Starts: 13th January 2022
Course: Waialae CC, Hawaii
Length: 7,044 yards
2021 Champion: Kevin Na
Overall Profit/Loss: +6.5pts
Pre-Event Bets: +3pts
1.5pts Each Way Kevin Kisner 35/1 @ William Hill (1/5 1-8)
1.25pts Each Way Billy Horschel 45/1 @ Betfred (1/5 1-8)
0.75pts Each Way Stewart Cink 80/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-8)
0.5pts Each Way Keith Mitchell 80/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
0.5pts Each Way Branden Grace 100/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
In-Play Bets: +3.5pts
16 January 2022 (+9pts)
4pts Win Only Hideki Matsuyama - 5/2 @ Unibet
1pt Win Only Seamus Power - 14/1 @ General
15 January 2022(-2pts)
1pt Each Way Charles Howell 66/1 @ SpreadEx (1/5 1-4)
14 January 2022(-3.5pts)
0.25pts Each Way Kevin Tway 300/1 @ Betfair (1/4 1-5)
0.5pts Each Way Kramer Hickok 175/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
1pt Each Way Chris Kirk 80/1 @ Betfair (1/4 1-5)
Course Designer: Seth Raynor
Course Used Since: 1965
Course Type: Coastal
Fairways: Average width
Greens: Small, Bermuda
Par 5's: 9th & 18th
Water Hazards: On 5 holes
Premium on: Accuracy
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
-A number of players have not competed since November or early December. However, some players played in the Tournament of Champions last week.
-Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
Kevin Na triumped with a score of -21 last year with very little wind. Previous winning scores were -11, -22, -17, -27, -20, -23, -17 and -24 (most recent first). Winning score fluctuates depending on the conditions.
Several players have described the Mayakoba Golf Classic and RBC Heritage (Hilton Head) as similar tests. The Greenbrier was also designed by Raynor and has several players who have done well at both.
Only one debutant has won at Waialae in the past ten years (Russell Henley in 2013). Side with those with course experience.
Five of the last ten winners had posted a top 10 in this event prior to their win.
Cameron Smith is the only player to have triumphed in the last 8 years that hadn't played at Kapalua the previous week. However, we should note that he had played in Australia in the third week in December so had the advantage of still being relatively sharp.
Three of the past eight winners had a top 10 at Kapalua and six of the past eight winners were inside the top 21 the previous week. However, Kevin Na finished dead last in Kapalua last year! Preference is for players with a top 20 last week or ones that finished the year well in 2020.
You often hear many players speaking of "carrying momentum from the fall" into the new year. Malnati and Kizzire who both started strongly in round 1 in 2021 and spoke of carrying their late 2020 form over.
Americans have dominated here, 11 of the last 13 winners were from the USA.
Re-cap: In 2021, there was no wind whatsoever. 2020 was extremely windy/wet and 2019 was slightly windier than 2021.
Sunny, max wind 7mph.
Partly cloudy, max wind 5mph.
Sunny, max wind 10mph.
Sunny, max wind 13mph.
We are looking for a player with high SG Approach and SG: Putting figures this week.
SG: Off The Tee
The last five winners have ranked 44-36-9-107-2 (most recent first). It's not essential to drive it well here.
The last five winners have ranked 5-85-7-4-5. Taking Cameron Smith's 2020 win out, every winner since 2017 has been inside the top 5 for this category.
SG: Around The Green
The past five winners have ranked 8-21-40-59-39. It's not a key metric this week.
Kevin Na ranked 23rd last year. The five winners before him all ranked in the top 6 for SG: Putting. It is a key stat to success here.
The opening six holes are generally the toughest section of the course. Four of the six toughest holes are in this stretch (holes 2, 4, 6 and 1 - in order of difficulty). The 2021 winner, Kevin Na, only played these holes in 2 under par for the week and 2020 winner, Cameron Smith, played this stretch in +2 for the week!
The two par 5s are must birdie holes, generally playing at least half a shot under par for the week.
Fast or Slow Start
It is possible to play catch up here. Six of the last seven winners were at least two shots back after round 1. Four of the last seven winners were at least 3 shots back after round 2. We can look for lively outsiders from a few shots back each round. Last year once again proved this. Nick Taylor led after round 2 by two shots, having started the day four behind. Brendan Steele led after round 3 by two shots after starting the round three shots back.
The final hole (par 5) plays like a par 4 and a birdie is expected. Eagles are possible.
Player Notes 2021
Brendan Steele - Q. Do you feel there's a little left from last year you're trying to finish off this year? BRENDAN STEELE: All it shows you is that you can do it around this course; you feel comfortable here with the shots and everything. Totally different conditions this year. It's been so nice all week versus last year; it was like you just had to really battle on every shot. You're hitting 5-irons from 160 yards and things like that last year.
