clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sony Open of Hawaii: Expert Picks

A beautiful course awaits.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Tournament Information

Sony Open of Hawaii
Date: January 14th – 17th
Course: Waialae Country Club
Purse: $6.6MM ($1.2MM to winner)
2020 Winner: Cameron Smith (-11)
OWGR Points: 52


Waialae Country Club — At 7,045 yards, this par 70 was opened in 1927 and designed by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks. Much like last week, wind can definitely be a factor that golfers have to be cognizant of during shots. On holes nine, 11, 12 and 17 (the signature hole) the wind can come up off the Pacific Ocean and play havoc to high altitude or softer shots. Lakes and bunkers are layered aside many of the fairways requiring accuracy off the tee. Despite all of this it always comes down to the putts that seal the successful golfers here.

Sony Open in Hawaii - Final Round Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

My Starting 4

Webb Simpson (first selection this year) — Simpson has top 15 finishes three of the last four years at Waialae. He has an OWGR of eight and he’s made the cut in every tournament this year (finishing in the top 20 five times). His game is solid around with good iron work, putting and driving.

Cameron Smith (first selection this year) — Not only did Smith win last year but he’s finished in the top 30 each of the last four years here. He’s top 20 in FedEx Rankings, and he finished in the top 10 for four straight tournaments earlier this season. He is among the best putters on the tour right now.

Justin Thomas (fourth selection this year) — As long as we are playing in Hawaii, Thomas is always a good bet. He’s finished in the top 20 three of the last four years here.

Dustin Johnson (second selection this year) — Johnson has the best average in Florida over the last three years. He’s first in OWGR and first in FedEx ranking.

My Bench 2

Marc Leishman (first selection this year) — Leishman has finished in the top 50 each of the last four years finishing as high as third in 2019. Marc has struggled a bit this season with two missed cuts and two other finishes outside the top 50. His putting has really held him back this season (232nd in strokes gained putting).

Kevin Kisner (first selection this year) — Kisner has made the cut each of the last four years with two fourth place finishes (2017 and 2020). He has been very hot/cold this year, missing two cuts but finishing in the top 15 twice as well. His putting has been strong but he’s not doing well off the tee.

Fun Fact: This course has been featured on Nintendo.

2020-2021 Stats
Starting 4: avg finish 36th (30th percent)
Bench 2: avg finish 51st (42nd percent)