Power Rankings: 2014 Sony Open

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This week marks the eighth event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, but the first full-field event of the new year at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Waialae Country Club plays host to 144 players this week, each hoping to get their season on track before leaving for the mainland.

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Russell Henley returns to defend the title he won last year by three shots over Tim Clark in his first start as a PGA Tour member. Here are 10 players to this week in Honolulu:

1. Charles Howell III: Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Howell's T-3 here last year was his fourth top-five finish in the last five years at Waialae, and his seventh such finish since 2002. Expect a similar result from the veteran this week as he again looks to earn WGC-Accenture and Masters invites by climbing the world rankings.

2. Zach Johnson: Johnson had no issue taking apart the Plantation Course last week, and now finds a venue more suited to his game. A winner here in 2009, Johnson was one of the hottest players to end 2013 and appears ready to pick up right where he left off.



3. Tim Clark: The South African was a runner-up here a year ago to go along with a tie for second in 2011. Clark has made four career starts at Waialae and has yet to finish outside the top 25

4. Jordan Spieth: So much for a sophomore slump. Spieth came within a shot of claiming his second career win last week at Kapalua, ultimately notching his fourth career runner-up. The 20-year-old has shown an ability to contend against any field on virtually any course.

5. Brian Gay: The veteran stumbled out of the gates in Maui but recovered quickly, shooting 65-70 over the weekend. Equipped with one of the best short games in the game, Gay has recorded three top-15 finishes in his last five Sony starts.

6. Adam Scott: The Masters champ was consistent in his 2014 debut, ultimately tying for sixth on the Plantation Course. As the highest-ranked player in this week's field, he remains a threat on a course where he tied for second in 2009.

7. Matt Kuchar: Like Scott, Kuchar got his year off to a solid start with a T-6 in Maui. The former Players champ has been feast or famine at Waialae - only four made cuts in 10 starts, but he's turned three of those weekend appearances into top-five finishes, including a T-5 last year.

8. Hideki Matsuyama: The Japanese phenom has yet to make the Sony cut in three prior tries, but his game has transformed since turning pro in April. Matsuyama's withdrawal at the WGC-HSBC Champions interrupted a streak of eight straight top-25 finishes in PGA Tour starts, one he is likely to resume this week.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman made a name for himself in some of golf's biggest events in 2013, but he's also had considerable success at Waialae. The Aussie tied for ninth here a year ago in his fourth Sony start and has yet to finish worse than T-27.

10: Harris English: Twice a winner in 2013, English tied for 11th in Maui last week and tied for ninth here a year ago. He continues to serve as one of golf's rising stars and finished 15th on Tour last season in birdie average.