2019 Sony Open picks, predictions, odds: Ranking the field at Waialae Country Club

Last week's Sentry Tournament of Champions was such a terrific way to start 2019 as Xander Schauffele blasted the rest of the field with a 62 in the final round to win by one. If this week's Sony Open -- which has a legit field! -- is half as good as that ending, it will be one of the better Sonys in years. Heck, if there isn't the threat of a missile destroying Hawaii this year, most people will probably consider it a success.

Let's take a look at this week's contest.

Event information

What: Sony Open | When: Jan. 10-13
Where: Waialae Country Club -- Honolulu, Hawaii

About Waialae: This course is actually a Seth Raynor design, and was built in the late 1920s. It's one of the shorter courses on the PGA Tour rotation, and you can see how it's changed over the years right here. Interestingly, it's a course that plays shorter now than it did 30 years ago

Ranking the field (odds)

  1. Justin Thomas (13/2): The quietest third-place finish in the history of PGA Tour events last week.
  2. Gary Woodland (14-1): It's as common as a FedEx Cup mention during a PGA Tour broadcast: A guy winning the week after he nearly won or should have won (both of which apply to Woodland).
  3. Bryson DeChambeau (10-1): The rise of DeChambeau from curious amateur with compelling odds to week-in, week-out favorite has been interesting to follow.
  4. Marc Leishman (18-1): Five top 20s, and he finished in the top five last week.
  5. Jordan Spieth (14-1): It feels like he's become underrated at this point, doesn't it?
  6. Charles Howell III (28-1): Waialae is his personal ATM. He's never missed a cut and has six (!) top-four finishes (but somehow hasn't won).
  7. Cameron Smith (28-1): Another guy that's easy to forget about. A top 20 here last season, and made it all the way to the Tour Championship.
  8. Patrick Reed (28-1): This is not an event he normally plays, and he's not coming in with any particular form after finishing outside the top 20 last week at the TOC. Still, you know he's going to want to go after Spieth in their first post-Ryder Cup event together.
  9. Kevin Kisner (40-1): Two top-five finishes here in the last three years, (good nugget by the indefatigable Rob Bolton).
  10. Cameron Champ (25-1): Might be too long for a 7,000-yard course.

Field strength -- B: They didn't make my list, but Bubba Watson, Paul Casey, Kyle Stanley and Hideki Matsuyama will all be in the field as well. It's a terrific follow-up to what was an elite Tournament of Champions.

Three things to know

1. There's a 16-year-old amateur, Peter Jung, in the field this week in Honolulu. He qualified by winning a Sony Open qualifier in November.

2. The last four Sony Opens have gone like this:

  • 9-stroke win
  • Playoff
  • 7-stroke win
  • Playoff

I guess that means we're due for Spieth to win by 11.

3. Only three other venues have hosted PGA Tour events longer than Waialae. The PGA Tour has been coming to this course for this event since 1965.

One story I'm following

It's probably cliche, but I'm hoping for a Reed-Spieth showdown at some point. If we get it on Friday, fine. On Sunday, even better. But two of the most prominent faces of current American golf in a pseudo-beef over Ryder Cup glory -- instigated 100 percent by Reed -- and taking out their frustrations on the course within a nice field is something that has me doing the Ray Lewis dance in my living room.

Tiger watch

Tiger Woods is expected to make his 2019 debut at the Farmers Insurance Open here at the end of January.

Past winners

  • 2018: Patton Kizzire
  • 2017: Justin Thomas
  • 2016: Fabian Gomez
  • 2015: Jimmy Walker
  • 2014: Jimmy Walker

Sony Open picks

Gary Woodland
Winner:   I already liked him after what I saw at Kapalua, but when you combine that with four straight top 15s on this course, it's a no-brainer for me.  Odds: 14-1       
Justin Thomas
Top 10:  I believe he's the best player in the world right now, and when the best player in the world is in a good (but not great) full-field event where he has a history (two top 10s, including a win), then I'm taking him to finish in the top 10 once again.  Odds: 13/2   
Sleeper: Again, Bolton delivers the goods with some eye-popping stats here . Four top 20s at this course, and it fits his length perfectly.   Odds: 55-1   
CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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