Dates: January 11-17, 2016
Where: Waialae Country Club; Honolulu, Hawaii
Field: 144; Format: 72-hole stroke play
Defending Champion: Jimmy Walker
Purse: $5,800,000; Winner’s Share: $1,044,000
Jimmy Walker seeking third consecutive Sony Open in Hawaii title
- Jimmy Walker is seeking to become the first player to win three consecutive Sony Open in Hawaii titles. He is one of four players with back-to-back wins at the event – Hubert Green (1978-79), Corey Pavin (1986-87), Ernie Els (2003-04), Walker (2014-15).
- This season will mark Walker’s 10th start at the Sony Open in Hawaii. In addition to his two wins, his other top-10 finish was a fourth place finish in 2011.
- Walker’s final-round 7-under 63 a year ago was good for a tournament-record nine-stroke win. The previous record for largest margin of victory, seven strokes, belonged to Paul Azinger (2000) and John Huston (1998).
- Walker’s 23-under 257 winning total in 2015 was one stroke shy of the tournament record of 256, belonging to 2013 champion Russell Henley.
- Walker’s closing 36-hole score of 15-under 125 last season supplanted the previous-best of 126 at the Sony Open in Hawaii, posted by David Toms en route to his 2006 victory.
- Walker became the first player to lose a playoff one week (Hyundai Tournament of Champions) and win the next since Kyle Stanley at the 2012 Farmers Insurance Open (P2) and Waste Management Phoenix Open (1st).
- With his final-round 63, Walker extended his streak of rounds in the 60s at Waialae Country Club to 13.
- Since 2014, Walker is 83-under par in Hawaii’s two PGA TOUR events (-43/Hyundai Tournament of Champions, -40/Sony Open in Hawaii).
- Walker extended the stretch of American-born players to win the Sony Open in Hawaii to seven. The last international winner of the event was K.J. Choi in 2008.
2016 marks 51st playing of Sony Open in Hawaii
- Dating to 1965 (there was no event in 1970), Waialae Country Club has the fourth-longest tenure (51 years) as a host PGA TOUR venue, behind Augusta National, Pebble Beach GL and Trump National Doral’s Blue Monster Course.
The Sony Open in Hawaii and the FedExCup
- The Sony Open in Hawaii is the eighth event in the PGA TOUR’s wraparound schedule that bridges two years with 47 official events. Over the span of 43 weeks, players vie to become the FedExCup Champion, which distinguishes the one player who not only performs well during the PGA TOUR Season, but also excels through the four-event FedExCup Playoffs, culminating with the 2016 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
- The 2015-16 PGA TOUR Season kicked off with the Frys.com Open and included seven events during the fall of 2015, all of which awarded FedExCup points. After a break (which saw Kevin Kisner leading the FedExCup standings), the season resumed last week with the traditional swing through Hawaii, with World No. 1 Jordan Spieth running away to an eight-stroke victory over defending champion Patrick Reed at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
- Every week is significant in the race for the FedExCup – four of the seven winners from the fall calendar of 2014 (Sangmoon Bae, Robert Streb, Bubba Watson and Charley Hoffman) qualified for the 2015 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and two others (Ryan Moore and Ben Martin) finished inside the top 40.
A closer look at the field
- 2015-16 tournament winners: Emiliano Grillo (Frys.com Open), Justin Thomas (CIMB Classic), Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions), Peter Malnati (Sanderson Farms Championship), Graeme McDowell (OHL Classic at Mayakoba), Kevin Kisner (The RSM Classic).
- 22 of the 32 (69 percent) players in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions field are scheduled to play both events, including seven players who finished T10 or better: Brandt Snedeker (T3), Padraig Harrington (T6), Peter Malnati (T6), Fabian Gomez (T6), Kevin Kisner (9), Steven Bowditch (T10) and Jimmy Walker (T10).
