After a great start to the 2011 PGA Tour season, which saw Jonathan Byrd knock off Robert Garrigus in a playoff at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the action shifts this week to the Sony Open.
There’s another strong field in place this week, although it’s looking more and more like the weather could be somewhat tricky, which will likely play a huge role in the outcome of this one.
But it’s once again time for predictions, so let’s look at several of my favorites this week, and then decide on who will take home the trophy on Sunday.
Here’s my five favorites:
Stricker is an obvious choice as one of the favorites, since he played well last week at Kapalua (T4), and is one of the more experienced players on tour when it comes to difficult conditions. It’s always hard to pick against Stricker, since he has started to become the model of consistency on tour in recent years, and given the way the weather could impact this tournament, there’s no doubt that he’s the overall favorite heading into the event.
I’ll be the first to admit that while I thought Kuchar would have a solid year last season, I never him to be as good as he was. He was simply on fire late in the season, and showed that he’s got the tools to be one of the best players on tour for many years to come. He had a Top 10 last week, and even though he’s missed the cut the last two times he’s played here, his game has gotten so much better to the point where we can throw that stat out the window.
Els has won here twice before, and that’s not something you can overlook. Sure, that was in ’03 and ’04, but anytime a player has won a course before, regardless of how long it’s been, he’s gonna feel confident. Els had a Top 25 last week, and it just seems like he’s gonna find a way to play well this week given his past success here.
It’s hard not to like Clark’s game, and I think he’s going to be in the mix on the weekend. He finished T17 at Kapalua, and he’s played well here before. Clark still has to be in the discussion of “best players without a major” and a win this week would certainly give him a lot of early season confidence that could benefit him once the Masters rolls around in April.
Speaking of rock solid players, Furyk bounced back with a fantastic 2010 season, winning him Player of the Year honors in the process. He’s played well here in the past, and this could be one of those grind-it-out type of events due to the weather that plays to the advantage of veteran players like Furyk. I expect another big year out of him, and it seems like a lock that he’ll play well this week at Waialae.
And the winner is…..
It’s no fun to pick the favorite all the time, but you just get the feel that this could be the week for Stricker. Had he struggled last week, then obviously he wouldn’t be the choice here, but given the start that he had to the season in Kapalua, there’s a reason why he’s the favorite heading into this event.
While I do think Kuchar will be right around the top of the leaderboard on Sunday, Stricker is who I think gets the win.
Who do you think wins this week at Waialae?
Tags: Ernie Els Golf Golf Picks Golf Predictions Hyundai Tournament Of Champions Jim Furyk Kapalua Matt Kuchar PGA PGA Predictions Sony Open Picks Sony Open Predictions Steve Stricker Tim Clark Waialae Who Will Win Sony Open