open Mayakoba Bermuda Champ. Zozo Champ. CJ Cup Shriners Children’s Sanderson Farms Fortinet Champ.
Cameron Smith
(185.33 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
T15
(11.67)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(15)
DNP DNP DNP
Talor Gooch
(155 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
60
(0)
T11
(13)
DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
T11
(13)
DNP T4
(26.67)
Sungjae Im
(125.67 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP T19
(10.33)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(15)
Win
(44)
T31
(6.33)
DNP
Marc Leishman
(111 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T19
(10.33)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(4)
T3
(30)
DNP T4
(26.67)
Matt Jones
(105.67 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T18
(10.67)
T38
(4)
T27
(7.67)
DNP DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(101 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
T59
(0)
T67
(0)
DNP T6
(20)
Seamus Power
(90.33 pts)
T15
(35)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
T11
(13)
T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Abraham Ancer
(77.5 pts)
T35
(15)
T14
(24)
T27
(11.5)
DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP DNP T14
(12)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Maverick McNealy
(65.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T19
(10.33)
T11
(13)
DNP T25
(8.33)
T38
(4)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 2
(33.33)
Si Woo Kim
(64 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
76
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T8
(16.67)
T11
(13)
Joel Dahmen
(62.67 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP DNP T29
(7)
T5
(23.33)
T45
(1.67)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
T51
(0)
DNP
Tom Hoge
(58.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
T46
(1.33)
T56
(0)
DNP 17
(11)
T32
(6)
T14
(12)
CUT
(-3.33)
T36
(4.67)
Webb Simpson
(54 pts)
DNP 17
(22)
DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T30
(6.67)
Jason Kokrak
(52.67 pts)
38
(12)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Denny McCarthy
(46 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
T11
(13)
T15
(11.67)
T39
(3.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(11)
CUT
(-3.33)
Russell Henley
(45.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
T7
(18.33)
T56
(0)
DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
T21
(9.67)
DNP DNP
K.H. Lee
(44.67 pts)
T33
(17)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
T25
(8.33)
T14
(12)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brendan Steele
(43.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP 69
(0)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(11)
T42
(2.67)
Kevin Kisner
(43.33 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Adam Long
(42.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
T11
(13)
T22
(9.33)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T29
(7)
CUT
(-3.33)
Billy Horschel
(41.67 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP T32
(9)
DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
J.J. Spaun
(40.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
T46
(1.33)
T27
(7.67)
T7
(18.33)
DNP DNP T35
(5)
68
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
Keith Mitchell
(39 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
T41
(3)
T56
(0)
DNP DNP T3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Adam Schenk
(37.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T29
(7)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T28
(7.33)
DNP T3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
T51
(0)
Cam Davis
(37.67 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T64
(0)
T27
(7.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Sentry TofC Hero World Challenge DP World, Dubai RSM Classic Houston Open Mayakoba Bermuda Champ. Zozo Champ. CJ Cup Shriners Children’s Sanderson Farms Fortinet Champ.
J.T. Poston
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Joseph Bramlett
(-14 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T58
(0)
T42
(2.67)
Jared Wolfe
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Brandt Snedeker
(-12.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(1)
CUT
(-3.33)
T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Callum Tarren
(-11.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DQ
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Sepp Straka
(-11 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T33
(5.67)
T51
(0)
T66
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Chappell
(-10 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Brian Stuard
(-9 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
66
(0)
T27
(7.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
Richy Werenski
(-8.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T50
(0.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(1)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kyle Stanley
(-8.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 69
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T35
(5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Since 1999 when it was slotted behind the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Sony got an added boost in that most of those at the Sentry T of C made the short flight to Honolulu to play this event.  Over the years it’s gone up and down, but most of the time being behind the Sentry has helped the field for the Sony.  Of the 38 players that played last week in Kapalua, 21 have made it to the Sony.  The only problem, seven of the top-ten in the Official World Golf Rankings that were at Sentry, (#1 Jon Rahm, #2 Collin Morikawa, #4 Patrick Cantlay, #5 Justin Thomas, #6 Viktor Hovland, #7 Xander Schauffele, and #8 Bryson DeChambeau) have decided to bypass Sony, thus robbing the Sony of a really great field.  Still, since the Sentry and Sony are back to back only Ernie Els (2003) and Justin Thomas (2017) have won both events in the same year.  Good news, last week’s winner Cameron Smith has won at the Sony Open and is playing this week with a great shot at back-to-back Hawaii Slam.

