Sony Open in Hawaii preview

The PGA Tour remains in Hawaii this week after the exciting Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Russell Henley defends the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club.

A strong field will assemble at Waialae as many of those who competed at Kapalua have stayed on for this event. Jason Dufner, Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar are among those who’ll tee it up.

The Hawaiian Open has been contested at Waialae CC since 1965 and the list of winners is impressive – Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh have all lifted the trophy.

Last year, Tour rookie Russell Henley produced three superb rounds of 63 and one of 67 to set a tournament scoring record of 256: 24-under-par. He won by three from Tim Clark.

Opened for play in 1927, the course at Waialae has a long and distinguished history. The layout was originally by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks though Desmond Muirhead completed a redesign in 1990. It’s a course where the wind is often a significant factor.

Venue: Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: Jan 9-12
Course stats: par 70, 7,044 yards
Purse: $5,600,000 Winner: $1,008,000
Defending Sony Open Champion: Russell Henley (-24)

TV Coverage:

Thursday 9 – Sky Sports 4 from midnight
Friday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from midnight
Saturday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from midnight
Sunday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from midnight

Player Watch:

Jordan Spieth – after a superb performance at Kapalua, the youngster looks like he’s going to step up another level in 2014. Victory here would be a significant move in that direction.

Charles Howell III
– He has a great record at Waialae with seven top-five finishes including second places in 2007 and 2012. He’s never won here but this could be the year.

Zach Johnson – An extremely consistent performer, Johnson will feed of a fine victory at Kapalua last week.

Key hole: 1st. Modelled by course architect Seth Raynor on the Road Hole at St Andrews, this hole used to be a par 5. At 488 yards to a shallow green protected by a huge bunker, it now plays to an average of almost 4.5.

Skills required
: Driving accuracy. This is one of the tightest courses on the PGA Tour schedule, regularly ranking in the top-10 of most difficult fairways to find on the circuit. The greens are tough to hold when not playing in from the short stuff so finding the shortest cut will be crucial for success this week. The wind will also be a factor.