Sony Open preview: What to know for the week at Waialae

Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images Sport / Getty

After a dramatic start to the PGA TOUR calendar year in Maui, the Hawaii swing comes to a close with the traditional Honolulu stop for the Sony Open.

Cameron Smith will look to continue his torrid play from last week, as the Tournament of Champions winner headlines a field of 135 players, including Webb Simpson, Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, and Marc Leishman.

When: Jan. 13-16
Where: Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii

How to watch

Date Channel Time (ET)
Jan. 13 Golf Channel 7-10:30 p.m.
Jan. 14 Golf Channel 7-10.30 p.m.
Jan. 15 Golf Channel 7-10:30 p.m.
Jan. 16 Golf Channel 6-10 p.m.

Last year's result

Kevin Na claimed his fifth career PGA TOUR title in dramatic fashion by erasing a three-shot deficit with six holes to play. His brilliant 5-wood on the final hole to set up a birdie was enough to outlast Chris Kirk and Joaquin Niemann by one shot.

While Na claimed the tile, Kirk's second-place finish was arguably more meaningful. The veteran was playing the final event of his medical exemption and secured his TOUR card with a birdie on the final hole.

Niemann's tie for second was a repeat of his performance in Maui the week prior. The Chilean left Hawaii after shooting a combined 45-under over both events with a cool $1.368 million in his pocket.

Previous Winners

2021: Kevin Na (-21) over Chris Kirk, Joaquin Niemann
2020: Cameron Smith (-11) in a playoff over Brendan Steele
2019: Matt Kuchar (-22) over Andrew Putnam
2018: Patton Kizzire (-17) in a playoff over James Hahn
2017: Justin Thomas (-27) over Justin Rose
2016: Fabian Gomez (-20) in a playoff over Brandt Snedeker
2015: Jimmy Walker (-23) over Scott Piercy
2014: Jimmy Walker (-17) over Chris Kirk
2013: Russell Henley (-24) over Tim Clark

The field

Sam Greenwood / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The strength of the field in Hawaii took a hit this week after Bryson DeChambeau's withdrawal, but there are enough big names to make this a compelling event.

Twenty-three players will make the trip from last week's event to Honolulu and 17 of the world's top 50 are teeing it up this week.

With DeChambeau out, it's easy to see why Smith is the betting favorite. He set the PGA TOUR scoring record in relation to par last week and is returning to a course on which he previously won.

Featured groups (all times ET)

Group: Kevin Na, Talor Gooch, Cameron Smith
Thursday - 5:50 p.m.
Friday - 1:10 p.m.

Group: Marc Leishman, Sungjae Im, Matt Jones
Thursday - 5:40 p.m
Friday - 1:00 p.m.

Group: Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Kisner, Webb Simpson
Thursday - 1:10 p.m.
Friday - 5:50 p.m.

Group: Billy Horschel, Harris English, Abraham Ancer
Thursday - 1:00 p.m.
Friday - 5:40 p.m.

The course

Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images Sport / Getty

They may both have Hawaii addresses, but last week's Kapalua Plantation Course and this week's venue, Waialae Country Club, couldn't be more different.

Waialae is a relatively short, flat 7,044-yard, par-70 course that Seth Raynor designed. It's a stark contrast to the frequent elevation changes we saw in Maui. Without strong winds, Waialae is virtually defenseless against PGA TOUR players, with every single winner since 1999 shooting at least 10-under.

Justin Thomas showed just how low one can go in good conditions with a course-record 59 in the opening round in 2017.

Previous winners have also experienced success at other short, tight venues on TOUR such as Mayakoba, Hilton Head, and Colonial.

Betting corner

Cameron Smith +1,000
Webb Simpson +1,600
Sungjae Im +1,600
Hideki Matsuyama +1,800
Marc Leishman +2,000
Corey Conners +2,200
Abraham Ancer +2,800
Russell Henley +2,800
Talor Gooch +2,800
Kevin Kisner +3,500

Odds via ScoreBet

Sony Open preview: What to know for the week at Waialae
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