A great start in Kapalua for 2022

Have to say that since the Sentry Tournament of Champions was started in 1953 in Las Vegas there have been over 3,000 PGA Tour events played.  In those 3,054 events, there have been six different scores of 30 under par or better.  People don’t realize had tough shooting 30 under par for 72 holes really is.  That means a player makes one birdie for every two and a half holes played.  Ernie Els was the first to accomplish the feat in 2003 when he shot 31 under, 261 in 2003 to beat K.J. Choi by 8 shots.  The next time it was done was in 2016 when Jordan Spieth shot 30 under par and beat Patrick Reed by 8 shots.  Dustin Johnson did it in 2020, but his 30 under par score and 11 shot victory were at the Northern Trust at TPC Boston.  So in just over 3,000 PGA Tour events, the feat was accomplished three times.

This year the record was shattered as Cameron Smith got it to 34 under and beat Jon Rahm by a shot and Matt Jones who shot 32 and was beaten by two shots.

How good is Cameron Smith?

Smith was an Asian Tour player who got to play in his first PGA Tour event at the 2015 CIMB Classic.  With his T-5th finish it allowed him to play in the next PGA Tour event and despite some struggling found himself finishing T-4th at the U.S. Open.  That got him into the PGA Championship and with his T-25th finish in that event and a T-18th finish at the Wyndham, he had enough FedExCup points to put him into the top-125 and earn a PGA Tour card for 2016.  Smith struggled on the PGA Tour but was able to save his PGA Tour at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

After that Smith played well, he won for the first time in 2017 at the Zurich Classic and has never looked back.  The key to Smith’s game was in his putting, he was always a good putter and since joining the Tour has only gotten better.  Another part of his game that has gotten better is Greens in Regulation.  In 2018 he ranked 167th in greens hit, 168th in 2019, 170th in 2020. He drastically improved in 2021 climbing to 103rd in and in 2022 ranks T-6th after playing in 4 events.

Things changed for Smith when he won the Sony Open in Hawaii.  In his previous 116 PGA Tour starts he had 17 Top-ten finishes.  But since he won the 2020 Sony Open in Hawaii, his game has taken an upswing, especially after the break from Covid-19.  Starting at the 2021 Zozo Championship, he finished T-4th followed by a runner-up finish at the Masters.  Since the ’21st Zozo Rahm has played in 25 events and has had 8 top-five finishes and turned into one of the most consistent players on Tour. In his last start at the RSM Classic, he finished T-4th and is the type of player who can contend any week he plays.  Have to say he has some good vibes going to the Sony Open since he won the event in 2020.  For gamblers, Smith has become a type of player that we can take week in and week out.  In his last 8 events since the British Open, he has been at par or better 27 of 32 rounds played and in those 32 rounds has shot 68 or better 22 times.

The big question for us this week is if he can keep the roll going?  The course is perfect for his game and he knows how to win with his victory in 2020.  In six starts he has made six cuts and has a 67.64 scoring average in 23 rounds played.

A couple of other players to watch this week are Sungjae Im, who was T-8th at Sentry, Marc Leishman who was T-10th, Kevin Kisner who was T-8th, Hideki Matsuyama and Kevin Na who were T-13th and Seamus Power who was T-15th at Sentry.

One player that we won’t get to watch this weed is Bryson DeChambeau.  He originally was supposed to play in the Sony, but on Monday citing a wrist soreness dropped out of the Sony.  Litte can be said, his game and life have been tough over the last six months and nobody knows what direction it will go.  DeChameau came to Kapalua not playing since the Ryder Cup and he showed it with his T-25th finish.  We don’t know the next time he was supposed to play, he was scheduled to have a press conference to talk about the Saudi International in which he is playing in, but canceled the press call.

