Sony Open Betting Preview
Thanks to the massive delays this week at Kapalua, we’ve got a quick turnaround for the next stop on the 2013 PGA Tour schedule. The tour stays in Hawaii, as they head to Waialae for the Sony Open. Before we get to the preview, I’ll take a quick look back at last week’s suggested plays.
- Ian Poulter (14-1) Finish: T9
- Brandt Snedeker (16-1) Finish: 3rd
- Rickie Fowler (25-1) Finish: T6
- Jonas Blixt (37-1) Finish: T18
- Johnson Wagner (100-1) Finish: T13
It’s tough to assess anything from last week thanks to the crazy delays at Kapalua, but overall, the results aren’t too bad. When I make my five picks for each event, I try to look for at least a little bit of value, and usually the last pick or two are deep longshots, hence the Johnson Wagner selection.
2013 Sony Open Fact Sheet
- Course: Waialae Golf Course
- Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
- Yardage: 7,044 yards, par 70
- Defending Champion: Johnson Wagner
- Thursday – 7:00 to 10:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Friday – 7:00 to 10:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Saturday – 7:00 to 10:30 PM ET (Golf Channel)
- Sunday – 7:00 to 10:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
Waialae plays shorter than most professional courses at just over 7,000 yards, but it usually presents a stiff test. As Rob Bolton of PGATour.com points out, the wind is usually a factor, as well as the exceedingly difficult to hit fairways. Last season, players were only hitting the fairway roughly 46% of the time. For comparison sake, last week in tough conditions, Dustin Johnson was last in fairways hit at roughly 53%. On the flip side, Waialae presents some the easier par-5’s on tour, so those who can take advantage, preferably from the fairways, will likely be able to pick up the most strokes. There are two other stats to keep in mind as well when talking about potential winners this week:
Stat for the Sony. 9 of the past 14 Sony winners had played in the Tournament of Champions the previous week.—
Dave Tindall (@DaveTindallgolf) January 08, 2013
Sony Open: since 1996, every winner had played at Waialae at least twice beforehand. Only rookie winner in 47-year history: Lietzke (1977).—
Stanley (@Golf_Stats) January 08, 2013
For what it’s worth, there are 26 players in the field this week that satisfy both of those criteria.
Dustin Johnson is the heavy favourite this week, coming in at 10-1 in most places, with Keegan Bradley around 17-1. Of course, Johnson won the first event on the 2013 PGA Tour calendar just yesterday, coming away victorious at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He’s probably the most talented man in the field, but winning in back-to-back weeks is a rarity in the pro game. In the last ten years, only six players (McIlroy, Woods, Mickelson, Singh, Els, Perry) have pulled it off. It’s understandable that he’s listed where he is, but I have a tough time believing that he gets it done in back-to-back weeks.
My suggested plays are listed below. All each-way, with the exception of the first one.
Keegan Bradley (Best Odds 17-1 at Bet365)
I’ve been trying to figure out why Bradley’s listed so low on many power rankings for this week, and aside from an injury that I’m unaware of, it doesn’t make sense to me. He had a good week at Kapalua, and he’s one of the most talented players in the world. He hits enough fairways, is one of the best putters in the game and usually takes advantage of the par-5’s. His T-13 last year was decent, and he should be in position to make the next step.
Charles Howell III (Best Odds 23-1 at Bet365)
I thought last year was going to be the breakout season for Chucky Three Sticks, but it didn’t really materialize. I’m backing him again to start 2013, but it’s mostly because of his ridiculously good track record at Waialae. In 11 events, Howell has six top-5’s, with three of those happening in the last four years. Howell’s big wish to qualify for the Masters in his native Georgia, and picking up a win here would get him that spot.
Zach Johnson (Best Odds 24-1 at Betfair)
Johnson’s a former winner of the event with a 15-under par triumph back in 2009, but he hasn’t had much success here outside of that. However, he should have gotten a little rust off by playing at Kapalua and his combination of hitting fairways and making putts is rivaled by very few players.
Tim Clark (Best Odds 26-1 at bwin)
The little South African struggled in the early part of 2012 due to his recovery from elbow surgery, but he had a strong finish to the season with five top-15 finishes from June on. He usually plays well at Waialae, with three top-25 appearances, including a T-2 in 2011. We mentioned above how hitting the fairway is of the utmost importance at Waialae. Since 2009, Clark hasn’t ranked lower than 4th in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour.
Graham DeLaet (Best Odds 151-1 at SkyBet)
Obviously we’re looking at really long odds here, but DeLaet is getting zero respect. He’s had two decent finishes at Waialae in the past, with a T-25 and a T-29. His opening round 63 last year gave him the first round lead before failing to keep it up over the final three days. He had three top-10’s last season, and that 63 tells me that he can go low on this course. At 151-1, there’s too much value to ignore on an each-way bet.