While the rest of the field attempts to rid themselves of the nuclear fallout from Dustin Johnson’s Maui explosion last week, the reigning Player Of The Year needs to get it going this week over in Honolulu.
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are the two big names at the Sony Open. That pesky little Brian Harman’s showing up and you can throw in Marc Leishman, Kevin Kisner and Jason Dufner, who also made their way over from Maui. But mixed in with them will be a bunch of new guys, old guys and a lot of players you’ve probably never heard of.
Unlike J.T., Spieth did manage to squeeze into the top 10 last week, taking solo ninth at Kapalua. He never did find his mojo on the greens and you know what that means. No putts, no victory. It’s pretty predictable. With the putter working, Spieth’s a threat anywhere, anytime. When Scotty Cameron goes average, Spieth has to work hard for a top 10. Simple as that.
Wasn’t the case with Thomas.
All in all, with round of 71-75-75 and finally a 67 on Sunday, it was a fairly lackluster title defense. He might want to remind himself that D.J. buried him, by 20 to be exact and all he came out with was an unimpressive tie for 22nd in a 34-man field.
Maybe Bones MacKay can pull out the old cattle prod and get J.T. going this week over at Waialae. Those with good memories might remember that J.T. went on a first-round rampage at the Sony last year, shot 59 to open then went on to nab the Hawaii double, taking home both the Sony and Tournament Of Champions titles to start what proved an incredible season. In the process, he set the PGA Tour scoring record at Waialae (27-under par).
What J.T. doesn’t need is a repeat of last week.
Seriously. He played so bad he didn’t make it on the telecast after day one. The only news he made was the fact that he had to put his dad on the bag after Jimmy Johnson fell victim to an ongoing bout with plantar faciitis. The only weekend news J.T. spurred was hiring Bones to tote the bag for him this week.
J.T. described the state of his game in one word:
His Sunday 67 gave him some encouragement going into Waialae:
“I finally played the par fives well. I felt like I was just very impatient and probably not fair with myself the first three days. I was in fine position after the first day but I let Friday and Saturday get the best of me but I really just played the par five poorly all week.”
He’ll have only two par fives to face each day at Waialae — the ninth and 18th holes.
“I’m very excited, it will be fun,” he said but he’s also thinking about Johnson. “Obviously I wish I had Jimmy. I wish he was healthy but Bones is obviously a very good alternative.”
He’s got to be in a great mood, basking in the joy of his alma mater Alabama’s win over Georgia in Monday night’s national championship game.
Now if he can just get rid of the rust.