Sony Open Preview
Preview of the Sony Open and guide to the leading contenders
The PGA Tour remains in Hawaii for the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu from January 14-17 in what is the first full tournament field of the year.
Fresh from the first event of the year – last week’s Tournament of Champions, the PGA Tour remains on the stunning Pacific island as Cameron Smith bids to defend his Sony Open title.
Australian Smith won a play-off with Brandon Steele after both players finished on 11-under par at Waialae.
Sony Open History
The Sony Open was known as the Hawaiian Open when it was first staged in 1965 and has carried its current sponsored title since 1999.
It is the first event of the PGA Tour year featuring a full field, coming one week after the Tournament of Champions, which is for the previous year’s winners only.
The tournament has only ever been played at one venue – the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu – and had a stellar list of form winners.
The former champions include two-time champions Hubert Green, Lanny Wadkins, Corey Pavin, Ernie Els and Jimmy Walker as well as the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Mark O’Meara, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas and Matt Kuchar.
Michelle Wie controversially played in the event on four occasions as part of a sponsors invite from Sony, missing the cut each time – the first of which was in 2004 as a 14-year-old.
Sony Open Course
The Waialae Country Club is located in Honolulu and was first created in 1927. It has hosted the Sony Open since 1965.
The course poses a par-70 challenge measuring 7,044 yards, and features some stunning holes along the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Justin Thomas set a new tournament score of 253 (27-under) when winning the Sony Open in 2017.
Tournament of Champions winner Harris English and runner-up Joaquin Neimann are both among the leading contenders to win after last week’s performances.
English beat Neimann in a play-off at Kapalua Resort, after the pair finished on 25-under for the week. They were one in front of Justin Thomas, who fell short after a controversial weekend.
The 2017 champion Thomas won’t be teeing it up at Waialae Country Club with Webb Simpson, who was 17th in the Tournament of Champions, the favourite for victory in the Sony Open.
Collin Morikawa, tied seventh last week, is another of the fancied contenders along with Sungjae Im and Daniel Berger, who were fifth and 10th respectively.
Hideki Matsuyama, Abraham Ancer, who was tied 17th in the Tournament of Champions, defending champion Smith and Kevin Kisner round of the top 10 in the betting markets.
The 2019 winner Matt Kuchar is among the line-up for this year. Other former winners featuring include Patton Kizzire (2018), Fabian Gomez (2016), Jimmy Walker (2014 & 2015), Russell Henley (2013), Ryan Palmer (2010), Zach Johnson (2009), KJ Choi (2008), Vijay Singh (2005) and Jerry Kelly (2002).
Six of the last seven winners of the Sony Open all played the previous week at the Tournament of Champions, with Smith the odd one out.
- Sungjae Im (Each-Way)
- Matt Kuchar (Each-Way)
James is an avid golfer and reviews golf equipment and new gear for GolfReviewsGuide.com as well as providing the latest golf news. You will find him on a golf course wherever possible.