Dates: January 10-13, 2013
Where: Waialae Country Club; Honolulu, HI
Field: 144 (first full-field event of the season)
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Defending Champion: Johnson Wagner
Purse: $5,600,000; Winner’s Share: $1,008,000
Note: All four rounds will be played in threesomes off Nos. 1 and 10.
Johnson Wagner set to defend his Sony Open title
Johnson Wagner, who entered the final round of the 2012 Sony Open in Hawaii two strokes behind Jeff
Maggert and Matt Every, carded a 3-under 67 on Sunday to defeat Carl Pettersson, Sean O’Hair, Harrison Frazar and Charles Howell III by two shots. The win was the third of his career (2011 Mayakoba Golf Classic, 2008 Shell Houston Open).
Wagner played the back nine without a bogey in 2012 and was a collective 14-under on that nine.
Wagner posted all four rounds in the 60s in 2012, the fourth consecutive Sony Open champion to do so.
Wagner’s win came in his fifth start at the Sony Open (1-2012, MC-2011, MC-2010, MC-2009, T34-2007).
Wagner is seeking to become just the fourth player to successfully defend a title at the Sony Open in Hawaii – Hubert Green (1978-79), Corey Pavin (1986-87) and Ernie Els (2003-04).
2013 PGA TOUR Storylines
Structural changes to the PGA TOUR
For the first time in the FedExCup era, the 40-tournament official money schedule will give the season a definitive end at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, the fourth event in the FedExCup Playoffs. The 2013-2014 PGA TOUR Season officially begins three weeks later with those tournaments that formerly made up the Fall Series; those events begin awarding full FedExCup points.
Year seven of the FedExCup includes 36 events before the Playoffs, one less than 2012 due to the Mayakoba Golf Classic moving to its own unencumbered fall date in the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season.
The CIMB Classic and World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions become official events on the PGA TOUR (official victory, full FedExCup points, official money; winners qualify for Hyundai Tournament of Champions).
For the first time, the Web.com Tour becomes the path for the PGA TOUR’s 50 new membership cards. The top 25 players on the money list for the Web.com Tour Regular Season will earn cards but must play the Finals for positioning. The Web.com Tour Finals will determine an additional 25 cards, based on cumulative earnings in those events, as well as the positioning of all 50 cards.
Seven former Rookies of the Year are in the Sony Open field: Vijay Singh (1993), Stewart Cink (1997), Charles Howell III (2001), Ben Curtis (2003), Marc Leishman, (2009) Keegan Bradley (2011) and John Huh (2012).
23 of the 30 rookies are in the Sony Open field.
14 of the 30 players in the 2013 rookie class are 25 years of age or younger.
Six of the rookies have never played a PGA TOUR event entering the 2013 season.
Notables rookies include:
Scott Langley—The 2010 NCAA champion at the University of Illinois, the left-hander is the first former participant of The First Tee program to earn a PGA TOUR card.
Russell Henley—The second-ever amateur to win on the Web.com Tour when he captured the 2011 Stadion Classic at UGA one week before graduating from the University of Georgia. W on seven times during his college career at Georgia, tying the school’s all-time record set by Chris Kirk. One of five two-time winners on the W eb.com Tour in 2012.
Luke List – Vanderbilt graduate finished No. 1 on the Web.com Tour in Driving Distance Average (324.0 yards) last year and earned first career victory at the South Georgia Classic
James Hahn—W eb.com Tour graduate considered quitting the game last year before rallying to finish No. 5 on the money list with a victory at the Rex Hospital Open. Former Cal golfer worked for an advertising agency in his hometown of Alameda, Calif., earned his realtor’s license and sold shoes at Nordstrom while pursuing his dream of playing the PGA TOUR.
Luke Guthrie—After earning a combined $695,265 in 15 PGA TOUR and W eb.com Tour events during his “summer break” in 2012, the Web.com Tour graduate went back to the University Illinois in the fall for the final 13 credits for his degree in Business Management. Brother Zach stepped down as an assistant coach at University of Illinois to caddie for Luke full-time in 2013.
Patrick Reed—Successfully Monday qualified six times on the PGA TOUR in 2012.
