Can Steve Stricker win the Hawaiian slam?
It will be daunting work trying to follow up his Hyundai Tournament of Champions title with a win at this week’s Sony Open.
Since the Tournament of Champions moved to Hawaii and the Plantation Course at Kapalua in 1999, Ernie Els is the only player to win both of the season-opening Hawaiian events in the same year. Els won them both in 2003.
Ladbrokes makes Stricker the betting favorite to win the Sony at 8/1, with Webb Simpson at 10/1 and K.J. Choi and Zach Johnson each at 16/1.
You don’t always see the Hyundai winner also playing the Sony, but when you do, the challenge is difficult. The Plantation Course and Waialae are such dramatically different tests. The Plantation Course is so sprawling, so wide open. You can get away with spraying some tee shots there and still contend. Waialae’s fairways are so confining. The key there is getting the ball in the fairways.
Stricker got away with some ball-striking mistakes at Kapalua that he won’t at Waialae, but he’s obviously in control of his game and riding a ton of confidence.