- Seven of the top 10 in the current FedExCup standings, including Kevin Kisner (1), Russell Knox (2), Justin Thomas (3), Graeme McDowell (4), Kevin Na (6), Emiliano Grillo (8) and Peter Malnati (10).
- Four players in the top 20 in the Official World Golf Rankings: Adam Scott (11), Zach Johnson (13), Kevin Kisner (17), Matt Kuchar (20).
- Players in the field with eight or more PGA TOUR wins: Vijay Singh (34 wins), Davis Love III (21), Zach Johnson (12), Steve Stricker (12), Adam Scott (11), Stuart Appleby (9), K.J. Choi (8), Fred Funk (8).
- Past champions: Jimmy Walker (2014-15), Russell Henley (2013), Johnson Wagner (2012), Mark Wilson (2011), Ryan Palmer (2010), Zach Johnson (2009), K.J. Choi (2008), Vijay Singh (2005), Jerry Kelly (2002).
- Eleven major championship winners are in the field, led by three-time winners Padraig Harrington and Vijay Singh and two-time winner Zach Johnson.
Additional Player notes
- Matt Kuchar has fared well in the Aloha State. Since 2011, he is 100-under-par collectively between the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and Sony Open in Hawaii.
- Vijay Singh will be making his 19th start at the Sony Open, with a win in 2005 among his four top 10s.
- Charles Howell III owns eight top-10 finishes in 14 starts at the Sony Open in Hawaii (T8-2014, T3-2013, T2-2012, T5-2010, 4-2009, T2-2007, T3-2005, T4-2002).
- Web.com Tour member Haotong Li, who finished T7 at the 2015 HSBC Champions, will play this week on a sponsor’s invitation. It will mark his fourth PGA TOUR start, with the other two starts leading to a T35 and T39 at the 2014 and 2013 HSBC Champions, respectively.
- Steve Stricker, who is making his first start of the 2015-16 Season, owns four top-4 or better finishes in 13 starts at the Sony Open in Hawaii (3rd-2010, T4-2008, T4-2007, 3-1996).
- Ernie Els (2003) is the only player to win the Sony Open in Hawaii and Hyundai Tournament of Champions back-to-back in the same season.\
- en of last 17 Sony Open winners have played the week prior at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
- The last player to record his first PGA TOUR victory at the Sony Open was Russell Henley (2013).
- The last player to win the event in his first try was Russell Henley (2013); prior to that was Bruce Lietzke (‘77).
- Russell Henley (2013) holds the 72-hole record at the Sony Open, with his 256 breaking the tournament scoring mark of 260 set by John Huston in 1998 and matched by Brad Faxon in 2001.
- Henley also holds the 36-hole record at the Sony Open in Hawaii (14-under-par 126). It broke the record of 12-under-par 128 set in 1994 by Davis Love III and matched by John Huston (1998), Paul Azinger (2000), Brad Faxon (2001) and John Cook (2002).
- Nine players have made the Sony Open their first PGA TOUR win: Ted Makalena (1966), Grier Jones (1972), John Schlee (1973), Gary Groh (1975), Isao Aoki (1983), David Ishii (1990), John Morse (1995), Jerry Kelly (2002), Russell Henley (2013).
- Nine players have won each of the PGA TOUR’s Hawaii events at least once: Jim Furyk (1996 Sony; 2001 Tournament of Champions), Jack Nicklaus (1974 Sony; 1963-64, 1971, 1973, 1977 TOC); Lee Trevino (1968 Sony; 1981 TOC); Lanny Wadkins (1988, 1991 Sony Open, 1982-83 TOC); Paul Azinger (1991 Sony; 1990 TOC); Mark O’Meara (1985 Sony; 1996 TOC); Ernie Els (2003-04 Sony; 2003 TOC); Vijay Singh (2005 Sony; 2007 TOC), Zach Johnson (2009 Sony; 2014 TOC).
- In the last 10 years (since 2006), seven of the 54-hole leaders/co-leaders have gone on to capture the Sony Open in Hawaii.
SOURCE: PGA TOUR