The 2014 Sony Open is the first full-field event of the year as the PGA pros get back to their "grind" with a "grueling" stop at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Not only will the pros be enjoying the wonderful climate and breathtaking layout of this gorgeous course, but their games are treated to the course that proved to be the easiest par-70 for players last season, as it posted a scoring averaging of 68.9.
Russell Henley won this event last year with a tournament score of 24 under par. He was a rookie making his first PGA start, and that highlights one of the fun aspects of this event. It gives fans a chance to watch the new batch of PGA newbies embark on chasing their dreams.
The following preview expands more on some of the youngsters:
If the wind picks up, that scoring average will be far higher this year, but barring the added obstacle of bluster, we will see lots of birdies this week.
This tournament features a purse of $5.6 million with the winner cashing an oversized check worth just north of $1 million. There are also 500 FedEx Cup points on the line.
Take a look at the vitals for this event, and then I'll highlight some golfers worth paying extra attention to.
When: Thursday, Jan. 9, to Sunday, Jan. 12
Where: Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii
TV Schedule: Golf Channel has the broadcast for all four rounds from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET
Tee Times: Full Round 1 and 2 tee times can be viewed at PGATour.com.
Golfers to Watch
Who will finish highest?
Zach Johnson finished off last year in good form and is picking up right where he left off. Last week, he won the Tournament of Champions after he fired a final-round 66 to win the tournament at 19 under par.
Although Johnson has proven to be a streaky golfer over the course of his career, all the evidence points to him being a factor in this tournament.
Last year, he played in eight tournaments once the calendar hit July until the end of the season; he finished in the top 10 in all but one of those eight tournaments.
Still, last year Johnson finished 18th at the Tournament of Champions and then missed the cut in this event. Not that that is deterring people from hailing his chances:
Expert Picks: Zach Johnson is a must-have this week at Sony. Here's who else our Experts like: http://t.co/t3CuyRTUjA— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 8, 2014
After a breakout season, Adam Scott is going to be worth watching in every tournament he enters. He is the No. 2 golfer in the world, and he has a rare skill set that combines power and touch.
Scott finished tied for sixth at the Tournament of Champions and he looks ready to embark on another successful year. He certainly appears focused on achieving his goals:
Scott hasn't played in this event since 2011 when he missed the cut. He is in way better form now, however, than he was then.
It should be no surprise that Scott is the favorite to win this event at LVH SuperBook's oddsboard.
Jordan Spieth is coming off a remarkable rookie season. He picked up his first PGA win, three second-place finishes and nine top-10s in one of the best rookie seasons golf fans have seen in years:
At this point in his career, Jordan Spieth is outperforming Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson: http://t.co/sZPXPrA5ep— Golf Digest (@GolfDigestMag) January 6, 2014
The 20-year-old does not look ready to fall victim to a sophomore slump, either, as he finished second to Johnson at the Tournament of Champions.
Spieth did not have an opportunity to play in this tournament last year, but he has proven that playing in events for the first time is not going to intimidate him.
Spieth looks ready to have a season where he picks up multiple victories and contends for a major title.