We talked about some new items on GolfStats that you all have to try. 

Last week we introduced a new feature called “Sure Bet” in which each night we give the best bets for the following day.

Check out our “Sure Bests” for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Waialae Course information:

The course was designed by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks and 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 first produced.

One of the significant changes made, which didn’t affect the course but did affect the tournament, came in 1999.  That’s when championship and PGA Tour officials moved up the tees on the 1st and 13th holes and changed them from par 5s to 4s. It didn’t make the course easier or tougher. It was a perception that the course was harder with scores 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 rarity that you don’t see on many courses, four of the closing five holes (14, 15, 16 & 18) are sharp dogleg left’s so those that hook the ball have an advantage.

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 and Colonial, which has been the home of the Charles Schwab Challenge since 1948.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing on the Waialae.

This is based on the most important stats for Waialae, based on data from last year’s Sony Open in Hawaii, and using data from all the players in the field averaging the rank from 2022 stats.
The field’s scoring average at Waialae last year was 67.97, making it play just over two shots under par and the 45th hardest course on tour (7th easiest). The important reason for such an easy scoring average was perfect weather conditions with limited winds. It was a significant difference over 2020 when the field’s scoring average at Waialae was 70.26, making it play a quarter shot over par and was the T-9th hardest course on Tour. It was the first time the average was over par since it played to a 70.06 average in 2010 and the hardest it had played since 2007 when it played to a 70.27 average. The course made several changes before the 1999 event, with the biggest change was part of the course, going from a par of 72 to 70. With the change, the course played over par in every tournament but two (2004 & ’03) between 1999 and 2010. Since then, the course played under par every year until 2020. The reason for this is wind, and in 2020 they had gusts up to 40 mph on Thursday and Friday, 15 to 25 mph on Saturday and Sunday. For this year, it’s going to be a different story, with warm skies but light winds between 6 to 13 mph each day.

Of course, as we saw at Kapalua last week, weather plays an important factor in scoring, and with light winds, the scores were low. So in looking at the forecast, it seems perfect for the players, like it was in Kapalua. That brings in a different realm of players, those with explosive offensive will go low at Waialae. Yes, it’s a gem of a course but still a layup for the best players in the world with the lack of wind. Even with just two par fives, there is not only a chance for a sub-60 round, but you never know someone could get hot and shot 58.

In looking at the stats for Waialae over the years, driving accuracy hits you. The fairways are different than Kapalua, which was wide and welcoming. At Waialae, the fairways are tight, making for a tough go. Last year the course ranked 19th in driving accuracy as the players hit 57.64 of the fairways. Last year’s winner Kevin Na was not very straight off the tee as he hit 55.46% of the fairways and ranked T-50th. In 2020 things were different as with the lack of rough, the field was more accurately as 65.53% of the fairways were hit, and it ranked 32nd. The previous year with hard, the fairways were hit 56.27% of the time, making it a more demanding course as it ranked 13th. In 2018 and 2017, it ranked 14th, so hitting fairways is essential. 2020 winner Cameron Smith was T-41st in Driving Accuracy, which wasn’t that great. The year before, it was important and one of the keys to why Matt Kuchar won in 2019 as he ranked T-4th in driving accuracy. Kuchar was also great in strokes gained tee-to-green. He was 3rd along with being 7th in strokes gained approach-the-green. Now last year’s winner Na wasn’t that great as he was 44th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green and 4th in Strokes Gained Approach-the-Green.
So our first stat is Strokes gained Tee-to-Green since even though accuracy hasn’t been a key the last couple of years, you may see that change this year with the great weather.
In looking at the winners at Waialae, greens hit seem to be something that all the winners have in common. Since 2002, 15 of the 20 were in the top-12 while seven of the 20 were in the top three. Last year Cameron Smith let us down as he ranked T-29th in Greens hit. The same with 2020 winner Cameron Smith who ranked 20th, but the previous year, 2019, Matt Kuchar showed the importance of this stat, hitting 60 of the 72 greens to lead the field and becoming the third winner since 1997 to lead that stat (John Huston in 1998 & Jimmy Walker in 2015). So our second category is Greens in Regulation. Last year the course was the 48th hardest on tour as the field hit 73.21 of the greens (The course was easy to hit as only 3 courses had more greens hit). In contrast, during the 2020 Sony Open, 64.51% of the greens were hit as the course ranked 14th.
Next is Par Breakers since Waialae had the 46th most birdies on the PGA Tour last year with 1,795 and the 44th highest in Eagles with 60. In 2020 with different conditions, only 1,269 birdies were made as the course ranked 23rd and 34 eagles were made, which ranked T-24th.
Last is par 5 scoring average. Typically a course with just two par-5s wouldn’t be on our list, but the two par 5s at Waialae are very easy. Last year the par 5th 9th was the 2nd easiest hole on the PGA Tour in 2021, playing to a 4.171 average. The par 5 18th was the 15th hardest (out of 918) and played to a 4.408 average. The two par 5s accounted for 539 birdies and 32 eagles. Last year in the four rounds, Kevin Smith was 8 under on the par 5s, in 2020, Cameron Smith was 6 under on the par 5, while Matt Kuchar was 8 under in 2019.

