Waialae course suits Johnson


POSTED: Thursday, January 14, 2010

Zach Johnson will have to reinvent the limbo at this week's Sony Open in Hawaii if he's to equal the 30-under performance he managed over his last six rounds in the island chain in 2009.

Starting with a command performance of 15 under over his closing 36 holes at the Mercedes Championship, Johnson equaled that total over four days at Waialae to win the fifth PGA Tour event of his career by two shots.

Johnson said yesterday he owed that 36-hole finish at the Plantation Course to a hot putter that carried over to the first full-field event of 2009. He didn't come close to that 36-hole mark at this year's SBS Championship, shooting 7-under 139 en route to an 18th-place finish in a 28-man field.

Granted, a 23-under performance here is unlikely, especially if the tradewinds kick up, but Johnson likes his chances on the flat Waialae Country Club course compared to the rolling hills of the Plantation.





        When: Today through Sunday

Where: Waialae Country Club


Par: 70


Yardage: 7,068


TV: Golf Channel




“;I don't know if my game is necessarily that suited for over there,”; Johnson said. “;Any given week, any player can play well and win. Last week was a course where I think it really paid dividends if you could carry the ball a long ways.

“;I played well there for two rounds (in 2009). I just got hot with the putter. I hit it good. I'm not saying I hit it bad. I probably hit it almost as good this year. I putted OK, but I think my game is definitely more suited for this week.

“;It's a classic golf course. The fairways are a premium. The greens are not overly big, they're holding right now, they can get firm. And everything comes down to the flat stick, so, in my opinion, this is more my type of golf course.”;

There are certain 18 holes that Johnson likes. He won on the same course at the BellSouth Classic in 2004 and again at the AT&T Championship in 2007. He also captured the Valero Texas Open in 2008 and 2009 on the same course. His other win was at the 2007 Masters, when Johnson held off Tiger Woods down the stretch to take home his only major title.

You get the feeling this course could produce a similar result for Johnson, who is more of a ball-striker than a bomb-and-gauger. This course sets up for those who can hit it a certain distance at a certain spot and make a putt on Bermuda greens. Not that his history here has been stellar. Prior to his win last year, Johnson tied for 32nd in 2008, tied for 28th in 2005 and missed the cut in 2004.

“;I feel great coming back here to a place that certainly I have great memories, not too distant memories,”; Johnson said. “;My game feels great. I played quite a bit the end of the fall into December, so I feel the competitive mode that I think is needed in this game, especially at this level, is still there.

“;I think fundamentally I'm pretty good. I'm not overly that fresh because of that, but I'm going to take some time off after this. But, yes, I feel great. Last week (at the SBS Championship) was probably more positive than negative, certainly on the weekend, from a golf standpoint. This course, right here, is all I want. I just love it.”;

Just don't mention the words “;defending champion”; in his presence. He has a new sports psychologist, who doesn't believe in living in the past.

“;No, I'm not (the defending champion),”; Johnson said. “;According to my sports psychologist I'm defending nothing. I'm going to go play golf this week. Last year is last year.”;


Tomorrow's Tee Times

at Waialae Country Club

Tee No. 1

7:10 a.m.: Joe Ogilvie, Ted Purdy, Justin Rose. 7:20 a.m.: Paul Goydos, Dean Wilson, Webb Simpson. 7:30 a.m.: Tim Clark, Jeff Overton, Shane Bertsch. 7:40 a.m.: Cameron Beckman, Greg Kraft, Tom Lehman. 7:50 a.m.: Chez Reavie, K.J. Choi, Luke Donald. 8 a.m.: Troy Matteson, Vijay Singh, