This week’s stop on the PGA Tour, the Sony Open is going to be quite different than the 30 player, everyone makes the cut field that we saw last week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. While the climate may be similar (this even is also played in Hawaii), the tournament consists of a full 144 player field. Hopefully for everyone involved the weather decides to hold off this week.
Dustin Johnson will be making the trek from Maui to Honolulu with his trophy from the Hyundai TOC, but we have year to hear if his rumored girlfriend, Paulina Gretzky is making the trip with him. Some of the other golfers that are likely to get a lot of press this week include Keegan Bradley, Bud Cauley, Matt Kuchar, Jonas Blixt and Kevin Na.
One of the things that I will be keeping an eye on will be the performances of Cauley and Blixt, along with the other young golfers that broke out last year. It’s one thing to perform well as an underdog when nobody is expecting you to have an impact. It’s another thing entirely to have put together an entire season of solid golf and have to live up to the expectations that build during the offseason.
We are going to find out a great deal about these guys in their first few tournaments of the year. I’m not saying that they have to win to prove themselves, but stringing together a few quality starts will be key for their confidence. Their first few starts will definitely set the tone for their seasons, and it’s more important for them to get off to a hot start than for more experienced veterans.
A lot of the experts are hitching their wagons to Kuchar this week. While I think he will play well, I don’t have him penciled in as my winner. My money is on Mark Wilson. He finished last week in a tie for 11th place last week and won this event in 2011. Wilson is a notoriously fast starter as well, with all of his victories coming in the first three months of the season.