The PGA gets into full swing this week with a full tournament of players and a regular cut with the Sony Open.
The Sony Open takes place from Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii. Waialae CC is a 7,044 yards golf course that plays out as a Par 70. There is a huge difference between last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions compared to this week at the Sony Open.
Last week, golfers were less worried about hitting fairways because they were enormous and nearly impossible to miss. This week, that will not be the case. The course is completely different and is a much more difficult course.
Trees line the greens and make the approach shots so much more important. Waialae Country Club is one of the toughest courses each year on tour for driving. To give you a better understanding of just how tough this course is off the tee, over the last 15 years, less than half of all tee shots ended up in the fairway!!!
That being said, just because there are a ton of trees on the course, does not mean that the wind of Hawaii is any less of a factor. You will need to make sure that your golfers are able to play in the windy conditions or you are wasting your time and money investing in them because I can almost guarantee that it will be a factor this week.
The greens at Waialae are small and are made up of Bermuda Greens. They are fast and tough to putt on. Fabian Gomez won this tournament a few years ago by crushing everyone else in Strokes Gained: Putting and that has been a trend of the top finishers here at the Sony Open.
We are going to focus on several factors this week for the Sony Open. First and foremost, we will pay close attention to Strokes Gained: Approach The Green.
As we said earlier, these greens are lined with trees so the approach shots will be very important this week. If you want to score on this course, you MUST have a good approach shot.
Staying on that same thought process, we will put a decent amount of weight into Greens in Reg and Scrambling. I think this week will come down to who plays the best around these greens. We will also be using the following:
- Strokes Gained: Approach The Green
- Greens In Reg
- Strokes Gained: Tee To Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Ball Striking
- Par 4 Birdie or Better
- Par 4 Scoring
Additionally, there are two trends that you should be aware of when picking your golfers this week.
- 9 out of the last 10 winners of the Sony Open, played in the Tournament of Champions the week prior.
- The last 8 Sony Open winners were T6 or better in one of their last three tournaments that they played in.
Earl's Sony Open Plays
- Webb Simpson +1600 for 1.5 Units at BetOnline
- Sungjae Im +1750 for 1.5 Units at Bookmaker
- Corey Conners +2550 for 1 Unit at Bookmaker
- Talor Gooch +3500 for 1 Unit at MyBookie
Note: if you are looking for a longshot with a legit chance to compete, take a shot on Hayden Buckley. He is +22550 at Bookmaker and I think he has as much of a chance to be in the top 5 to start Sunday as anyone in this tournament. I'm not listing him as an official play however if I was about to play a longshot, this would be the guy!