The Sony Open marks the first full field event of the 2015 calendar year. The Sony Open will be played from January 15-18 at Waialae Country Club in Hawaii. It is the second and final leg of the “Hawaii Swing” that continues after the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Jimmy Walker will be on hand to defend his 2014 title along with a cast of some of the world’s greatest players. Predictions in golf are a challenge to say the least but here you will find three possible win picks as well as a diagnosis of the key swing holes here at the 2015 Sony Open. Let’s get to it.
Dates: January 15 – 18 2015
Course: Waialae CC Honolulu, HI
Stats: Par-70, 7,068 Yards
Television Coverage (Times):
Thursday: Golf Channel 7 – 10:30 PM EST, 11 – 2:30 AM ET
Friday: Golf Channel 7 – 10:30 PM EST, 11 – 2:30 AM ET
Saturday: Golf Channel 7 – 10:30 PM EST, 11 – 2:30 AM ET
Sunday: NBC 4 – 6 PM ET, Golf Channel 6 – 8 PM EST, 9 – 1 AM ET
Purse: $5.6 million total purse, $1.008 million winner share
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. In particular, there are a few holes that come to mind.
When the players stand on the first tee at Waialae Country Club they might, for a second, believe they are in Scotland. The 488 yard par-4 first hole was designed with the Road hole at 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 as little as a short iron. The green is shallow and protected by a deep bunker. It is a challenging way to start your day to say the least.
Players must take advantage of the turn this week. The par-5 ninth and par-4 10th 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 green side bunkers then birdie is in play. Missing out at the ninth and 10th holes will cost players shots against the field.
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 2015 Sony Open. For most players, the club of choice 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. Par all week is a good score here.
The 18th is a picturesque 551 yard par-5 that 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 in two strong shots. 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.
Sony Open Top Picks
Waialae Country Club and the Sony Open will be a welcome test for last week’s players as well as the rest of the field starting off their 2015 calendar seasons. The ability of the tours best to being their family, relax and then begin their season is welcome to all. Who will win the 2015 edition of the Sony Open? Let’s take a look at three players that I would predict to be right in the hunt coming down the stretch at the Sony Open. Jimmy Walker is as hot as they come, Jason Day is poised to explode in 2015 and Charles Howell III is a player with a love for Hawaii.
|Jason Day||Some would say I have an unhealthy affinity for Jason Day and his game. To me he always feels like he is one round from breaking it wide open on tour. The 2015 calendar year is here and that round just might have come today at the TOC. Day fired an 11-under 62 that tied the course record. His last start at the Sony Open saw him finish T20 and there is no reason that the experience won't help him. He made 14 of 15 cuts last year including a win and two runner-up finishes. Expect a big year from Mr. Day and expect that to start this week in Hawaii.|
|Jimmy Walker||Jimmy Walker just finished playing in the Tournament of Champions, losing in a playoff. It was a back nine 37 that did him in. But, Walker did shoot 21-under in Hawaii already this week. Also, Walker is the defending champion here at the Sony Open while also carding a fourth in 2011. He has made the cut in all four events he entered so far this season including another top-10. Walker is looking to surpass his three-win 2014. Could it start this week?|
|Charles Howell III||Is it ppossible to be the horse for a course without actually winning there? If so, Charles Howell III is your guy. In the 2014 edition of the Sony Open, Howell finished T8. In his career at the Sony Open, he has seven top-5s compared to only six events where he finished worse than fifth. Howell has fired rounds in the 60s in 11 of his last 12 rounds at Waialae CC. Don't be shocked if he finds a way to career win number three this week.|
Who will win the 2015 Sony Open?
- Jason Day (31%, 35 Votes)
- Jimmy Walker (24%, 27 Votes)
- Other (24%, 27 Votes)
- Charles Howell III (21%, 24 Votes)
Total Voters: 113