Primer: 2018 Sony Open

From Maui to Honolulu, the first two weeks of January might be the best time to be a member of the PGA Tour. Those fortunate enough to be invited to the year-opening Hawaii swing enjoy prodigious paychecks, immaculate weather, and maybe the most striking scenery the United States has to offer – particularly in early January.

The first Hawaiian event, the Sentry Tournament of Champions, featured Dustin Johnson in a rout. At Kapalua, the World No. 1 player bested the limited, but world-class, field by a whopping eight strokes to capture the first trophy of 2018.

Contested at Waialae on the island of Honolulu, the Sony Open features a full 138 player field that’s not nearly as stout, with only defending champion Justin Thomas (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 2) ranked in the World Top 10.


Tournament: Sony Open
Dates: Jan. 11-14, 2018
TV Network: GOLF Channel
Course: Waialae Country Club
Where: Honolulu, Hawaii
Distance: 7044 yards, Par 70
Architect: Seth Raynor
Field/Format: 138 players; 72-hole stroke; 36-hole cut
Purse: $6,000,000
Winning Share: $1,116,000
FedEx Cup Points: 500
Defending Champion: Justin Thomas


Like its sister tournament of the Hawaii swing – the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Sony Open has been a part of the PGA Tour for over half a century.

Beginning in 1965, then simply called the Hawaiian Open, the first tournament winner was American Gay Brewer.

Corey Pavin

In the 50 tournaments that have been played since (it was skipped in 1970 as it moved from the fall to its early-winter slot), bigger-name winners have included Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Corey Pavin, Lanny Wadkins, and Ernie Els.

Pavin, Wadkins, Els, Hubert Green, and Jimmy Walker are the only golfers with multiple Sony wins – each with two victories. Interestingly, all but Wadkins won their two titles in back-to-back years.

Walker is the only one of that group in the 2018 field, so he has a chance to become the first three-time winner. Walker’s 2015 win was by a whopping nine strokes, the largest margin of victory in tournament history.

Justin Thomas 59

Last year’s winner, Justin Thomas, shot a 59 en route to a tournament record 27-under 253.

The Sony Open drew media attention last decade for giving sponsor exemptions to the LPGA’s Michelle Wie from 2004-2007. Wie missed the cut in each edition, but in her defense, all four of her appearances occurred under the age of 18.


Round 1: 7-10:30 PM
Round 2: 7-10:30 PM
Round 3: 7-10:30 PM
Round 4: 6-10:00 PM
All times EST. Golf Channel.

Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


The defending champion of the Sony Open is Justin Thomas, who rode an opening-round 59 to his second-straight PGA Tour victory, taking both Hawaiian titles. It was the third of five 2016-17 season wins for Thomas.

Justin Thomas

The then 23 year old followed up his record-setting 59 with a 64, and a pair of 65s to score a seven-stroke victory over Justin Rose.


1 Justin Thomas -27
2 Justin Rose -20
3 Jordan Spieth -19
4 Kevin Kisner -18
4 Jamie Lovemark -18
6 Zach Johnson -17
6 Gary Woodland -17
8 Charles Howell III -16
8 Chez Reavie -16
10 Jim Herman -15


2017: Justin Thomas*
2016: Fabián Gómez*
2015: Jimmy Walker*
2014: Jimmy Walker*
2013: Russell Henley*
*In the field


WINS: 2 – Corey Pavin, Lanny Wadkins, Ernie Els, Hubert Green, Jimmy Walker
72-HOLE SCORE: 253, Justin Thomas (2017)
18-HOLE SCORE: 59, Thomas (2017)


The field in Honolulu this week features seven of the top-30 ranked players in the world, headlined by No. 2 Spieth, and defending champion Thomas (No. 4).

Jordan Spieth

Other top-ranked players include Marc Leishman (No. 12), Brian Harman (23), Xander Schauffele (26), Kevin Kisner (27), and Daniel Berger (28).

In addition to Thomas, the Sony field also includes nine former winners led by Jimmy Walker (2014-15), Russell Henley (2013), Ryan Palmer (2010), and Zach Johnson (2009).

Some of the other names teeing it up this week are Keegan Bradley, Siwoo Kim, Jason Dufner, Tony Finau, Webb Simpson, and Bill Haas.


Sorted by world ranking

2Jordan Spieth
4Justin Thomas
12Marc Leishman
23Brian Harman
26Xander Schauffele
27Kevin Kisner
28Daniel Berger
37Siwoo Kim
41Jason Dufner
43Tony Finau
44Webb Simpson
46Russell Henley
47Kyle Stanley
48Zach Johnson
50Yusaku Miyazato
51Satoshi Kodaira
52Peter Uihlein
55Gary Woodland
56Cameron Smith
57Bill Haas
65Charles Howell III
67Wesley Bryan
70Jimmy Walker
71Keegan Bradley
73Emiliano Grillo
80Russell Knox
83James Hahn
84Shugo Imahira
90William McGirt
91Kevin Na
92Hudson Swafford
95Jamie Lovemark
96Chez Reavie
98Sean O'Hair
105Patton Kizzire
107Scott Brown
109Danny Lee
112Meenwhee Kim
116J.J Spaun
118Ollie Schniederjans
122Scott Piercy
128Austin Cook
136Jason Kokrak
138Luke List
143Harold Varner III
144Luke Donald
145Stewart Cink
146Mackenzie Hughes
148Daisuke Kataoka
155Robert Streb
161Chris Stroud
164Ryan Armour
173Andrew Landry
175Patrick Rodgers
180Jim Herman
189Chris Kirk
190Morgan Hoffmann
191Kevin Tway
194Brian Gay
200Ryan Palmer
208Brice Garnett
210Kelly Kraft
211Talor Gooch
215Ted Potter-jr
216Aaron Baddeley
220Brian Stuard
222Aaron Wise
230Billy Hurley III
235Smylie Kaufman
236Benjamin Silverman
239Rob Oppenheim
246Chad Campbell
250Jonathan Randolph
254Dominic Bozzelli
255Ben Martin
257Sam Ryder
258Matt Jones
261Sam Saunders
262Harris English
263Jonas Blixt
267Stephan Jaeger
268Abraham Ancer
271D.A. Points
275Richy Werenski
280Vaughn Taylor
282Nate Lashley
284Jonathan Byrd
287Zhang Xin-jun
297Martin Piller
301Beau Hossler
304Adam Schenk
305Nicholas Lindheim
311Cody Gribble
326Cameron Tringale
330Tyrone van Aswegen
331Michael Thompson
332Marty Dou Zecheng
333Michael Kim
339Kyle Thompson
340Seamus Power
344Tatsuya Kodai
346Blayne Barber
349Brandon Harkins
353Keith Mitchell
360Andrew Putnam
367Lanto Griffin
369Conrad Shindler
375Tyler Duncan
376Ryan Blaum
377Rory Sabbatini
381Vijay Singh
390Tom Lovelady
392Tom Hoge
402Hyungsung Kim
408Andrew Yun
419Matt Atkins
427John Huh
444Bronson Burgoon
448Greg Chalmers
456Fabian Gomez
473Jon Curran
480Jerry Kelly
486Ethan Tracy
502Troy Merritt
511Joel Dahmen
518J.J. Henry
535Colt Knost
562Steve Wheatcroft
572Roberto Diaz
615K.J. Choi
668Brett Stegmaier
677Corey Conners
688Peter Malnati
707Matt Every
729John Peterson
1039Mark Wilson
1435Omar Uresti
1925Sangmoon Bae

Credits: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images

Joel Cook

Joel Cook is Pro Golf Weekly's Lead Writer. He is a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America.

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