Eric Meierdierks—Father passed away less than one week before the first stage of the 2012 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament, but Erik managed to negotiate all three stages to earn his TOUR card. Did not play collegiate golf while attending Michigan State University.
Progression of young stars
15 of the 37 different winners on the PGA TOUR in 2012 were under the age of 30, accounting for a total of 19 victories: Kyle Stanley, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan (2), John Huh, Rory McIlroy (4), Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Marc Leishman, Ted Potter, Jr., Scott Stallings, Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore, Jonas Blixt and Charlie Beljan (bold denotes in Sony Open field).
Top players playing and winning on the PGA TOUR
Entering the 2013 season, 28 of the top 30 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are members of the PGA TOUR.
Last year, 20 of the 37 different winners in 2012 were inside the top 50 in the Official W orld Golf Ranking as of January 1: Steve Stricker (6); Brandt Snedeker/2 (38); Phil Mickelson (14); Bill Haas (27); Hunter Mahan/2 (19); Rory McIlroy/4 (3); Justin Rose (18); Luke Donald (1); Tiger Woods/3 (23); Bubba W atson (21); Jason Dufner/2 (33); Rickie Fowler (32); Matt Kuchar (11); Zach Johnson/2 (37); Dustin Johnson (7), W ebb Simpson (10), Keegan Bradley (31), Sergio Garcia (17), Nick Watney (12) and Ian Poulter (16).
A closer look at the field
Of the players in the field, 20 won events in 2012: Jonas Blixt, Keegan Bradley, Ben Curtis, Tommy Gainey,
J.J. Henry, John Huh, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Marc Leishman, George McNeill, Ryan
Moore, Carl Pettersson, Scott Piercy, Ted Potter Jr., Webb Simpson, Scott Stallings, Kyle Stanley, Johnson
Wagner and Mark Wilson.
All 25 of “The 25” graduates from the 2012 Web.com Tour are currently in the field.
Players in the field with eight or more PGA TOUR wins: Vijay Singh (34 wins), Davis Love III (20 wins), Justin Leonard (12 wins), Zach Johnson (9), K.J. Choi (8 wins), Fred Funk (8 wins) and Mike Weir (8 wins).
Past champions in the field: Johnson Wagner (2012), Mark Wilson (2011), Ryan Palmer (2010), Zach Johnson (2009), K.J. Choi (2008), Vijay Singh (2005), Jerry Kelly (2002).
Six-time winner Dustin Johnson is looking to become the first player since Tiger Woods (1996-01) to win in six consecutive years straight out of college. In two Sony Open starts, he has finished T10 (2008) and T16 (2010).
Vijay Singh will be making his 16th start at the Sony Open, with a win in 2005 among his four top 10s.
Davis Love III will be making his 14th start at the Sony Open, with runner-up finishes in 1994 and 1999 among his seven top-10 finishes.
K.J. Choi, winner of the 2011 PLAYERS Championship, is making his 12th start at the Sony Open, with a win in 2008 among his three top-10 finishes.
Mark Wilson played the last 40 holes of the 2011 Sony Open without a bogey en route to posting four rounds in the 60s for his third TOUR win (now owns five wins)
Charles Howell III’s runner-up finish in 2012 (the 13th of his career) was his sixth top-5 finish at the Sony Open: 2011 (T2), 2010 (T5), 2009 (4th), 2007 (T2), 2005 (T3) and 2002 (T4). Having made the cut in nine of 11 starts in this event, Howell has never shot anything worse than even-par 70 in his 18 weekend rounds.
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.
Nine of last 14 Sony Open winners have played the week prior at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Eight 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 Tournament of Champions); Lee Trevino (1968 Sony; 1981 Tournament of Champions); Lanny Wadkins (1988, 1991 Sony Open, 1982-83 Tournament of Champions); Paul Azinger (1991 Sony; 1990 Tournament of Champions); Mark O’Meara (1985 Sony; 1996 Tournament of Champions); Ernie Els (2003-04 Sony; 2003 Tournament of Champions); Vijay Singh (2005 Sony; 2007 Tournament of Champions).
The last player to record his first PGA TOUR victory at the Sony Open was Jerry Kelly (2002).
The last player to win the Sony Open in his first attempt was Bruce Lietzke (1977).