Preview: 2022 Sony Open in Hawaii

Old guys or Young guys?

Experience or newbies?

Birdies or MORE BIRDIES?

Those questions and more answered below!

What a pic!

2022 Sony Open in Hawaii

Waialae Country Club


Yards (per official scorecard):7,044
Par:70 (35-35)
Greens:Bermuda; 7,000 square feet on average.
Stimpmeter:Around 10.5′.
Rough:Bermuda pushing 3″.
Bunkers/Water Hazards83/4 (water in play on 5 holes).
Architects:Seth Raynor (1927); Tom Doak.
Purse:$7.5 million ($1.35 winner) plus 500 FedExCup points.
Defending Champion:Kevin Na (-21; 259).
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:Jimmy Walker (2014-2015)
Tournament Record:253; Justin Thomas (2017)
Course Record:59; Justin Thomas (2017)
Fact of the Week:Jimmy Walker is the only player to defend since Ernie Els (2003-2004).
Fact of the Week II:Justin Thomas and Ernie Els are the only two players to win Kapalua/Waialae back-to-back.
Fact of the Week III:Only 3 winners this century in their 20s.


  • Field of 144.
  • First full field event of 2022 portion of the season.
  • Top 65 and ties play the final two rounds.

2021-2022 Season Winners

Fortinet ChampionshipMax Homa
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSam Burns
Shriners Children’s OpenSungjae Im
Bermuda ChampionshipLucas Herbert (first TOUR win)
Mayakoba ChampionshipViktor Hovland
Hewlett Packard Houston OpenJason Kokrak
The RSM ClassicTalor Gooch (first TOUR win)
Sentry Tournament of ChampionsCameron Smith

Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details on those who play well here.

Event Winners:

Year/Player/Score * – PlayoffNotes
2021 Kevin Na (-21)*  Played in the final group and won by a shot with a birdie at the last hole over Brendan Steele.
2020 Cameron Smith (-11)*Made up a three shot deficit after 54 holes and beat Brendan Steele in a playoff. Weather was windy and soaking wet. Highest score since 2005.
2019 Matt Kuchar (-22)Opened 63-63 and won by four over Andrew Putnam.
2018 Patton Kizzire (-17)*Needed a six hole playoff to knock out James Hahn.
2017 Justin Thomas (-22)Blew up the record book with 59 in Round 1 and everything else that followed. Won the previous week at Kapalua.
2016 Fabian Gomez (-20)*Posted 62 in the final round to reach a playoff and defeat Brandt Snedeker.
2015 Jimmy Walker (-23)Defended his title in fantastic style as he won by NOYNE shots. NOYNE!

Last Time – Sentry Tournament of Champions

Thoughts on Chalk (My plays will be obvious)

Justin Thomas (+800): Only two-time winner in the field and with four podiums in six appearances, no wonder why he’s first choice. Half of his wins are in the Pacific Rim and he circles birdies here for fun. T5 with an over par round!!!!

Jon Rahm (+900): Four visits = four top 10s. Don’t fall in love with his solo second too much as DJ walloped him (and the rest) by a million shots. Rahm is live every time he tees it up and no cut will help. New baby should be sleeping better now haha. Couldn’t pass Cameron Smith but keeps his sterling record here intact. Solo Second.

Collin Morikawa (+1100): Hasn’t been bothered too much on his first two visits (T7, T7) and has played in both perfect and windy conditions. That experience is valuable and it helps he doesn’t have any memories on the BEFORE RENOVATION. The only issue I have is whether or not his putter can keep up in a shootout for four days. His tee-to-green isn’t the issue. His chipping and putting was the issue. T5.

Bryson DeChambeau (+1200): Seems to be worried about everything except playing golf tournaments. A pair of top 10s in his last two visits suggest he can figure it out here but that’s too much math for me. Originally in the field this week he WD after a wrist deal. One to watch for Mr. BallSpeed!

