The Sony Open marks the first full field event of the 2014 calendar year. The Sony Open will be played from January 9-12 at Waialae Country Club in Hawaii. It is the second and final leg of the “Hawaii Swing” that starts the calendar year.
The defending champion is Russell Henley who set the tournament record with a 256 at the Sony Open in 2013. Waialae Country Club debuted in 1927 and since this tournaments inception, whether known as the Hawaiian Open or the Sony Open; it has only been played here. While a quality venue and a quality event only six of the world’s top-25 have made the trip including world number two, Adam Scott and world number seven, Matt Kuchar.
To see who I think can contend and win this week’s Sony Open check out 2014 PGA Sony Open Predictions and Picks, Jordan Spieth Can Win
Waialae Country Club will play to a par of 70 covering 7,068 yards during the 2014 Sony Open. While it would be false hope to claim any hole here is a pushover the fact remains that some of the holes here at the Sony Open will go farther in deciding the champion than others.
When the players stand on the first tee at Waialae Country Club they might, for a second, believe they are in Scotland at St Andrews. The 488 yard par-4 first hole was designed with St Andrews in mind and was converted from a par-5 to a long par-4. Like many holes on the island wind is the defining challenge as the players start the round. The approach to the first could be played with anything from a hybrid to a nine iron. The green is shallow and is protected by a deep bunker. It is a challenging way to start your day to say the least.
The fifth hole is a 466 yard par-4 that begs for the wind to be at the players backs. Luckily for the field the prevailing wind normally helps the players carry the ditch that runs out 226 yard carry off the tee. But if the winds shift that carry will be a sever challenge. If the players carry the ditch they will be playing an approach into a sloping and contoured green. If players hit the fifth in regulation and two putt each day they will most likely gain a shot or two on the field.
Players must take advantage of the turn this week. The par-5 ninth and par-4 tenth are both great birdie opportunities and need to be taken advantage of. The ninth will play to 510 yards and will be reachable by the entire field. It is not without trouble as out of bounds lines both sides of the fairway here. If players avoid the trouble birdie is in play. The 10th will play to a short 353 yards. It is the shortest par-4 on the course and if players can avoid the deep greenside bunkers then birdie is in play.
When the players reach the 17th hole they are welcomed to the “Fire-bird”, Waialae Country Club’s signature hole. Playing as a par-3 stretching 189 yards it is the most challenging par-3 at the Sony Open. The club of choice for most players will be a middle to long iron, not the club you want to hit on the 71st hole when in contention. The green at the 17th is protected by a large bunker on the left and deep concealed bunkers to the right.
If players are still in contention heading into the home hole they are greeted by a picturesque 551 yard par-5. The 18th is reachable by most of the field and will provide some drama to end the weekend. If a player can avoid the bunkers off the tee the prevailing wind will help the players trying to get home. the venue this week is sure to breed drama and beautiful photo opportunities. As the fans watch on Television they will envy the players even more than ever.
The 2014 Sony Open Field
Expand below table to see the whole field
|Allenby, Robert||Anderson, Mark||Appleby, Stuart|
|Aragon, Alex||Austin, Woody||Bae, Sang-Moon|
|Baird, Briny||Barnes, Ricky||Beljan, Charlie|
|Bertsch, Shane||Bettencourt, Matt||Bowditch, Steven|
|Brown, Scott||Byrd, Jonathan||Carballo, Miguel Angel|
|Castro, Roberto||Cauley, Bud||Chalmers, Greg|
|Choi, K.J.||Chopra, Daniel||Cink, Stewart|
|Clark, Tim||Claxton, Will||Collins, Chad|
|Compton, Erik||Daly, John||de Jonge, Brendon|
|Dufner, Jason||Duke, Ken||Durant, Joe|
|English, Harris||Ernst, Derek||Every, Matt|
|Foley, Kevin||Fritsch, Brad||Funk, Fred|
|Gainey, Tommy||Gardiner, Scott||Garnett, Brice|
|Gates, Bobby||Gay, Brian||Goosen, Retief|
|Goydos, Paul||Hadley, Chesson||Hahn, James|
|Harman, Brian||Hearn, David||Henley, Russell|
|Herman, Jim||Herron, Tim||Hicks, Justin|
|Hoffmann, Morgan||Howell III, Charles||Huh, John|
|Hurley III, Billy||Ikeda, Yuta||Imada, Ryuji|
|Ishikawa, Ryo||Johnson, Zach||Kawamura, Masahiro|
|Kelly, Jerry||Kirk, Chris||Kisner, Kevin|
|Knox, Russell||Kokrak, Jason||Kuchar, Matt|
|La'Cassie, Bronson||Langley, Scott||Lee, D.H.|
|Lee, Danny||Leishman, Marc||Leonard, Justin|
|Levin, Spencer||Lingmerth, David||Liu, Yanwei|
|Loar, Edward||Loupe, Andrew||Lovemark, Jamie|
|MacKenzie, Will||Maggert, Jeff||Malnati, Peter|
|Martin, Ben||Matsuyama, Hideki||Matteson, Troy|
|McGirt, William||Merritt, Troy||Miyazato, Yusaku|
|Muto, Toshinori||Na, Kevin||Nelson, Kirk|
|Noh, Seung-Yul||O'Hair, Sean||Overton, Jeff|
|Palmer, Ryan||Perez, Pat||Perry, Kenny|
|Peterson, John||Pettersson, Carl||Piercy, Scott|
|Points, D.A.||Potter, Jr., Ted||Prugh, Alex|
|Putnam, Michael||Renner, Jim||Roach, Wes|
|Rollins, John||Sabbatini, Rory||Sawada, Jared|
|Scott, Adam||Senden, John||Singh, Vijay|
|Slocum, Heath||Spieth, Jordan||Stroud, Chris|
|Stuard, Brian||Summerhays, Daniel||Svoboda, Andrew|
|Swafford, Hudson||Tanihara, Hideto||Teater, Josh|
|Thompson, Michael||Thompson, Nicholas||Tianlang, Guan|
|Todd, Brendon||Tringale, Cameron||Tway, Kevin|
|Van Aswegen, Tyrone||Van Pelt, Bo||Verplank, Scott|
|Wagner, Johnson||Walker, Jimmy||Weekley, Boo|
|Weir, Mike||Wi, Charlie||Wilcox, Will|
|Wilkinson, Tim||Williams, Lee||Wilson, Mark|
|Stefani, Shawn||Streb, Robert||Gomez, Fabian|
|Owen, Greg||Campbell, Chad||Ridings, Tag|
|Pride, Dicky||LaBelle II, Doug||Kohles, Ben|