Sony Open expert picks: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas take show to Honolulu

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both finished in the top three at last week’s Tournament of Champions (Spieth was T3, Thomas won). They will both tee it up at the Sony Open this week along with runner-up Hideki Matsuyama. All three are under the age of 25. All three are superstars. The PGA Tour is back!
Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.
What: Sony Open | Where: Honolulu, Hawaii | When: Jan. 12-15
How to watch (all times ET)
TV: Golf ChannelTimes: Thursday-Saturday from 7-10:30 p.m. | Sunday from 6-10 p.m.
Participants and odds
Jordan Spieth: 6-1
Hideki Matsuyama: 15-2
Justin Thomas: 14-1
Jimmy Walker: 20-1
Brandt Snedeker: 25-1
Paul Casey: 25-1
Justin Rose: 28-1
Gary Woodland: 33-1
Daniel Berger: 33-1
Russell Knox: 33-1
Field strength: B-
This hangs on to a “B-” because of the Spieth-Thomas-Matsuyama triumvirate, but it really drops off after those top three. Still, that’s a hell of a top three as you have three of the top 12 players in this week’s Official World Golf Rankings.
Three stories to watch
1. Anybody can win: As was pointed out in this excellent preview, this is as open a field as you’ll see on the PGA Tour. Literally anybody teeing it up this week can win. That makes for a democratic event, although it might not make for an elite winner (see: 2016).
2. The 18th hole at Sony is the least-hit fairway on the PGA Tour: If the tournament comes down to the end, keep an eye on that. Also, I’d like to give a shout out to the most underrated golf shot of 2016. This majestic 3-wood from Zac Blair on No. 18 last year to set up an eagle try.

3. Justin Thomas-Hideki Matsuyama rematch? Thomas and Matsuyama provided us with a show at Kapalua last week, and I’m here for the encore. Matsuyama’s had little to no success at this tournament while Thomas finished T6 two years ago. Throw in Spieth on Sunday and we have ourselves a big boy tournament.
Three best groups
Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger — An elite grouping. All three will be at the Tour Championship come September.
Hideki Matsuyama, Zach Johnson, Pat Perez — Doubles as the most hilarious group of the week.
Bill Haas, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner — I feel like these three are paired together on Thursday-Friday of about half of all PGA Tour events.
Past winners
2016: Fabian Gomez
2015: Jimmy Walker
2014: Jimmy Walker
2013: Russell Henley
2012: Johnson Wagner
Walker ran away with this event in 2015 as he won by nine strokes for his second-consecutive title. This tournament has traditionally seen some really great putters take home the trophy.
Let’s look at the picks this week.
Expert Picks
Player
Pick
Analysis

Winner
Jordan Spieth is coincidentally a really great putter. He’s also the best player in the field and coming off a scorching-hot 65 on Sunday to end the Tournament of Champions. Odds: 6-1

Top 10
Justin Thomas would take over Matsuyama’s title of “hottest golfer alive” with a win this week. He finished in the top 10 two years ago and is the first player with two wins on the 2016-17 PGA Tour season. Odds: 14-1

Sleeper
Pat Perez is riding a heater. He won in the fall after an extensive layoff from injury last year. Then he finished T3 last week at Kapalua with Spieth. Perez has three top 20s here since 2013. Odds: 40-1

Source: General Sports