Previews and pre-event analysis from Golf Betting System's PGA Tour and European Tour coverage
To read Steve Bamford's Sony Open In Hawaii Tips for 2014 click here. Follow Steve on twitter: @bamfordgolf
The Sony Open in Hawaii traditionally takes place in the second week of January after the select field, Hyundai of Tournament of Champions at Kapalua on Maui. Played on the coast at Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii, the Sony Open has a field of 144 players all gunning for the first prize of $990,000 but more importantly the 500 FedEx Cup points which will see automatic qualification for the end of season Play Offs and an invite to The Masters for those not already exempt.
Tournament Scheduling - The West Coast Swing
Waialae is the traditional full field season start for the PGA Tour every calendar year. Where the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua features only winners from the previous year, the Sony Open sees a mixed field of Kapalua starters, full PGA Tour members plus the "new breed" of Web.com graduates. In terms of scheduling Waialae sits within the West Coast swing which in January also features the Humana Challenge at PGA West, Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.
Waialae Course Details
Waialae Country Club will play as a 7,044 yard, par-70 this week. Designer: Seth Raynor, 1927; Type: Classical Coastal Resort (tree lined); Fairways: Bermuda grass; Rough: Bermuda grass 2"; Greens: 6,500 sq.ft Tifdwarf Bermuda grass; Tournament Stimpmeter: 10.5/11; Ranked 33 of 42 courses for difficulty on the 2013 PGA Tour.
Previous Champions: 2014: Jimmy Walker; 2013: Russell Henley; 2012: Johnson Wagner; 2011: Mark Wilson; 2010: Ryan Palmer; 2009: Zach Johnson; 2008: K.J. Choi; 2007: Paul Goydos; 2006: David Toms; 2005: Vijay Singh; 2004: Ernie Els; 2003: Ernie Els; 2002: Jerry Kelly
Winners Prices: 2014: Jimmy Walker 40-1 2013: Russell Henley 100-1 2012: Johnson Wagner 125-1 2011: Mark Wilson 80-1 2010: Ryan Palmer 250-1 2009: Zach Johnson 30-1
Pre-Tournament Key Summary
There was always a theory that the Sony Open was only won by short hitters who could hit loads of fairways. Well that's true to an extent but 2013 champion Russell Henley and 2014 winner Jimmy Walker obviously didn't read the script. Fairways are tough to hit in general, but Henley and Walker over powered the course from the tee. The Bermuda greens at Waialae are fairly small and flat, so ultimately hitting Greens in Regulation and making the most putts is key. Palmer, Wilson, Wagner, Henley and Walker all finished in the Putting Average Top 10 and had a track record of being able to putt on Bermuda. Winning score here is always dictated by the speed of the greens, but also the strength of the sea breezes, with -13/267 to -24/256 being the winning scores in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Below we track the results of Golf Betting System PGA Tour tipster Steve Bamford who has been producing weekly tips since 2009. You can also follow him on Twitter @bamfordgolf.