I would like to welcome everyone to the 2013 edition of the Sony Open. The best golfers in the world will once again being teeing it up Hawaii, a place that combines work and play. Players treat the beginning of the year as an opportunity to bring their families to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Last week Dustin Johnson was the player who had the pleasure of celebrating yet another 54-hole event victory. In the seasons 1st full field event, there will be 143 other players all looking to raise one of the seasons early trophy’s like DJ did. To do so they will have to conquer Waialae Country Club. Let’s take a closer look at this challenging course.
Waialae Country Club is not an easy way to start off the season, but it does provide plenty of excitement for the viewers. People enjoy seeing players challenged and having to create and shape shots. Though last week’s wide open style is nice every once in a while, it was far too easy of a golf course for Professionals.
Waialae measures only 7068 yards in length but plays as a Par 70. The course is actually played in reverse when the Pros come, with the back nine becoming the front nine, and vice versa. With only two Par 5’s on the course (9 and 18), players will have to attempt to take advantage of the Par 3’s and 4’s for a change.
Tight fairways and extremely small greens are a common theme at Waialae. Look for players who are accurate off the tee and with their irons to have a large advantage at this difficult golf course. Players will also face the elements while playing this week. Undulation and wind never make for a favourable combination, but that is exactly what the players will face. While watching this week take note of how many times players completely misjudge club selection.
My favourite hole at Waialae is the 17th. A Par 3 measuring 189 yards, the 17th hole will give the players fits for various reasons. The green is surrounded by 5 bunkers (4 of them fairly deep), along with some very gnarly rough. The scenery around the 17th has the ability to distract anyone, even a professional, as it is absolutely stunning. Look for players to attempt to hit it at the centre of the small green and two-putt. 3 is a great score on the 17th.
Things to watch for this week
Players being fatigued from last week – The players on the PGA Tour last week had to deal with plenty of delays and adverse conditions. I expect them to be fine physically this week, but players could be mentally tired. These players are used to routines and Tuesday afternoon finishes are far from their norm.
The 1st tournament for the rookies – The PGA Tour will welcome 15 new members this season from the web.com Tour. All 25 players who graduated from the web .com Tour last season will be competing this week in Hawaii, though only 15 of those players are first timers on the PGA Tour. We will have the pleasure of watching young rookies such as Luke Guthrie, Ben Kohles and James Hahn. It will be difficult for a rookie to win this week, as none have won this event in January, but this is an exceptional group.
Possible 59? – Waialae may have very tight fairways but players in the past have gone extremely low. The course record since the renovations is 61, a sizzling round by David Toms in 2006. Last year Brendon De Jonge managed to fire a second round of 62. Could this be the year someone goes Sub 60 at Waialae? I feel with perfect conditions expected this week it could very well happen.
Steve’s Six Pack System Picks for the Sony Open
Charles Howell III – 23 TO 1 We go with Charles yet again in this tournament. We have taken him the past 3 years and have suffered plenty of heartbreak watching him come so close to winning. This will be his 12th appearance at the Sony Open and he has yet to miss a cut. Over those 11 appearances he has amassed 6 Top 5 finishes, including 3 runner ups. I feel Howell III has under achieved over his career so far, though he has earned 23.75 million. He has only two PGA Tour wins and has finished runner up 13 times. Though his statistics from last season are nothing outstanding, his past success here cannot be overlooked. I expect Howell III to get off to a great start in Hawaii.
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