The PGA Tour makes its way to the capital of the Aloha State for the 2023 Sony Open this week. Taking place at Waialae Country Club, players will be faced with a much different task compared to last week’s Plantation Course at Kapalua. Measuring just over 7,000 yards and playing to a par 70, this Seth Raynor design puts an emphasis on keeping the ball in the fairway and playing positional golf.
Despite the contrasted natures of the two Hawaii golf courses, 19 of the 39 players from the Tournament of Champions will be making the short trip from Maui to Honolulu. Led by South Korean phenom Tom Kim, historically those who competed in the first part of the Aloha swing have found success in the second leg; 17 of the last 24 Sony Open winners were participants the week prior.
Jordan Spieth will be making the trip as well as he plays in the Sony Open for the fifth time in his career and the first time since 2019. In contention at the halfway point at Kapalua, he will hope to string together a full 72 holes at Waialae CC. Sungjae Im, defending champion Hideki Matsuyama and a slew of Georgia Bulldogs such as Brian Harman and Russell Henley round out other big names set for the second event of the new year.
Event: 2023 Sony Open | Dates: Jan. 12-15
Location: Waialae Country Club — Honolulu, Hawaii
Par: 70 | Yardage: 7,044 | Purse: $7,900,000
2023 Sony Open field, odds
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
- Tom Kim (11-1)
- Jordan Spieth (14-1): Spieth is the highest-ranked player in this field and will be making his first appearance at Waialae since 2019. Knocking off a standard Tour event from his playing obligations early in 2023, he has decided to stay in Hawaii a week longer than usual. Statistically, this is not a golf course that should fit his game as there is a prerequisite on finding fairways and playing positional golf — something Spieth doesn’t do all too well. Then again, he has found success at golf courses such as Colonial Country Club and Harbour Town Golf Links, both of which possess similar features, so who really knows.
- Sungjae Im (14-1)
- Hideki Matsuyama (16-1): The man from Japan has remained winless over the past year due to injuries and uncertainties around his game. Hopefully the return to Waialae can get him back to his usual ways as it has been a rough number of months for Matsuyama. Without a top-20 finish in a full-field event since his backdoor top five at the U.S. Open, the former Masters champion will need to rediscover his ball striking if he is to put up a strong defense effort.
- Brian Harman (20-1)
- Russell Henley (22-1): Henley’s main blunder in 2022 was his inability to find the fairway on the par-5 18th both in regulation and extra holes. Squandering a five-stroke lead over the final nine holes, the 33-year-old was unable to collect his second Sony Open title. Still, there was plenty of good which came of the week as he posted 23 under including a final round 5-under 65. Since breaking through at Mayakoba, perhaps the monkey is off his back and he can redeem himself this year.
- Tom Hoge (22-1)
- Corey Conners (22-1)
- Billy Horschel (28-1)
- Taylor Montgomery (30-1): He is the lone player who did not play at Kapalua to check in at or below 30-1 on the odds board. The last we saw of Montgomery, he was making an early claim on PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors. Posting six top-15 finishes in his seven starts during the swing season, the UNLV product consistently leaned on booming drives and ridiculously hot putting. He is currently 12th in the FedEx Cup standings and is presented with a nice opportunity to improve on that this week should he hit enough fairways.
- Keegan Bradley (33-1)
- K.H. Lee (33-1)
- Keith Mitchell (33-1)
- Cam Davis (33-1)
- Maverick McNealy (33-1): McNealy may very well be the best player on the PGA Tour still without a victory. After missing the cut in his first event of the season, the 27-year-old collected four straight top-20 finishes including a pair of top-10 efforts. He can run as hot as anyone on the greens, but his inaccuracy off the tee and inability to consistently strike his irons have caused problems. Whether he figured out his ball striking during his month off will go a long way not only this week, but also in his fourth year on Tour.
- Adam Scott (33-1)
2023 Sony Open expert picks
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