2018 Sony Open Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Following Dustin Johnson’s massive triumph at last week’s SBS Tournament of Champions on Maui, onward to Oahu we go for this week’s Sony Open.  One might think that because it’s another Hawaii tourney that the courses and landscape are similar; however, one would be quite wrong.

Host course for the Sony Open is Waialae Country Club, which in comparison to last week’s Kapalua Plantation track is pretty much a polar opposite, as instead of massively wide fairways and heavily undulating terrain, Waialae is a twisty, windy, quirky and “dogleggy” 7,044 yards, which is 400 yards shorter than last week.

Specifically on the “dogleggy” label, Waialae is one of the few remaining courses on the PGA Tour circuit where excessive distance off the tee actually can be a negative, as blasting shots through corners of doglegs and continually short-siding oneself will lead to a weekend off.  Bomb and gouge, think not.  Precision, accuracy and being able to work the ball both ways off the tee is the ticket to success here.  Just ask those recent past champion pea-shooters David Toms, Paul Goydos, Mark Wilson, Johnson Wager and Russell Henley how important distance off the tee is to their games.  Exactly.

My picks last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions were just so-so, highlighted by my Lockzilla Rickie Fowler having a solid week en route to a t-4th finish. Oh yeah, and wearing an untucked Hawaiian shirt on Thursday.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Rickie t-4th)

Webb Simpson
Webb Simpson
– After losing his father to Parkinson’s disease in November, no doubt it’ll be an emotional return to inside the ropes for Webb this week.  Webb is an emotional guy and I expect for that emotion to buoy his spirits this week into contention, especially considering his solid form in the fall and that he’s finished t-13th here each of the past 3 years.  Would not be surprised whatsoever to see Webb take home the trophy this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Cantlay t-15th)

Gary Woodland
Gary Woodland
– A very difficult year off the course for Gary and his family in 2017, but with some time now having passed I expect for him to be ready to rock right out of the gates to start this year, and what better place to do so than a course where his worst finish in the past 3 years was t-13th.  Expect to see Gary’s name early and often throughout this PGA Tour season.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Stroud t-11th)

William McGirt
William McGirt
– Everyone’s favorite scruffy fella has never cracked the top 10 here in 6 appearances, and I’m not expecting that to change this week.  An easy stay away.


Talor Gooch
Talor Gooch- 
Remember this name.  This Okie St product is ready to make a big splash on the PGA Tour this season.  Might be a bit early to jump aboard, but I’m willing to take the plunge.


Joel Harrington

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