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The Waialae Mai Tai: 2019 Sony Open Preview


We’re still in Hawaii. Bad news, the views aren’t quite as good. Good news, this is the first full-field event of the year on the PGA TOUR and we get more prime time golf, with the final-round coverage concluding around 10 PM Sunday night.


Last year was a historic year. We had a nuke scare and a coverage strike… on the same weekend! If you remember, people were diving into sewers after some dude hit the wrong button signaling that North Korea had launched a nuke at Hawaii on Saturday. By Sunday, we learned the golf production team was striking so Golf Channel provided the coverage via drones and a few cameras. It was hilarious and quite enjoyable.

The year prior, Justin Thomas opened with a Thursday 59. He went on to win by 7, finishing 27-under.

Waialae Country Club’s played host to this event since 1965. Peculiarly, no one’s won here more than twice. The last to do so was Jimmy Walker, winning back-to-back in 2014 and 2015 (including by a record 9 shots in 2015).

Michelle Wie was granted 4 consecutive sponsor invites and played in the Sony from 2004-2007.

In 1983, Isao Aoki became the first Japanese winner on Tour by famously holing out for eagle on the 72nd hole to win by 1.

Last year, Kizzire won over James Hahn in SIX extra holes.

The Course

PGA TOUR - 2006 Sony Open in Hawaii - Third Round

Waialae was designed by legendary course architect Seth Raynor. It opened in 1927, less than a year after Raynor’s sudden and untimely death. Unfortunately, the course was significantly reworked in the 1960s after portions of the property were sold off to build a new hotel. For the tournament, the nines are reversed so the players finish at Waialae’s dogleg left par-5 9th hole.

Notable Holes

7th, 176 yards, par 3

Sony Open in Hawaii - Final Round

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Not my clearest aerial but you get the point. A short one, but heavily-guarded. Great little par-3.

9th, 506 yards, par 5

PGA TOUR - 2006 Sony Open in Hawaii - Final Round

9th is one of just two par-5s at Waialae. Both are reachable for everybody. If you want to contend, you have to go low on these two.

16th, 417 yards, par 4

Sony Open in Hawaii - Round Three

You’ll see a lot of this one because of the “W” trees. Fuck those trees — tacky as hell.

18th, 551 yards, par 5

PGA TOUR - Sony Open in Hawaii - Preview Day 3

Reachable for the whole field, the 18th serves up plenty of drama. The guys have to play a significant right-to-left shot to keep one in the fairway, which will be tricky with firm and fast fairways. If able to do so, Justin Thomas had just an 8-iron in during his 59 last year.

The Clubhouse

Apparently it’s a hotel not a clubhouse?



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Not great, will make it softer and more scoreable.

The Field

Sony Open In Hawaii - Round One

Some of the bigger names: JT, Bryson, Spieth, Reed, Matsuyama, Bubba, Cameron Champ, Woodland, Zach Johnson.

And here are your betting odds.

Justin Thomas 13-2
Bryson DeChambeau 10-1
Gary Woodland 14-1
Jordan Spieth 14-1
Marc Leishman 16-1
Patrick Reed 25-1
Cameron Champ 28-1
Cameron Smith 28-1
Hideki Matsuyama 28-1
Charles Howell III 33-1
Emiliano Grillo 33-1
Kevin Kisner 33-1
Kyle Stanley 33-1
Paul Casey 33-1
Abraham Ancer 40-1
Brandt Snedeker 40-1
Bubba Watson 40-1
Matt Kuchar 40-1
Zach Johnson 40-1

Fore Play guys in the field: Justin Thomas, Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink, Bryson DeChambeau, Jim Herman, Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Patton Kizzire, Pat Perez, Ollie Schniederjans.


Winning Score

Last year, 17-under got you into a playoff. However, the three years prior it was -27, -20, and -23 that won. And it’ll be softer this year.

Winning score, 23-under.


Patrick Reed is 25-1 this week but I just have a feeling. With all the post-Ryder Cup drama, with Spieth in the field, it just feels like a tournament Reed would win.

Winner, Patrick Reed.

Dark Horse

Bubba’s 40-1. I don’t even like rooting for him and I saw nothing encouraging at Kapalua. But with Bubba, one person could say something nice about him on Thursday morning and it flips his entire attitude and he wins by 10.

Dark horse, Bubba Watson.

The Steven Bowditch & Smylie Kaufman DFL Award

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Not a good sign when they don’t have a pic for you.

DFL, Takumi Kanaya.


Thursday: 7-10:30 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Friday: 7-10:30 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Saturday: 7-10:30 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Sunday: 6-10 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Final Thoughts

Last year, Patton Kizzire joined the show shortly after winning the Sony. He’s a good, chill dude and had some funny stories from the week. Listen here to get yourself in the Sony mood.

Enjoy Waialae.