So here are our four choices for the most critical stats from players to do well at Waialae:

*Strokes Gained tee-to-green: You need to hit it long and straight along with hitting lots of greens. So this is important to find a player that will do this

*Greens in Regulation: This is a stat that shows who it’s the most greens in regulation. Last year Waialae ranked 4th easiest in greens hit during 2021.

*ParBreakers: Combination of birdies and eagles made

*Par 5 scoring average: Have to go low on the two par 5s at Waialae.

128 of the 144 players from this year’s field with stats from this year:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

To link to all stats for the Sony Open

DraftKings tips

Of the 144 in the field, 106 have played at least once at Waialae in the Sony Open in Hawaii since 2015.

*Here are the players with the most under par totals at the Sony since 2015:
  • Charles Howell III is 82 under in 28 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Webb Simpson is 80 under in 24 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Marc Leishman is 77 under in 28 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Kevin Kisner is 63 under in 27 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Hudson Swafford is 62 under in 26 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Stewart Cink is 61 under in 24 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Brian Harman is 57 under in 26 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Zach Johnson is 57 under in 26 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Cameron Smith is 52 under in 23 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Scott Piercy is 52 under in 26 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Russell Knox is 50 under in 24 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Brian Stuard is 49 under in 22 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Harris English is 48 under in 22 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Matt Kuchar is 47 under in 16 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Patton Kizzire is 46 under in 16 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Ryan Palmer is 46 under in 22 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Rory Sabbatini is 44 under in 24 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Kyle Stanley is 43 under in 20 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Emiliano Grillo is 42 under in 20 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Jimmy Walker is 42 under in 22 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Kevin Na is 42 under in 18 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Chris Kirk is 41 under in 20 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Jerry Kelly is 41 under in 24 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 38 under in 19 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Brandt Snedeker is 37 under in 16 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Russell Henley is 36 under in 22 rounds, playing 7 years
  • Si Woo Kim is 36 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Matt Jones is 34 under in 20 rounds, playing 5 years
*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)
  • Brendan Steele is 30 under, playing 2 years (-15.0)
  • Webb Simpson is 80 under, playing 6 years (-13.3)
  • Charles Howell III is 82 under, playing 7 years (-11.7)
  • Marc Leishman is 77 under, playing 7 years (-11.0)
  • Austin Cook is 21 under, playing 2 years (-10.5)
  • Billy Horschel is 21 under, playing 2 years (-10.5)
  • Corey Conners is 31 under, playing 3 years (-10.3)
  • Stewart Cink is 61 under, playing 6 years (-10.2)
  • Matt Kuchar is 47 under, playing 5 years (-9.4)
  • Patton Kizzire is 46 under, playing 5 years (-9.2)
  • Kevin Kisner is 63 under, playing 7 years (-9.0)
  • Si Woo Kim is 36 under, playing 4 years (-9.0)
  • Hudson Swafford is 62 under, playing 7 years (-8.9)
  • Cameron Smith is 52 under, playing 6 years (-8.7)
  • Jason Kokrak is 26 under, playing 3 years (-8.7)
  • Sungjae Im is 26 under, playing 3 years (-8.7)
  • Emiliano Grillo is 42 under, playing 5 years (-8.4)
  • Kevin Na is 42 under, playing 5 years (-8.4)
  • Keith Mitchell is 33 under, playing 4 years (-8.3)
  • Brian Stuard is 49 under, playing 6 years (-8.2)
  • Brian Harman is 57 under, playing 7 years (-8.1)
  • Zach Johnson is 57 under, playing 7 years (-8.1)
  • Harris English is 48 under, playing 6 years (-8.0)
  • Ryan Palmer is 46 under, playing 6 years (-7.7)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 38 under, playing 5 years (-7.6)

Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will make lot’s of points this week

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

DraftKings tips

  • Cameron Smith – $11,200
  • Hideki Matsuyama  – $10,600
  • Webb Simpson – $10,500
  • Sungjae Im – $10,300
  • Marc Leishman – $10,000
  • Kevin Na – $9,900
  • Abraham Ancer – $9,700
  • Corey Conners – $9,600
  • Harris English – $9,300
  • Talor Gooch – $9,100

In past Sony’s because of the weather conditions with lack of wind and perfect conditions, we have looked for players that produce the most offensive power, meaning lots of birdies and eagles this week. This week will be necessary, with excellent conditions and no wind, it will create a big onslaught onto Waialae. Now we know that predicting weather is very dicey in Hawaii, even the TV stations in Hawaii are vague on long-term predictions because they know that it could switch at a moment’s notice. But in all of the time I have spent in Hawaii, yes, it’s a rarity to see four straight days of hardly any wind. Still have to consider that and make sure to pick someone with a lot of firepower.

The first person to consider is Cameron Smith at $11,200. Normally we aren’t very kind to players like Cameron Smith that is valued so high.  But the price is far when you consider that he has won at the Sony and he has the firepower to do well, ranked 3rd in Par Breakers for 2022.  Smith has been on a roll for the last six months and feel it’s not going away anytime soon so don’t hesitate at his big price.  Hideki Matsuyama at $10,600 is a question mark.  Yes, he is great from tee to green, which should make his game perfect for Waialae.  But to go low you have to putt and that is not a strong point for Matsuyama so that is why in eight starts he has never been in the top ten.  Kapalua last week showed us that Hideki is still not ready to step up further on the PGA Tour with his T-13th finish, so it best to pass on Matsuyama this week.  Webb Simpson at $10,500 is someone to seriously consider, in his last three starts he finished T-4th in 2018, 3rd in 2020, and T-4th last year.  People will forget but he ended the year T-14th at CJ Cup, T-8th at RSM, and 17th at Hero.  Yes, he is a very good pick even at the high price.  Sungjae Im at $10,300 is a toss-up, sorry he just hasn’t produced the numbers to do well at Waialae, I realized that he was T-8th at Sentry last week.  Marc Leishman at $10,000 is a good pick, he has had 4 top-tens in 12 starts, last year was T-4th.  Also, like that he is solid at Waialae, has made the cut in all 12 starts at the Sony.  Kevin Na at $9,900 is someone to consider, yes his record wasn’t the best until his win last year but his game is great for Waialae.  Only thing that bothers me about him, first very hard for the defending champion to repeat, and also his tee to green game hasn’t been sharp in 2022.  Abraham Ancer at $9,700 is not only overpriced but he isn’t playing well and doesn’t have much of a record at the Sony, it’s best to pass on him.  Corey Conners at $9,600 makes me wonder what DraftKings is thinking of.  Yes, he was T-12th in 2020 and T-3rd in 2019, but he hasn’t had a top-five finish since the Heritage last year.  So it’s best to pass on him.  Harris English at $9,300 is reasonable and frankly, I believe his game should be good for Waialae.  He did finish 4th in 2014 and T-3rd in 2015 but hasn’t played well at the Sony since.  I would pass on him, think he may not be healthy and hasn’t played well since the FedEx St. Jude last August.  Talor Gooch at $9,100 is a very good pick.  Yes, he hasn’t played well at Waialae but his game is sharp and he is a good tee-to-Green player and hits a lot of greens which should be good for him.

