HONOLULU – For the 31 Sony Open players who took the 30-minute flight over Maui, the decision to play was an easy one. They are already in Hawaii, guaranteed tropical weather and the sea level course is an easy walk.
Collin Morikawa wouldn’t know otherwise.
In the two years since he left Cal and turned pro, he has won every year on the PGA Tour and has been eligible for the Tournament of Champions to start the new year. Plus, her family has a history in Hawaii.
Would the PGA Champion soar in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for just a week?
“It’s an excellent hypothesis” Morikawa said with a smile. “But Hawaii is special to me. I would love to come here from year round. It obviously has the right kind of vibe. This allows you to start the year. And I love it here.
His year has not started too badly, except for one round. With back-to-back innings of 65, he entered the final round at Kapalua with a header shot and shot a 73.
For Waialae’s other 113 players, the long journey was well worth it. This includes Charles Howell III, who is making his 20th straight start at the Sony Open and has never left the islands without money in the bank. Along with never missing the cup, Howell has seven top 5 finishes, but still no win.
“This tournament has obviously been very good for me,” Said Howell. “It’s an event that God willing I will never miss as long as I can play. There was a couple that I screwed up there at the end or that I could have played a little better to maybe have won, but it was such a big event for me.
In some ways, this surprises him. For those who haven’t qualified to start the year at Kapalua, this is their first competition in almost two months. Even after a year that stretched into December due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last tournament many played was just over a month ago.