Sony Open preview, picks + predictions, plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #HowDoYouSpellWaialae

The PGA Tour stays in the Aloha state this week, just jumping islands over to Oahu for the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club.  Measuring at just 7,044 yards from the tips, the par 70 is a refreshing stop on the early season calendar, where distance isn’t necessarily king.  In fact, I can recall numerous times in past telecasts where the announcers were firm in their statements saying that excessive distance at Waialae can actually hurt you- wait, hurt you?  How can distance hurt you?  Ah yes, by blasting the ball through the sharp doglegs and continually short-siding oneself, that’s how.

Point further proven that distance isn’t a pre-requisite to victory at Waialae as the list of past champions since ’05 is- Russell Henley, Johnson Wagner, Mark Wilson, Ryan Palmer, Zach Johnson, KJ Choi, Paul Goydos and David Toms.  Not exactly your list of Bronx Bombers there, but rather a list of players who make up for their lack of distance by keeping it in the short grass and managing their games precisely well all the way through the bag.

This week’s field has more than a handful of top players in it, including- Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner- in addition to a whole host of newcomers.

So, without further ado, let’s hop into some picks:

LOCKZILLAS

Charles Howell III
Charles Howell III
– This career underachiever has a mega love affair with Waialae, as he has a whopping seven top five finishes on the track, yet no wins.  His fall season was extra salty good with consecutive finishes of t-5th, t-7th, t-27th and t-6th to round out the calendar year.  Expect him to be in contention yet again this week.

Harris English
Harris English
– Won the final tourney on the PGA Tour fall portion of the schedule at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba and followed it up with a steady and solid t-11th at Kapalua.  Finished t-9th here last year including a career low 62 in the third round.  A lock for a top 15 finish or better this week.

SEMI-FLIER

Matt Every
Matt Every
– This pot smoking gooseball was the story of the ’12 Sony Open, leading most of the week until he ultimately faded on Sunday to a t-6th finish.  Had a t-7th at the McGladrey in the fall and always seems to sneak his way up the leaderboard.  Call it a gut feeling for a good week during his first start as a 30-year-old.

*Also keep an eye on Chris Stroud this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth– I very well may eat my words here as Jordan undoubtedly and obviously is an extreme talent, but a first-timer at this quirky track combined with somewhat of a disappointment coming up just one stroke short last week at Kapalua = major letdown this week.  Wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Jordan either miss the cut or barely squeak his way into the week never in contention.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK

John Senden
John Senden
– This ball strikin’ Jesse was astonishingly top 10-less in all of 2013, but following a t-4th at the McGladrey Classic and a solo 3rd at the Aussie Open, he’s clearly back on his game.  Few Tour venues scream his name better than Waialae, so expect a solid top 10 finish to start the season this week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

Comments

  1. Good to see you pickin’ em again, and glad golf is back!!

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