With the Tournament of Champions on ice until next January, we have our first full-field event of the 2021 calendar year with the Sony Open in Hawaii. A handful of players that teed up at Kapalua will hang around and play at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu and many of those guys are listed up near the top of the odds board.

We’ll use odds from MyBookie Sportsbook with the full list of players below the body of the article to handicap this tournament. A lot of players in this field have not played in several weeks, so we won’t have a lot of recent form data to discuss, but a lot of players have a lot of starts in this tournament that started back in 1965.

Let’s take a look at the tournament and see if we can’t find some good prices for the event.

The Field

There were 42 players in the field for the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua and 30 will be in this week’s event at Waialae. Frankly, that should probably be the starting point for your handicap, as a lot of other players are coming off of significant layoffs and will have some rust to shake off.

Collin Morikawa, Webb Simpson, Harris English, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama, Daniel Berger, Sungjae Im, Joaquin Niemann, Cameron Smith, Abraham Ancer, Kevin Kisner, and Adam Scott all played last week and range from +1400 to +3300 at MyBookie.

Zach Johnson has the shortest price of anybody that did not play at +3300. Matt Kuchar, another player that was not in action last week, is also a past winner here at +3500. Johnson won in 2009. Kuchar won in 2019. Smith won last year at just 11-under, the lowest winner score since Vijay Singh did the same in 2005. Patton Kizzire won in 2018, so the last four winners are here, but Justin Thomas, who holds the course and PGA Tour scoring records from his 253 back in 2017, is not.

Course Profile

Waialae Country Club is a par 70 that has been the host course for this tournament since its inception. This is a much different course from Kapalua. It is narrower and much, much shorter, so driving distance off the tee isn’t quite as important as hitting it straight. The rough isn’t very penal here, but trees come into play and there are more out of bounds areas.

Winds can kick up along the oceanside track. Per DataGolf, the closest comparison to this course is Harbour Town Golf Links, home of the RBC Heritage. Webb Simpson is the reigning champion there. Other winners are CT Pan, Satoshi Kodaira, Wesley Bryan, Branden Grace, Jim Furyk, and Matt Kuchar, who was also runner-up in 2019. Simpson was runner-up in 2013.


Yay or Neigh?

This is our Horse for Course section. Whether you prefer course form, recent form, or some combination of the two, we try to present all sides the best we can.

A golf tournament is a pretty convenient excuse to go to Hawaii and we do have a large sample size for most of these guys. Using DataGolf’s Course History Index, the player with the most success at Waialae in this week’s field is Matt Kuchar. Kuchar’s results back that up. He missed the cut last year, but had five top-10 finishes and a 13th in his previous six starts. He did not play last week, but +3500 is a fairly big number for a guy with his success here.

Charles Howell III is the third-best per the CH Index at DataGolf. He’s played 42 rounds here and has seven top-10 finishes, with the most recent in 2019. He was 12th last year. Howell hasn’t missed a cut here in at least the last 14 starts at Waialae. He was runner-up back in 2007 and also 2012. He was third in 2013. He hasn’t had a top-five since then, but he’s played very well here.

Brandt Snedeker doesn’t have the same sample size, but he has three top-20 finishes in four starts. Webb Simpson hasn’t finished lower than 13th in his last five starts. Brian Stuard has four top-10 finishes.

Chez Reavie missed the cut last year, but had two top 10s and a top 20 the previous three years. Ted Potter Jr. has back-to-back top-15 finishes. Hudson Swafford has three top-10 finishes and a top-15 finish dating back to 2014. Kevin Kisner has three top-five finishes in his last five at Waialae.

Handicap & Picks

The comparisons to Harbour Town mean that this course is less about driving distance and more about accuracy. It also means that approach shots are critically important, as they are at most courses.

As far as some players to consider, Ryan Palmer is at the top of my list at +3500. Palmer was fourth here last year and won way back in 2010. He’s got three top-10 finishes and two additional top-20 outcomes. He was fourth last week at Kapalua. Another comp for this course is Colonial, where Palmer is a member. It’s fair to say he probably spent some of his downtime between events playing there, so I’d presume he’s seen a lot of similar shots to what he’ll see this week. I wish the price was a little stronger, but last week’s top-five finish took away a little value.

It is tricky to use season stats because we don’t have much recent form, so we are guessing a little bit in that regard of who will be sharp and who won’t, but Branden Grace is a great long shot ticket this week at +11000. Grace has only played here once and was 13th, but he was eighth in Dubai in the European Tour finale. He’s also a past winner at the RBC Heritage. He had a top-20 finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial last year.

