Recap: Tournament of Champions & Sony Open Preview cover

Recap: Tournament of Champions & Sony Open Preview

By


For those of you who were digging out of the snow in the Midwest and Northeast, or those of us getting drenched in California, it was great/annoying watching the gorgeous weather in Hawaii. The football games were duds, so there was no excuse not to be focused on the first event of 2017.





NoteStream NoteStream

NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!

The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.

For a list of all authors on NoteStream, click here.




Read the NoteStream below, or download the app and read it on the go!

Save to App


Recap: Tournament of Champions & Sony Open Preview

For those of you who were digging out of the snow in the Midwest and Northeast, or those of us getting drenched in California, it was great/annoying watching the gorgeous weather in Hawaii. The football games were duds, so there was no excuse not to be focused on the first event of 2017.

The small field made projecting the leaderboard easier, and my choices did okay. Spieth (T3), Berger (T14), Reed (T6), Matsuyama (2), DJ (T6), Thomas (1) and Day (T12). My guys to watch out for in 2017 were very good. In addition to Thomas winning and Berger, Finau (T9) and Moore (T3) acquitted themselves well.

Tony Bowler / Shutterstock

My projected biggest disappoints for 2017 were mixed. Walker (T9) was okay, while Bubba (T25) was near the bottom of the pack.

Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama are on fire at the moment. It was a decent head-to-head battle, with both players looking great at times, while shaky at others. It still looks like Matsuyama would never lose if he could make his putts. He was not bad, but the three jack on 17 was a nightmare. Both are in the line-up for the Sony Open this week.

A review of past results indicates the Sony Open is likely to offer a lot of surprises. Many of the players will be rusty, while others may have readied themselves for a fast start. Good results in the Tournament of Champions do not correlate well with results at the Sony.

I think Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama are due for off weeks after the mental grind at Kapalua. That said, most pundits are likely to go heavily with these two.

My picks this week are 1) William McGirt, 2) Tony Finau, 3) Harold Varner, III, 4) Kevin Na and 5) Paul Casey. The two to watch out for are Jordan Spieth and Daniel Berger. McGirt could have won last week, if not for a mid-final round blow up. Finau looks ready. Varner, III played well in Hawaii last year, and seems to be hanging around the leaderboard on a regular basis. Na is a notoriously fast starter and Casey was playing as well as anybody toward the end of last year.

I like Spieth off his final round on Maui. If he starts quick this may be his week to return to the winner’s circle. Berger is ready for a break through.

There are so many good golfers teeing it up that may have been on the radar if this were later in the year. Justin Rose, Brant Snedeker, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson, Brandon Grace and Zach Johnson; not to mention Thomas and Matsuyama. Will Kevin Kisner regain his form? Scott Piercy played well here last year, as did Jimmy Walker. Can Fabian Gomez repeat? This may one of the toughest events to handicap, so I would hesitate to wager heavily this week.

Weekly Observation: Soooooo disappointed in Jason Day, for saying he may play slower in 2017. I love the guy, but he is already hard to watch without hitting the fast forward button on the remote.

Paul Laubach is completely unqualified to provide expertise with respect to golf course rankings and design, however, he is a highly opinionated golf addict who believes everyone should be entitled to his thoughts. He has recently released Confessions of a Golfaholic: A Guide to Playing America’s Top 100 Public Golf Courses; now available in hardcover edition. Please visit tophundredgolf.com regularly for more (im)practical information.