Been a totally different kind of week. But I love the course and I love the shots and what it demands of you. It's always nice for me coming off a break because I'm excited to break and sometimes I lose that through the middle of the year.
Charley Hoffman - Q. With that being said, how do you compartmentalize that, knowing that you have to go pretty low?CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, you never know how much rain -- if it's soft, you can be more aggressive out here. So if the wind stays up -- obviously the wind is the protector on this golf course. If the wind is blowing, par is a pretty good score. If it's just raining and soft, I expect a lot of birdies.
Nick Taylor - Q. How big of an adjustment from Kapalua to Waialae? NICK TAYLOR: Yeah, it's a brutal walk, first off, but there's so many uneven lies, uphill shots, downhill slots, green are undulated and lots of breaking putts. There's really no comparison. I've always liked this golf course. It kind of suits my eye off the tee. I've driven the ball well the last couple days and really putted well.
Patton Kizzire - Q. Speaking of the golf course, when you won here, you were 17-under par; leader is 16-under now. What's the biggest difference if the golf course or conditions from when you won to this year? PATTON KIZZIRE: I think the wind was up a little bit more in 2018 when I won. Some of the greens were a little different. They have changed a few greens. I think guys are continuing to get better at golf.
Patton Kizzire - Q. Why do you feel so comfortable on this golf course? PATTON KIZZIRE: The bermudagrass, the style of golf course, I've just enjoyed a position-style Country Club, risk/reward style golf course with bermuda greens, and this is what we have here. The golf course is fantastic. It's in about as good of shape as I've ever seen it. I certainly do have good vibes here. When I get here, it just feels good, and today was a good start.
Chris Kirk - Q. Talk about the golf course and how firm it is right now. A lot of players have commented that it's fast and firm this year. CHRIS KIRK: Yeah, this is back to what I remember from my first number of years on TOUR. The last few years it's been a little bit soft but this is kind of how I remember it really playing and how I really enjoy playing this track for sure. I just love the 18th hole here, hitting that big, high draw around the corner.
Brendan Steele - Q. Going back to last year, do you feel like you have unfinished business at this golf course? BRENDAN STEELE: I mean, yeah, a little bit. Obviously when you come that close, you hope that maybe you can come back and play well and give yourself another chance. That actually happened for me at Safeway. I was, in 2015 I led for the first 56 holes and kind of exploded on the way in, and then I won in 2016 and 2017. I do have a little history of that, so hopefully that can repeat itself here.
Peter Malnati - Q. How did you find the golf course leading into today and what did you do to take advantage of it? PETER MALNATI: You know, I just really, really enjoy it. You have to control the ball a little bit more off the tee, which hitting fairways hasn't necessarily been my strong suit lately, but control off the tee has always been, so I think it really does suit me well like you said.
Webb Simpson - Q. You play really well on courses like this, old-school, around 7,000 yards. Why is that? WEBB SIMPSON: I love the opportunity to hit wedges and short irons into greens. I feel like that's always been a strength of mine. Even when I don't seem to play well, those still seem to be pretty sharp and I have a lot of those opportunities here. I love when fairways matter. This week, the rough isn't as long as normal but fairways still matter a lot.
Billy Horschel - Q. Course seemed to play firm and fast today. Is that your assessment? BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I haven't played here very much. It's only my fourth time in my career playing. Haven't played it in about four years. I think early in my career, it was always soft and slow, and you just never know with the weather leading up to it. And so it's the first time I've seen it this fast and this firm and I've always wanted to play it this way, and it's exciting to see it because I think this is a really good golf course. Makes you think off the tees and where you try to land it on the greens. The greens are still very receptive but the greens are fast and running out.
Stewart Cink - "I love coming back to Sony and Waialae every year. It's a fun place to start the year for me. It's got narrow fairways, smaller targets, and it feels like a good way to whip yourself into competitive shape really fast."
Players We Almost Backed
NOTE - These are players who we shortlisted for this event but ultimately didn't advise to subscribers. If you want to find out who we did tip, you can subscribe using the link below.
Jason Kokrak 50/1
Jason was a player we thought long and hard about this week but ultimately left him out in favour of others. A three time winner on Tour, he was awful last week at Kapalua but that's been the story for all his PGA Tour wins. Each time he wins he appears to do so from out of nowhere. He led after the opening day here last year, carding a first round 62. He was also one half of the winning team at the QBE Shootout at the end of last year. He also He's one we will be watching in-play.
KH Lee 90/1
KH was on our short list early this week but his price has come in to a level that's just too short for us to take. Available at 125/1 at the start of the week, his progressive scoring at Kapalua last week caught the eye. His driving accuracy improved each day last week and his iron play also improved by the end of the week. A 19th place finish at Sony last year was a promising effort and he has the potential to finish higher this year having had the benefit of last week's play.
You can sign up for all our tips for 2022 for only £349 by clicking the button below.