The PGA Tour remains in Hawaii this week for the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club. Zach Johnson defends the title but a strong field has assembled to challenge him.
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. It’s a course where the wind is often a significant factor.
Last season, Johnson played four superb rounds of golf to finish on a total of 15-under-par – two clear of David Toms and Adam Scott.
This is a course that tends to suit the more experienced campaigners. Since Paul Stankowski took the title in 1997 at the age of 27, nobody under the age of 30 has lifted the trophy.
Venue: Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: Jan 14 -17
Course stats: par 70, 7,068 yards
Purse: $5,500,000 Winner: $990,000
Defending Champion: Zach Johnson (-15)
Friday 15 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 12am
Saturday 16 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 12am
Sunday 17 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 12am then Sky Sports 1 from 11.30pm
Zach Johnson – The defending champion’s all-round game seems perfectly suited to the course at Waialae. He played some reasonable golf last week in Kapalua and will look to build on that.
Robert Allenby – The Australian enjoyed a fantastic end to 2009 winning the Nedbank Challenge and the Australian PGA. After the Christmas break, he’ll aim to continue in that rich vein of form.
Rory Sabbatini – Last year Johnson used a great weekend at Kapalua as a springboard for success at Waialae. Sabbatini finished with a 63 last week to climb into second spot, he’ll hope to follow in Johnson’s footsteps.
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 480 yards to a shallow green protected by a huge bunker, it now plays to an average of almost 4.5. In 2009, the hole witnessed just 19 birdies.
Skills required: Solid all round game. Of 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-under 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.