Lastly, another longer price is Henrik Norlander at +14000. Norlander was ninth here last year and 20th three years ago. He’s struggled since the season calendar flipped over, but he’s generally an excellent iron player on approach.


Coverage of the Sony Open in Hawaii will exclusively be on Golf Channel this week.


Collin Morikawa +1400
Webb Simpson +1400
Harris English +1600
Patrick Reed +1600
Hideki Matsuyama +1600
Daniel Berger +2000
Sungjae Im +2200
Joaquin Niemann +2200
Cameron Smith +2800
Abraham Ancer +2800
Kevin Kisner +3000
Adam Scott +3300
Zach Johnson +3300
Ryan Palmer +3500
Matt Kuchar +3500
Russell Henley +3500
Billy Horschel +4000
Lanto Griffin +4000
Sergio Garcia +4500
Brendon Todd +4500
Sebastian Munoz +5000
Charles Howell III +5000
Brian Harman +5000
Emiliano Grillo +5000
Erik Van Rooyen +5000
Marc Leishman +5500
Patton Kizzire +6000
Jason Kokrak +6600
Talor Gooch +6600
Carlos Ortiz +6600
Chez Reavie +7000
Si Woo Kim +7500
Matthew NeSmith +7500
Keegan Bradley +8000
Kevin Na +8000
Russell Knox +9000
Mackenzie Hughes +9000
J T Poston +10000
Scott Piercy +10000
Brandt Snedeker +10000
Rory Sabbatini +11000
Cameron Davis +11000
Branden Grace +11000
Jim Furyk +11000
James Hahn +12500
Kyle Stanley +12500
Tom Hoge +12500
Stewart Cink +12500
Sepp Straka +12500
Austin Cook +12500
C T Pan +12500
Doug Ghim +14000
Henrik Norlander +14000
Takumi Kanaya +14000
Chris Kirk +15000
Charley Hoffman +16000
Michael Thompson +16000
Danny Lee +16000
Brian Gay +16000
Brendan Steele +16000
Matt Jones +17500
Bo Hoag +17500
Peter Malnati +17500
Jhonattan Vegas +17500
Brian Stuard +17500
Richy Werenski +20000
Kramer Hickok +20000
Anirban Lahiri +20000
Will Gordon +20000
Andrew Putnam +20000
Nate Lashley +22500
Pat Perez +22500
Hudson Swafford +22500
Brice Garnett +22500
Harry Higgs +22500
Robert Streb +22500
Vaughn Taylor +22500
Andrew Landry +22500
Adam Schenk +25000
Mark Hubbard +25000
Luke List +25000
Wesley Bryan +25000
Keith Mitchell +25000
Ryo Ishikawa +25000
Tyler McCumber +25000
Roger Sloan +27500
Xinjun Zhang +27500
J J Spaun +27500
Sung Kang +27500
Nick Taylor +30000
Troy Merritt +30000
Hank Lebioda +30000
Jimmy Walker +30000
Ryan Armour +30000
Robby Shelton +30000
Rob Oppenheim +35000
Aaron Baddeley +35000
Jim Herman +35000
Mark Anderson +35000
Bronson Burgoon +35000
Jamie Lovemark +35000
D J Trahan +35000
David Hearn +35000
Grayson Murray +35000
Chase Seiffert +35000
Ted Potter Jr +40000
Chris Baker +40000
Joseph Bramlett +40000
Michael Gligic +40000
Satoshi Kodaira +40000
Scott Brown +40000
Ryosuke Kinoshita +40000
Nick Watney +40000
Parker McLachlin +40000
Rhein Gibson +50000
Sam Ryder +50000
Fabian Gomez +50000
Kyoung-Hoon Lee +50000
Tim Wilkinson +50000
Jerry Kelly +50000
Davis Love III +50000
Jinichiro Kozuma +50000
Ben Taylor +60000
K J Choi +60000
Yong Eun Yang +60000
Kevin Tway +60000
Brandon Hagy +60000
Nelson Ledesma +60000
William McGirt +75000
Vijay Singh +75000
Mike Weir +100000
Rafael Campos +100000
Hunter Mahan +100000
Matt Every +100000
Michael Kim +150000
Bo Van Pelt +150000
Evan Kawai +200000
Shane Bertsch +200000
Martin Trainer +200000
Eric Dugas +250000