Xander Schauffele (+1200): Wait, I can get the same price for a guy who’s won, led after 36 and 54 holes in his defense and was T5 last year? WIN TICKET. TOP 10. Solo 12th tears up TWO tickets!

Patrick Cantlay (+1400): Hasn’t played since the Ryder Cup so I’ll patiently wait and see. Solo fourth suggests his plan worked perfectly. He’ll be live ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE on the West Coast.

Viktor Hovland (+1400): Hard to play without clubs! He’s been in Hawaii for almost a week and his clubs arrived last night. BEWARE THE INJURED/LOST CLUBS GOLFER as he’s won the last two times he’s teed it up. Three in a row is surely out of the question! Clubs finally arrived but T30 is all 14-under was worth this week! Savage!

15-1 or Worse

Sam Burns (+1800): Write him off at your own peril. Write him off on Bermuda at your own peril. Last first time winner is Daniel Chopra 100 years ago but Burns is hotter than the luau fire. 19-under = T19.

Jordan Spieth (+2000): All in both feet mask tank snorkel fins. WIN TICKET. Top 10. Drowning with Schauffele.

Daniel Berger (+2200): Should have everything figured out by now as this will be his fourth visit. Top 10. T5 as we put some cash back in our empty, empty pocket!

Cameron Smith (+2200): Classic form vs. course form play. Top 15 or better in his last three on TOUR but just two rounds of eight in the 60s here. Love him next week at Waialae. He won. Well shit. Week early.

Hideki Matsuyama (+2500): Last year he was T-DFL. The previous three trips his worst finish was T4. Won his last time out on his home course in Japan. Top 10. 21-under did NOT hit the top 10 (T12). Losing ticket.

Tony Finau (+2500): Now that he’s won, I’m no longer gonna chase. Especially in a putting contest! Closed with 65 for those tracking down the road. T19.

Sungjae Im (+2500): Take all of my money. All of it. Showed up last year and lit the place on fire tee-to-green but didn’t make anything. That should change this time around. Top 5. Top 10. Began the final round T4 and regressed to T8. Sigh.

Patrick Reed (+2800): Classic risk-reward place. He’s all-or-nothing here so don’t get in too deep but I’m playing him WIN and top 10. Started at the bottom with his new clubs but unlike JT did not rally into the top five. T15. Tickets torn.

Brooks Koepka (+3000): Is this a major? This is not a major. T28.

Abraham Ancer (+3000): Figured it out in his last two rounds last year in his first appearance. Circled 23 birdies and led the field in Putts per GIR. Too bad he didn’t hit more GIR after ranking No. 2 in fairways. Nothing worse than 72 or better than 69 doesn’t fly here. T35 of 38 entered.

Harris English (+3500): Defending champ had a shoulder deal in late November that I’m hoping has cleared up. Win and T11 in two trips suggests he enjoys it here. Played the first 36 73-70 and was toast. T30.

Marc Leishman (+3500): He’s won big events and played well in Hawaii over the years. Doesn’t have defending champion duties to bog down his prep time either. Yes, please, WIN TICKET, TOP 10. Wrong Aussie, but the top 10 eases some pain in the pocket!

Jason Kokrak (+4500): SHOULD fit him perfectly. I think I wrote this last year as well. Might be too wide open for him after winning at Colonial and Memorial Park. ’twas as he was DFL. Joke’s on us as he collected 101k for being DFL hahahaha.

Talor Gooch (+4500): Broke his maiden at The RSM Classic and is a first-timer. T15 with his two best rounds on the weekend.

Funny Money

Si Woo Kim (+8000): Has never been scared of going low on Bermuda! Lite sprinkle Top 10. His 65 in Round 2 had my attention but stalled out on the weekend T23.

Cameron Davis (+11000): Won’t make enough but won’t have too many stressers for par either. Top 10. 66-66 close to cash T10.

This Week – Sony Open in Hawaii

The full field has arrived!

144 tee it this week at Waialae in Honolulu.

