January 7 2014
By PGATOUR.COM Staff
The Sony Open in Hawaii is the first full-field PGA TOUR event of 2014. Honolulu's historic Waialae Country Club has been the longtime host. The Seth Raynor design opened in 1927. The 7,068-yard, par-70 course is short by modern standards, but tight, tree-lined fairways require accuracy off the tee.
Russell Henley won last year's Sony Open in Hawaii in his first PGA TOUR start as a member. Past Sony champion Zach Johnson is in the field after his win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Two of 2013's major champions -- Masters champion Adam Scott and PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner -- also are in the field.
Here's a look at some groups to keep an eye on in the first two rounds (click here for full-field tee times):
Jordan Spieth-Russell Henley-Hideki Matsuyama: Henley plays with two promising youngsters in this group. Henley, 24, will be the old man in the group. Spieth, 20, got his second PGA TOUR season off to a good start with a runner-up finish at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions; the 2013 Rookie of the Year is making his Sony debut. Matsuyama, 21, is 31st in the FedExCup after starting his season with a third-place finish at the Frys.com Open. He turned pro in 2013, but will be making his fourth appearance at Sony. He missed the cut in three appearances as an amateur.
Adam Scott-Jason Dufner-Matt Kuchar: This group features half of last year's major winners. Scott is coming off a sixth-place finish at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, while Dufner finished fifth. Kuchar also finished sixth at Kapalua. Scott is making his first appearance at the Sony since 2011; his best finish at Waialae is T-2 in 2009. Dufner has never finished in the top 10 at the Sony; he missed the cut in his last appearance in 2012. Kuchar, on the other hand, has finished fifth in his past two appearances here, in 2013 and 2011.
Zach Johnson-K.J. Choi-Tim Clark: Johnson and Choi are past Sony champions, while Clark has come close to winning this event multiple times. Johnson, who opened 2014 by winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, won this event in 2009, but that is his only top 10 in eight Sony starts. Choi won the 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii. Clark has finished second in his past two appearances at Waialae, in 2013 and 2011.
Harris English-Jimmy Walker-Charles Howell III: Walker is No. 2 in the FedExCup standings after winning his first PGA TOUR title earlier this season at the Frys.com Open. English is No. 3 in the standings after winning the OHL Classic at Mayakoba; the 24-year-old, a college teammate of Henley's at Georgia, finished ninth at last year's Sony and won twice in 2013. Howell is a perennial contender here, posting seven top-10s in 12 appearances. He finished second in the 2012 Sony and third last year. He's 13th in the FedExCup after posting three top-10s in his first five starts of the 2013-14 season.