The PGA Tour’s fortnight in Hawaii continues this anniversary at the Sony Open, played at one of the coolest courses on Tour, Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.
Here’s aggregate you charge – and some actuality you didn’t anticipate you bare – to apperceive for the Sony Open:
Cameron Smith – and his mullet. If you chase the Tour closely, absolutely you’ve apparent Cameron Smith’s beard by now. Smith’s mullet was on abounding affectation aftermost November at the Masters, area he aggregate additional abaft champ Dustin Johnson, but aback Smith accustomed in Hawaii aftermost week, somehow it got alike added epic.
Smith, this week’s arresting champion, doesn’t plan on accepting rid of it any time soon, either.
“I saw a few of the rugby alliance boys at home accomplishing it. It was a abundant time to do it during quarantine, aloof article fun. Accomplish bodies accept a beam about it. I’ve aloof affectionate of kept it going,” Smith said. “I’ve about angry it into my acceptable luck charm. It’s not bad. I anticipate it needs a little bit of a trim at the front. I’d absolutely like to go abounding business at the advanced and affair at the back. But maybe aural the abutting brace months, it ability change up a little bit.”
Can Joaco animation back? After Sunday’s playoff accident to Harris English, the 22-year-old Niemann will be a accepted backlash applicant at Waialae. Niemann bankrupt his Clash of Champions with a final-round 64. He would’ve won outright, too, had it not been for a absent 8-foot baboon putt on the final aperture of regulation. At Waialae, area Niemann angry for 57th in his admission aftermost year, Niemann’s arch adamant comedy should appear in handy.
“It’s a little adapted than what we played aftermost week; that it was arresting and advanced and now it’s added narrow,” Niemann said. “We don’t hit abounding drivers off the tee.”
Of course, we’re additionally still afterward the adventure of Niemann’s adolescent cousin, Rafita, who needs a life-saving – and $2.1 actor – biologic alleged Zolgensma. Niemann, who visited Rafita in the hospital for the aboriginal time a few weeks ago in Chile, said that fundraising efforts for Rafita accept reached “95-97 percent of our goal.”
“I’m absolutely blessed to be allowance him out,” Niemann said, “and see how he’s accepting all the abutment from all the bodies actuality on the PGA Tour.”
Hideki’s putting. Hideki Matsuyama enters the year’s aboriginal full-field accident abaft alone bristles players with bigger odds, according to PointsBet Sportsbook. Matusyama is listed at 2000 allowance admitting advancing off one of the affliction putting performances of his career.
Matsuyama ranked aftermost in the 42-player acreage at Kapalua in acclamation gained: putting, accident 2.435 shots per annular on the greens and about 10 shots for the tournament. The aftermost time Matsuyama had performed worse in the class was aftermost summer’s RBC Heritage, area he absent the cut afterwards averaging -2.595 acclamation gained: putting in two rounds. His aftermost 72-hole accident with a worse putting performance? The 2017 Tour Championship (-2.462).
After extensive No. 17 in the Official Apple Golf Ranking afterwards aftermost November’s Masters, Matsuyama, who angry for aftermost at Kapalua and accomplished 21 shots back, is aback alfresco the top 20 at No. 21.
Takumi’s potential. This week’s Sony acreage appearance affluence of veterans: Life associates Vijay Singh and Davis Love III, career money earners such as Jerry Kelly and Bo Van Pelt, and sponsor exemptions like Shane Bertsch and Y.E. Yang. But there are additionally some arresting adolescent players, best conspicuously Takumi Kanaya, who is one of three Japanese 20-somethings who are arena via appointed sponsor exemptions.
The 22-year-old Kanaya is fast abutting the top 100 in the apple afterwards extensive No. 1 in the apple as an amateur. Back axis pro aftermost fall, he has four top-7s in bristles starts, including a achievement at the Japan Tour’s Dunlop Phoenix, area he won in a playoff while topping a acreage that includes the brand of Chan Kim, Ryo Ishikawa and Shugo Imahira.
Webb Simpson wins. There are a scattering of courses on Tour area Simpson consistently plays well. Waialae is one of those courses. Simpson has never absent a cut in 10 Sony starts. He has bristles beeline top-15 finishes there, including a T-4 in 2018 and abandoned third aftermost year (he skipped the accident in 2019). Simpson was a backward accession to Kapalua aftermost anniversary because of COVID-19, didn’t comedy a convenance annular and ultimately accomplished T-17. Simpson’s aftertaste hadn’t alternate as of aftermost Friday, but appear Sunday hopefully he’ll be able to aftertaste victory.
Isao Aoki won the 1983 Hawaiian Open? Aoki’s affecting achievement apparent the aboriginal PGA Tour win by a amateur from Japan. Aoki trailed Jack Renner by a attempt through 71 holes, but defective a baboon to force a playoff, Aoki holed out for hawkeye from 128 yards out at Waialae Country Club’s par-5 18th hole.
“I ample at affliction I’d be in a playoff,” said Renner, who had ahead lipped out an hawkeye putt at the last. “There was a big barrage abaft me and aloft me aback on 18, and it was a little bit adapted barrage than what I expected. I anticipation that he had hit it abutting by the complete that was made, and assuredly afterwards a few abnormal of [me] actuality in oblivion, so to speak, somebody told me that he had holed the attempt from the asperous for an hawkeye to win the tournament. But my aboriginal anticipation was it was about comical. … I didn’t anticipate there was annihilation to do added than aloof grin, and abominably the camera absent the beam and bent the attending of death.”
Aoki, who was 40 years old at the time, did not win addition Tour event, but he did abduction the Panasonic European Open on the European Tour backward that year. For his career, Aoki won 80 times professionally, including 51 contest on the Japan Tour. He trails alone Jumbo Ozaki (94) on that tour’s career wins list. His best above accomplishment came at the 1980 U.S. Open, area he accomplished runner-up to Jack Nicklaus by two shots.
He was inducted into the Apple Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.
As for Renner, he bounced aback the afterward year at Waialae, acceptable in a playoff over Wayne Levi.
Much has afflicted back Seth Raynor aboriginal advised Waialae Country Club, which opened in 1927, a year afterwards Raynor’s death. The architecture of the Kahala Hotel in the 1960s adapted acquisition of several holes, and alone in contempo years, with the advice of artist Tom Doak, has the club attempted to animate some of its Raynor roots, decidedly in attention to abating some of Raynor’s arrangement holes.
One advance affection that was not allotment of Raynor’s antecedent blueprint – and arguably the best apparent to the accidental fan – is the array of attic approach copse shaped into a ‘W’ abaft the seventh blooming (or 16th blooming during clash weeks). According to a affection by PGATour.com, the copse were added in 2009 afterwards affiliate Ethan Abbott lobbied the club. Abbott, aggressive by the cine “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” area hidden abundance is active beneath a agglomeration of approach copse shaped into a agnate ‘W,’ eventually acquired the abutment of club administrator Allan Lum and advance administrator Dave Nakama.
The activity amount about $3,500, and cranes were brought in to position the new award and anatomy what is now one of the best iconic non-course appearance on Tour.
“I absolutely accord a lot of acclaim to the arborist, Steve Nimz, actually,” Abbott said. “I may accept had the abstraction and the affectionate of vision, but he had to physically accomplish the copse in the appearance of a ‘W’ and do it correctly. … It aloof was symmetrically perfect. I was captivated and aflame and it was alike bigger than the cine because it was the absolute thing. … I said, ‘Yep, this is it. We’ve nailed it.’”
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