Hard fairways to hit plus big greens = better hit it close and take your chances. Those playing from the fairway can attack and those who enjoy Bermuda putting will also be happy again this week.

Making pars this week is necessary as bogeys will feel like doubles. The good news is if the weather is perfect, this will be an all-you-can birdie event.

Find guys who can accept par and know how to and when to attack.

Experience plays here as the past winners have shown us. So does holing birdie putts when given the chance. Going low is imperative again this week as is handling Bermuda.

Most of the recent winners have played the week prior and have knocked off the rust so that’s a definite angle.

Check guys who have played well at Colonial, Harbour Town and Mayakoba as well.

Good luck!

Thoughts on Chalk (My plays will be obvious)

Cameron Smith (+1000): Smoking hot lava fire and the 2020 champ in a playoff. How can you NOT? Well, in 2020 he won in shite conditions (windy and rainy) so there’s that. Surely he can’t just show up and post another 30-odd birdies? The law of averages must kick in at some point? Right??? JT did it with 59 and the tournament record…

Webb Simpson (+1600): Wyndham West minus the win. Short, birdies, Bermuda and opens his season annually here (or Kapalua). Comfy as it gets.

Sungjae Im (+1600): Another week, another event and another chance to rack up another million birdies. He should have it figured out by now as this is start No. 4.

Hideki Matsuyama (+1800): Dove in last week on a track where he had a TON of big results. No top 10 here as T12 is his best. I’ll save my money for Scottsdale.

Marc Leishman (+2000): Never MC here. Ever. Never won or finished second either. Nice warm up with T10 last week. Let’s do it again! Top 10 ticket.

Corey Conners (+2500): Posted 62 on Bermuda in his last start at RSM and has been in the mix here. The question will be can he make enough putts to pay off his fantastic Tee-to-Green numbers?

Kevin Na (+2800): He’ll walk in his fair share of putts again this week and has defended enough times to know the drill. Top 10.

Talor Gooch (+3000): He turned 30 in November and is playing here for the 5th time. Top 10, Top 20.

33-1 or Worse Select Opinions

Abraham Ancer (+3300): Hope he’s in the field next week as he’ll be second choice to Rahm…

Kevin Kisner (+3500): Would have preferred him NOT to have hit the top 10 last week! Inflated number but his four rounds this week will give me a clue on what 2022 has lined up for Kiz.

Harris English (+3500): Bit quiet since the shoulder deal.

Russell Henley (+3500): Already done the deed here and fired T11 last year. Bump it top 10 and a win ticket this time around.

Seamus Power (+5000): Just in fantastic form so take a Top 20 and don’t sweat.

Billy Horschel (+5000): Winning at Wentworth suggests he’s confident in navigating his golf ball all nine ways. Making one bogey here last year after a 5-year absence suggests he’s ready to take the next step. Win, Top 10, Top 20.

Charles Howell III (+5500): The Landlord. Top 20. Mai Tai’s for all.

Maverick McNealy (+5500): Loves coastal golf. Top 10, Top 20.

Cameron Davis (+6000): His top 10 was also in 2020 with poor weather. Not much room for him to swing it here.

Si Woo Kim (+6000): Save this Dye Dawg for Pete’s Stadium Course next week.

Joel Dahmen (+6600): Seaside soother. Top 20.

Brendan Steele (+8000): He’s led the event after 54 holes in terrible weather in 2020 and perfect weather in 2021. Top 10.

Keith Mitchell (+9000): 3 way action as well. Gotta have a couple live longer shots this week based on the history of the event.

Funny Money

Tom Hoge +10000 – lovely all-or-nothing

Denny McCarthy +10000 – automatic play on Bermuda

Adam Long +11000 – love the form

Hudson Swafford +15000 – has run hot here before

JJ Spaun +16000 – starting to find a bit of consistency

Kramer Hickok +16000 – bit of breeze will be ok with him

Mark Hubbard +20000 – gut play on 2021 form

Satoshi Kodaira +40000 – to make the cut

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me


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