Our tips for the 2013 edition of this event will be published on this page on the Tuesday before the event - bookmark this page and come back soon! Other Jan 2013 events: Hyundai Tournament Of Champions, Humana Challenge, Farmers Insurance Open & Waste Management Phoenix Open. In the meantime you can check out our stats pages for the Sony Open In Hawaii in our stats section.
Well the first week of the 2012 season was a booming success for Golf Betting System. In South Africa Paul Williams tipped up Oostie at 5/1 with an additional 12/1 EW return on The Goose. Our Predictor Models weren’t too shabby either delivering a 56/1 win double! What's more, we also had a record number of players in our FREE Punters League where are giving away over £1,000 in free Paddy Power bets throughout 2012. Click here to play Week 2.
So onto my main tips, and what does it take to win the Sony Open? Course synopsis is straightforward. Waialae is located on the coast in Honolulu. This tight, Par 70 track is only 7,060 yards in length. Accuracy off the tee and GIR% are absolutely key as the fairways are tight and lined closely by palm trees. Small errors of judgement lead to double bogeys. The Bermuda greens are extremely small and slightly faster than Kapalua. Fact is though that those who hit a high number of greens will naturally gravitate to the top of the leaderboard as par is a net-birdie on many tough holes. As you’d expect, Driving Accuracy and Greens In Regulation will be paramount, but don’t underestimate the importance of scrambling and putting required to get the job done this week in Honolulu. With low winds forecast scoring could be low, but last year’s event was marred by heavy rain which made the course easier to attack. 2012 should see faster conditions.
The first full-field PGA Tour event of 2012 conjures up a superb opportunity to trade on Betfair. Naturally it’s all about selecting the right players, but Ryan Palmer’s win here in 2010 at 250/1 show what is possible week-in, week-out in golf tournaments. I'll throw some names at you from a trading perspective: John Rollins at 80 who's a fast starter - in great touch right now and has performed well on technical Par 70s in the past like PGA National where he finished 2nd in 2009; Jason Leonard at 140 – an 8-time Bermuda green winner; Stephen Ames at 140 – 3 time Florida/Bermuda green winner and the perennially over-priced Paul Goydos at 240/1. Goydos starts fast (if he’s going to cooperate), won here in 2007 and finished 3rd at TPC Summerlin in October. This is potentially a very profitable portfolio in my view.
From my golf trading notes you’ll see that experienced professionals have a huge advantage at the Sony Open. Consistency, patience and bogey-avoidance are critical as is scoring on the 2 extremely reachable Par 5s. So this week I’m focussing solely on known PGA Tour winners who have previously performed well on Bermuda green tracks. A resume that includes wins and contending performances in Florida, Georgia plus trick tracks such as El Camaleon, La Cantera, Southwind and the Seaside Course
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Sony Open will be dominated by the Top 4 in the betting i.e. Stricker, Simpson, Zach Johnson and K.J. Choi...but the Texas-based Korean is so perfect for Waialae that I’ve chosen to cover him off at a compliant 16/1. The positives are far too numerous to document fully but Choi’s Top 5 at Kapalua last week is the final straw and reminds me very much of Zach Johnson when he won here in 2009. Kapalua is alien terrain for both players and Johnson played brilliantly to finish a non-stressful 6th on Maui before heading across to Honolulu and brimful of confidence and capturing the Sony Open. Choi, who has an impressive recent form-line of 5(Kapalua)-12(Thousand Oaks)-16(Sheshan)-1-5(both in Korea)-3(East Lake), is ripe for his 9th PGA Tour win. 5 of those 8 wins have been on Bermuda greens and the winning location list of English Turn, Copperhead x2, TPC Louisiana and TPC Sawgrass is just about perfect! 1st (08), 4th (07) and 7th (02) in 10 appearances at Waialae tells you that Choi is a must this week. RESULT: T38
Steve Stricker shot -18 over the closing 54 holes to win at Kapalua last week...outstanding play. Whilst that performance rightfully caught the media attention, Rory Sabbatini shot -12 over the same stretch and like Choi grabbed a very under-the-radar and, more importantly, non-stressful Top 10. Crunch Rory’s performance numbers and they tell an interesting tale. Sabba has always performed better on Par 70 golf courses and grainy Bermuda greens. Coastal courses aren’t a problem and although his game can be a little wayward, results on technical courses aren’t difficult to find. Throughout his career Rory has been a momentum player who has incredibly hot streaks so his recent improving form-line of 9(Kapalua)-2(Shark Shoot-Out)-29(Sheshan)-28(The Mines) excites me. It’s also true that Sabbatini’s hot-streaks end with a Par 70 victory and he duly delivered an 80/1 for my followers in March 2011 when he won at PGA National. So if we finally combine the South African’s busy winter schedule (i.e. non rusty), improving form-line and his Waialae resume that includes 2nd (06), 2nd (08), 12th (09) and 13th (11) and for me it’s a great recipe for success this week at a decent price. RESULT: T29