Cuts made at the Sony

One of the most critical items in picking your six pros is making the cut. Here is a look, going back to the 2010 Sony Open on who has made the most cuts at the Sony since. Of course, for those that make a lot of cuts and is priced low, that is very helpful (most of them made three Sony starts, List includes those that have made 3 or more Sony Opens starts):

  • Charles Howell III made 12 cuts in 12 starts for a 100.0%. His DraftKings cost is 8,000.
  • Marc Leishman made 11 cuts in 11 starts for a 100.0%. His DraftKings cost is 10,000.
  • Webb Simpson made 10 cuts in 10 starts for a 100.0%. His DraftKings cost is 10,500.
  • Cameron Smith made 6 cuts in 6 starts for a 100.0%. His DraftKings cost is 11,200.
  • Jason Kokrak made 6 cuts in 6 starts for a 100.0%. His DraftKings cost is 8,600.
  • Emiliano Grillo made 5 cuts in 5 starts for a 100.0%. His DraftKings cost is 7,300.
  • Corey Conners made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%. His DraftKings cost is 9,600.
  • Joel Dahmen made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%. His DraftKings cost is 7,600.
  • Sungjae Im made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%. His DraftKings cost is 10,300.
  • Stewart Cink made 9 cuts in 10 starts for a 90.0%. His DraftKings cost is 7,200.
  • Brian Stuard made 8 cuts in 9 starts for a 88.9%. His DraftKings cost is 7,200.
  • Harris English made 8 cuts in 9 starts for a 88.9%. His DraftKings cost is 9,300.
  • Hudson Swafford made 7 cuts in 8 starts for a 87.5%. His DraftKings cost is 6,800.
  • Zach Johnson made 10 cuts in 12 starts for a 83.3%. His DraftKings cost is 7,200.
  • Brendon Todd made 5 cuts in 6 starts for a 83.3%. His DraftKings cost is 7,500.
  • Brian Gay made 9 cuts in 11 starts for a 81.8%. His DraftKings cost is 6,100.
  • Ryan Palmer made 9 cuts in 11 starts for a 81.8%. His DraftKings cost is 7,800.
  • Brian Harman made 8 cuts in 10 starts for a 80.0%. His DraftKings cost is 7,500.
  • Vaughn Taylor made 4 cuts in 5 starts for a 80.0%. His DraftKings cost is 6,100.
  • Kyle Stanley made 7 cuts in 9 starts for a 77.8%. His DraftKings cost is 6,700.
  • Rory Sabbatini made 9 cuts in 12 starts for a 75.0%. His DraftKings cost is 6,900.
  • John Huh made 6 cuts in 8 starts for a 75.0%. His DraftKings cost is 6,900.
  • Matt Jones made 6 cuts in 8 starts for a 75.0%. His DraftKings cost is 8,400.
  • William McGirt made 6 cuts in 8 starts for a 75.0%. His DraftKings cost is 6,100.
  • Billy Horschel made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%. His DraftKings cost is 8,700.
  • Keith Mitchell made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%. His DraftKings cost is 7,600.
  • Ryan Armour made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%. His DraftKings cost is 6,300.
  • Si Woo Kim made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%. His DraftKings cost is 7,700.
  • Peter Malnati made 5 cuts in 7 starts for a 71.4%. His DraftKings cost is 6,600.
  • Kevin Kisner made 7 cuts in 10 starts for a 70.0%. His DraftKings cost is 8,900.
  • Kevin Na made 7 cuts in 10 starts for a 70.0%. His DraftKings cost is 9,900.

The ones in bold are what I think is a great bargain.

