Daniel Berger … Little did we know that he'd shut it down after polishing off a T17 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP where he co-led the field in greens in regulation. But why not? It was his third top 25 in four starts and he already had fulfilled the terms of a medical extension that not only solidified his job for the remainder of the season, it also exempted him into THE PLAYERS Championship in March. Rested and ready to get back after it, he selected a sensible spot to do so in Waialae. He's 4-for-4 with a pair of top 15s, 15 red numbers and a scoring average of 67.44.
Brian Gay … The 48-year-old has seen it all at Waialae, so he won't flinch in strong winds. This is his 20th appearance. After opening his career 0-for-2, he's missed only one cut (2016) while racking up three top 10s and another five top 25s. It's the kind of consistently strong record you'd expect from a bunter on a short course that rewards accuracy off the tee (when the breezes are felt) and terrific putting. He's also off to a roaring start this season with a pair of top 10s among four top 25s.
Hudson Swafford ... With just five starts remaining on his Major Medical Extension, expectations are elevated that he'll take a serious bite out of the goal to fulfill its terms (129.972 FedExCup points) if not swallow it whole. A solo fourth would get the job done. Three of his eight career top 10s (in 158 PGA TOUR starts as a professional) have been logged at Waialae, including a personal-best T3 last year. He also has a T13 here in 2017 when he opened with a career-low 62. Short of the primary objective, a solo 21st-place finish would secure conditional status as a safety net with four starts to earn the difference and retain position.
Talor Gooch … Despite a sluggish summer, it was still impressive that he regained his card via conditional status last season. Fully exempt again, he entered the holiday break with five straight cuts made, including a T4 in Houston and a T23 at Sea Island. Now he can tap into a comfort level on the greens at Waialae where he overcame inconsistent iron play in his first appearance in 2018 with terrific putting to finish T18. For the week, he ranked ninth in Strokes Gained: Putting and second in putting: birdies-or-better.
Zac Blair … After one season (2017-18) with conditional status, he was without a PGA TOUR card in 2018-19, but his rebound as a Korn Ferry Tour grad is paying off early in what is his fourth season with fully exempt status at this level. With a T4 (Safeway) and a T14 (Mayakoba) among four cuts made, he's 51st in the FedExCup, position that projects to improve at Waialae. Two of his six career top 10s on TOUR have occurred here, including a career-best solo third in 2016. In his last 11 loops around the course, his scoring average is a sporty 66.45.
NOTE: Sleeper is a relative term, so Rob uses unofficial criteria to determine who qualifies. Each of the following usually is determined to be ineligible for this weekly staple: Winners of the tournament on the current host course; winners in the same season; recent major champions; top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking; recent participants of team competitions.