I’m a keen fan of Ryan Palmer and I’m sure that he is going to have a stellar 2012. As a tipster I desperately focus on selecting winners rather than prices and Palmer was always going to be part of my tips this week, but when I saw the huge disparity of prices across bookmakers – he’s as short as 33s elsewhere – I knew we were onto a good thing with the Texan who can only be described as a Bermuda monster. His 3 PGA Tour wins have all been on Bermuda greened courses – Disney (04), Conservatory (08), Waialae (10) and although the lack of double winners of the Sony Open does concern (only 4 players have won this tournament twice), I see no reason why either Choi or Palmer can’t add to that list. Palmer has a rare ability that marks him out as one to watch in the future as he is able to play well on all formats both tough technical tracks and courses where low scores are required. That’s borne out by Top 10 results across 09 – 11 at Montreaux, Waialae, San Antonio, Firestone, Ridgewood, TPC Summerlin, Palm Springs, Augusta, TPC Four Seasons and The Mines. Mark my words, Palmer is no journeyman and 7th last time out in Malaysia highlights to me a player that’s ready to hit the straps this week at Waialae. RESULT: M/C
I last tipped Carl Pettersson at TPC Summerlin back in October at 33/1 and he did a great job for us by contending and ultimately finishing 5th. My commentary included terms like 'highly motivated' and 'playing great golf right now'. Indeed Pettersson closed 2011 strongly and knew that he had a great shot at grabbing a Top 30 Money List position and the Masters and US Open invites that went with it. Ultimately though, the Raleigh-based Swede came up short so he needs to win early in 2012 to grab his 5th start at Augusta. A career that includes 4 PGA Tour wins at Copperhead (05), Muirfield (06), Sedgefield (08) and St Georges (10) highlights a player that thrives on tighter tracks, but more importantly shows an experienced player who isn’t afraid to win on tougher technical tracks. 7 appearances at Waialae have delivered 5th(10), 10th(06), 25th(09) and 4 MCs so our interest this week will go one of two ways! However I’m a believer that Carl is close to his 5th win and he’ll be motivated to maximise his return this week. RESULT: T2
Like so many before him, Slocum’s magnificent wins at Liberty National in 2009 and Seaside Course in 2010 and the 3 years PGA Tour exemption that went them proved to be his downfall in 2011. Slocum’s putter went seriously cold last season and the results died. However the Fall Series and a return to his beloved Bermuda greens saw a major step forward in his putting which resulted in 15th when defending at Seaside and 20th at the alien Disney drag strip. Slocum has always excelled at hitting fairways and greens and even last year he ranked 4th on both categories. Slocum’s game attributes and returning confidence remind me of Mark Wilson last season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Each Way return on a track that’s delivered a T10 & T20 in his last 4 appearances. RESULT: M/C
A de-motivated (results speak louder than words) and disillusioned Justin Leonard finally smelt the coffee at Disney in October and came out of absolutely nowhere to lead after 54 holes and finally finish 2nd to Luke Donald, in turn securing his full 2012 PGA Tour playing privileges. Now Leonard has 2 options: return to obscurity or press forward and start to rebuild a career that has delivered 12 PGA Tour wins, 8 of which have been on Bermuda carpet. That’s right, Leonard is filed under the Bermuda/Par 70 specialist category in my records and don’t doubt that he can contend at Waialae if he is motivated this week. The Texan backed up his Disney 2nd with a 4th at the Shark Shootout when teamed with Howell III and I’m of the opinion that Leonard is now on the rebound. After all, a win this week on a Par 70 Bermuda set-up where he should thrive and he’s back on the Major map. RESULT: 70th
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 19:25GMT 10.1.12 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
Our tips, picks and predictions for the 2013 edition of this event will be published here on the Tuesday before the event - bookmark this page and come back soon!