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.
Opened for play in 1927, the course has a long and distinguished history. The layout was originally by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks though Desmond Muirhead completed a redesign in 1990.
KJ Choi returns to Honolulu to defend the title he won with something to spare in 2008. He’ll be joined by an impressive field including Ernie Els, Davis Love III and Luke Donald.
Venue: Waialae CC, Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: January 15-18
Course stats: par 70, 7,060 yards
Purse: $5,400,000 Winner: $972,000
Defending champion: KJ Choi (-14)
Betting: Sony Open betting guide
Thursday 15 – Live on Setanta Golf from 11.30pm
Friday 16 – Live on Setanta Golf from 11.30pm
Saturday 17 – Live on Setanta Golf from 11.30pm
Sunday 18 – Live on Setanta Golf from 11.30pm
Davis Love III – He’s enjoying a return to form as confirmed by a second place at the Mercedes-Benz Championship last week.
Ernie Els – “The Big Easy” won this event in consecutive seasons back in 2003 and 2004. He looks to be on the verge or re-entering the winner’s circle.
David Toms – Another man on the comeback trail, he too is a past winner at Waialae. Could this be the week he re-finds the winning formula?
Key hole: 13th. The hole used to play as a par-5, but a redesigned forward tee means it can now be used as a supremely testing 475 yard par-4. A fairway bunker on the right has been reshaped to allow more room in the landing area for the drive. In the 2008 tournament this hole ranked as the toughest on course.
Skills required: Solid all round game. Of all the courses played on the PGA Tour, Waialae generally ranks somewhere in the middle for difficulty. It’s not a brute but it’s also not a layout that can be taken apart. Expect to see a winning score around the -15 mark. The winner will play strategically from tee to green but will have to enjoy a good putting week on the course’s notoriously tricky, quick, greens.