*Players in the $7,500 to $8,900 range:

Kevin Kisner at $8,900 is a person to consider, has played well at Waialae and was T-8th at Sentry.  Russell Henley at $8,500 is a good choice, has played well at the Sony and has played well in the Fall.  Matt Jones at $8,400 is a very good pick, played great last week in Kapalua and has played well at the Sony.  Charles Howell III at $8,000 is not one of my top picks, but can see him picked at the Sony.  He has played in this event 20 times, making all 20 cuts with ten top-tens, but he will not win.  At best maybe a top-ten, but he is getting on in age.  Another player with a great record at the Sony is Brendan Steele at $7,900.  He is not a household name, but feel he will make the cut and do well.  Was T-2nd in October at the Zozo so he does do well every now and then, think this could be a good year for him.  We can probably make the same case for Chris Kirk at $7,900.  He won T-2nd last year, was 2nd in 2014.  He has struggled with his game but I can see him making the cut and doing well.  I also like Joel Dahmen at $7,600, he was T-12th at the Sony in 2020, he played ok in the fall.

What are the “Bargains” out there?

Patton Kizzire at $7,300 is worth looking at, he was T-7th last year and won the event in 2018.  His fall wasn’t the best but still, he can overcome that.  Stewart Cink at $7,200 is a good bet, he has made a lot of cuts and can get a top-20 with a lot of offense.  Brian Stuard at $7,200 is also worth the gamble, in nine Sony starts has made eight cuts and been in the top-ten, four times.  Hudson Swafford at $6,800 is also worth the try, he has a good record a the Sony and has been ok in the fall.  If you are in need for a pick of a player under $6,500 you can’t do any better than Jim Furyk at $6,500.  His record is great in this event including a win and five top-tens, but you just know that even though he is 51 he can still make the cut.

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

The 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, especially if the wind doesn’t blow. The wind is the only true protection Waialae gets. If it blows, scores are reasonable, but without winds, scores go low, and just as Justin Thomas showed us in 2017 by shooting 59. So with no winds this week, we could see a lot of low scoring.

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

The first thing to realize is that Waialae is the complete opposite of the Plantation Course, which held the Sentry T of C 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 most demanding 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 the last couple of years’ driving accuracy list, funny how past champions in the previous decade like Matt Kuchar, Russell Henley, Mark Wilson, Zach Johnson, Paul Goydos, David Toms, and Jerry Kelly have ranked high.

Another critical stat to look at is total driving which combines distance with accuracy and looks for the leaders in this stat playing at the Sony to do well.

On a scale of 1 to 10, hitting greens is essential, with ten being the most critical, give hitting greens a 7. Still, you can’t dismiss this stat since 1997, 13 of the last 20 champions have been in the top ten in this stat, and none of them were worst than 29th. In 2020 Cameron Smith hit 51 greens and ranked T-20th. In the previous year, 2019, Matt Kuchar led the stat hitting 60 of 72 greens, he joined Jimmy Walker in 2015, and John Huston in 2008 has the three champions to lead the greens hit category since 1997.

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, looking for those types to do well. In diving into Shotlink stats on PGA Tour.Com in 2022 

Beau Hossler, Mark Hubbard, Trey Mullinax, Ryan Armour, Adam Schenk, and Cameron Smith are top-ten player in the field this week. 2020 champion Cameron Smith was 10th, in 2019 Matt Kuchar was T-11th, 2018, champion Patton Kizzire was 4th in this stat. 2017 champion Justin Thomas was 11th, 2016 champion Fabian Gomez was T-32nd, in 2015 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 are important this week are picking a high on the par breaker list. Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, and Webb Simpson are in the top ten.

Finally, 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 Kevin Na was 9 under, in 2020 Cameron Smith was 4 under when he won last year, Matt Kuchar was 11 under, in 2018, Patton Kizzire was 8 under, 2017 winner Justin Thomas was 15 under while Fabian Gomez was 12 under the year before. In 2015 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 those playing the par 4s the best on tour in 2022  these players are in the top-ten playing Sony; Cameron Smith, Webb Simpson, Sungjae Im, and Corey Conners.

