January 3 2014
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
• FULL FIELD: Sony Open in Hawaii
• COURSE: Waialae Country Club, 7,044 yards, par 70. Opened in 1927 to help entice travelers to the islands, designers Seth Raynor and Charles Banks borrowed liberally from signature ideas from other courses. The 7th green is bisected by a deep “biarritz” gully; No.17 has a “redan” green that slopes sharply back-to-front and right-to-left. Also, No.1 introduces features found at the famed “Road Hole” of St. Andrews’ Old Course, making it one of the toughest opening holes on the schedule. The Hawaiian Open has known no other home since debuting on the PGA TOUR schedule in 1965.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: Friends of Hawaii Charities, which provides funding for dozens of organizations that benefit Hawaii’s women, youth and the needy. The Sony Open has raised more than $13 million over the past 15 years, distributed among some 350 local charities.
• FIELD WATCH: World No.2 Adam Scott and No.7 Matt Kuchar join defending champion Russell Henley in a field that features six of the top 25 players in this week’s world rankings. … Scott and PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner are among participants slated to hop a flight from this week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions to play both ends of the Hawaiian double. … Guan Tianlang, who made history with last year’s Masters debut at age 14, is in the field on a sponsor exemption along with fellow Chinese amateur Liu Yanwei.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 256, Russell Henley (2013).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, David Toms (3rd round, 2006). Note: Davis Love III carded a 60 in 1994, before course renovations in 1999.
• LAST YEAR: Henley made the first start of his rookie season a memorable one, throwing up a trio of 63s with a Saturday 67 to smash the Sony Open scoring record by four shots. The Georgia native shared the lead with fellow rookie Scott Langley to start the day, moved in front with an opening birdie and cruised home with a run of five closing birdies. Only two players in PGA TOUR history have gone lower over 72 holes – Tommy Armour III’s 254 at the Valero Texas Open and Steve Stricker’s 255 at the 2009 Bob Hope Classic. Tim Clark finished three strokes back despite seven birdies in his final 11 holes, making up just one shot on Henley in that stretch.
• STORYLINES: Once the traditional coming-out party for the new class of PGA TOUR rookies, the Sony Open still welcomes 24 of the 25 graduates from last year’s Web.com Tour regular season and all but two who earned cards from the Web.com Tour Finals. … Charles Howell III owns seven top-5 finishes at Waialae, yet remains in quest of his first Sony Open victory. He’s been runner-up twice (2007, ’12) and tied for third on two other occasions (2005, ’13). … Hall of Famer Vijay Singh, who turns 51 next month, makes his 16th appearance at Waialae. He won in 2005, derailing Ernie Els’ bid for a three-peat.
• SHORT CHIPS: Before Henley’s triumph last year, the last player in his 20s to capture the Sony Open was Paul Stankowski, back in 1997. … Only Ernie Els (2003) has captured both ends of the Hawaii double since the Tournament of Champions came to Kapalua 15 years ago. … Nine of the past 15 Sony Open winners have done so after playing the TofC the previous week.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Saturday, 7-10:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Sunday, 7-10 p.m. (GC).
• RADIO: Thursday-Saturday, 5-11 p.m. ET. Sunday, 5-10 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).