18 Thoughts: 2020 Sony Open

Matt Kuchar extended an interesting trend last year in picking up the win.

Oh, and there’s gonna be a BOATLOAD of wind, rain and savage gusts.

1.) Justin Thomas is looking to do the Hawaiian Daily Double for the second time in four years. Only Ernie Els has won Maui and Honolulu in back-to-back weeks outside of Thomas.

2.) Zach Johnson is one of the few to win at Kapalua and Waialae. No top 10 for ZJ since the 2018 RSM Classic though.

3.) The highest winning score this century is 11-under. The total set by @GolfOdds (Jeff Sherman) this week is 274.5 on the Par-70 track. #WindyAF.

4.) Only two players in their 20s have won this event this century. Russell Henley, in his first event with a TOUR card in 2013 and Justin Thomas in 2017.

5.) Both 20-somethings above also set the tournament record at the time. Henley busted 256 while JT went three better for 253.

6.) JT posted 61 in his second competitive round here before stumbling to T6.

7.) JT opened with 59 in 2017 en route to setting the tournament record and joining an exclusive club.

8.) This century only Henley and Jerry Kelly (2002) have picked up their first win on TOUR at this event.

9.) Kuchar and Kizzire are the second and third players to win Mayakoba in the fall and Sony in the winter since 2012. Johnson Wagner kicked off the trend in 2012.

10.) Of the last 21 winners, 15 played the previous week at Kapalua. From the field of 34 last week, 23 are signed up and ready to go.

11.) Only the courses of Pebble Beach and Colonial have served as event hosts longer than Waialae (excluding majors). Waialae has been the host of the Sony Open since 1965.

12.) Only Wyndham (Sedgefield CC) has produced more rounds of 62 or better since 2003 but the wind isn’t going to help that stat this time around for my money.

13.) This is usually a second-shot track but the winds this week will also require a solid short game. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about converting birdie chances like in a normal year. Grind out pars and move on.

14.) Last player to defend at the event was the masterful Jimmy Walker in 2014-15. Walker was so damn mad after blowing a back-nine lead to Patrick Reed at Kapalua the week before in 2015, he closed 63-63 to win by NINE SHOTS and defend his Sony Open title. I believe he went on to win the PGA Championship later that year. Walker has been dealing with Lyme Disease for some time now and his results on the course have reflected the struggle.

15.) The last winner to post single-digits was Jeff Sluman in 1999 and before that, David Ishii in 1990 (both 9-under).

16.) First full-field event of 2020 with 144 players. Remember, there isn’t MDF anymore as that ended LAST YEAR.

17.) Please help:

18.) Location, location, location!

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