Who to watch for at the Sony Open in Hawaii

Best Bets:

Webb Simpson

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T4 3 T4 T13 T13 T13 T20 T38 T46 T77

in his last three starts, he finished T-4th in 2018, 3rd in 2020, and T-4th last year. People will forget but he ended the year T-14th at CJ Cup, T-8th at RSM, and 17 at Hero.

Marc Leishman

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T4 T28 T3 T47 T20 T28 T37 5 T9 T27 T20

he has had 4 top-tens in 12 starts, last year was T-4th.

Cameron Smith

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T62 Win T22 T18 T27 T81

Normally we aren’t very kind to players like Cameron Smith who won the week before. But when you consider that he has won at the Sony and he has the firepower to do well, ranked 3rd in Par Breakers for 2022. Smith has been on a roll for the last six months and feels it’s not going away anytime soon so don’t hesitate to take him.

Best of the rest:

Matt Jones

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T11 T38 T29 T39 70 T15 CUT CUT

played great last week in Kapalua and has played well at the Sony.

Sungjae Im

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T56 T21 T16

Realize he hasn’t produced the numbers to do well at Waialae, I realized that he was T-8th at Sentry last week and has played well in the fall, so he could continue the good run of golf.

Talor Gooch

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
CUT T63 CUT T18

he hasn’t played well at Waialae but his game is sharp and he is a good tee-to-Green player and hits a lot of greens which should be good for him.

Kevin Na

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
                  Win                                           Cut              T36              T28              T64              T8             CUT                Cut              T20

Yes his record wasn’t the best at the Sony until his win last year but his game is great for Waialae. The only thing that bothers me about him, first very hard for the defending champion to repeat and also his tee to green game hasn’t been sharp in 2022.

Kevin Kisner

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T32 T4 T69 T25 T4 T5 84 CUT CUT CUT

is a person to consider, has played well at Waialae and was T-8th at Sentry.

Solid contenders

Russell Henley

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T11 CUT 66 CUT T13 CUT T17 T51 Win

is a good choice, has played well at the Sony, and has played well in the Fall.

Patton Kizzire

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T7 CUT T13 Win CUT

he was T-7th last year and won the event in 2018. His fall wasn’t the best but still he can overcome that.

Chris Kirk

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T2 CUT CUT T10 CUT CUT T26 2 T5 T38 T30

He won T-2nd last year, was 2nd in 2014. He has struggled with his game but I can see him making the cut and doing well.

Stewart Cink

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T19 T20 T32 T36 T42 T37 T20 CUT T29 T52

he has made a lot of cuts and can get a top-20 with a lot of offense.

Hudson Swafford

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T25 T57 T3 T54 T13 T9 CUT T8

he has a good record a the Sony and has been ok in the fall.

Long shots that could come through:

Brendan Steele

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T4 2 CUT

He is not a household name, but feel he will make the cut and do well. Was T-2nd in October at the Zozo so he does do well every now and then, think this could be a good year for him.

Brian Stuard

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T47 T53 T8 T4 T45 CUT 6 T5 T25

in nine Sony starts has made eight cuts and been in the top-ten, four times.

Charles Howell III

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T19 T12 T8 T32 T8 T13 T26 T8 T3 T2 T68 T5

can see him picked at the Sony. He has played in this event 20 times, making all 20 cuts with ten top-tens, but he will not win. At best maybe a top-ten, but he is getting on in age.

Not this week:

Hideki Matsuyama

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
T19 T12 T51 T27 T78 CUT CUT CUT

Yes, he is great from tee to green, which should make his game perfect for Waialae. But to go low you have to putt and that is not a strong point for Matsuyama so that is why in eight starts he has never been in the top ten. Kapalua last week showed us that Hideki is still not ready to step up on the PGA Tour with his T-13th finish.

Abraham Ancer

2022 ’21 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10
CUT T38 T29 CUT

He isn’t playing well and doesn’t have much of a record at the Sony, best to pass on him.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.