Golf Rankings for Sony Open in Hawaii
The Sony Open marks the first PGA Tour event this year to feature a fully-loaded field. The event is held in Honolulu, Hawaii (which means several players from last week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions will remain in the Aloha State for more than just the great weather). However, this course at the Waialae Country Club offers more challenges, so success found at Kapalua may not carry over.
Steve Stricker [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #97
Following a three-stroke victory in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Stricker is a great selection to bask comfortably under the Hawaiian sun for another week. Since 2007, he's recorded three top-10s in five starts with four finishes of fourth or better at Waialae. Any concerns over the herniated disc Stricker dealt with last year have quickly faded.
Charles Howell III [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #65
Since 2002, Howell has notched five top-fives in 10 starts at the Sony Open. From June through September of last year, he recorded five finishes of sixth or better in 12 starts. Howell’s hot streak aided him to finish eighth on Tour in scoring average.
Webb Simpson [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #67
After a T9 in his Sony Open debut in 2009, Simpson struggled with results of T46 and T77. Last year’s most consistent player is coming off a T3 in the season opener making those performances something of an afterthought. The thin field of talent this week only serves to make Simpson an even stronger pick.
Since winning the Sony Open in 2008, Choi’s finishes have declined from T12 to T39 to missing the cut last year. However, his recent finishes indicate that slide should come to an end this week. Choi is coming off a T5 in the season opener, which gives him three straight top-10s dating back to last year.
Zach Johnson [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #57
The 2009 Sony Open winner finished T12 in 2010, but slid to T57 last year. Johnson recently finished second to Tiger Woods in the Chevron World Challenge. In addition to being accurate off the tee, he finished 20th in All-Around Ranking last year.
Coming off a T9 in the season opener, Sabbatini figures to continue his Hawaiian success. Since 2006, he's finished as the runner-up twice in the Sony Open with two more top-15s. Sabbatini isn't an elite option on a weekly basis, but is certainly one for this event.
Although he struggled in the season opener, Toms could get back on track in an event he’s been quite successful at in the past. Toms won at Honolulu in 2006 and tied for the runner-up spot in 2009. Last year, he was third in All-Around Ranking and ninth in scoring average.
Chad Campbell [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #184
In five Sony Open starts since 2006, Campbell finished 13th or better on four occasions -- including a runner-up performance. Last year, he finished 31st in scoring average. In 29 events, Campbell only managed seven top-25s and just one top-10. Past history in this event makes him worth a look, however.
Chris Kirk [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #100
While Kirk finished T30 in his first start at the Sony Open last year, he’s coming off a T7 in the season opener. Kirk ranked 25th in All-Around Ranking for 2011 and 27th in birdie average. Despite an inconsistent rookie season, Kirk is an emerging young player worth starting.
Jason Dufner [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #64
Erratic performances were a staple for Dufner in 2011. In 15 starts from April through the Fall Series, he notched five top-10s and seven top-15 finishes, but also missed seven cuts. Dufner has one top-15 in five Sony Open starts, but is always a threat to contend (especially given this weak field).
The Swede missed the cut at Honolulu a year ago, but finished T5 in 2010 -- his second top-10 finish at the site since 2006. Including the Fall Series, Pettersson recorded a pair of top-fives and five top-20 results in his final seven starts, not missing any cuts. In 2011, he finished 23rd in both strokes gained – putting and All-Around Ranking.
Since 2008, Marino has finished no worse than seventh in three Sony Open starts. Last year, he finished with a share of second, ranking fourth in both driving distance and greens hit. Despite a lackluster 2011, Marino has been very reliable in this event.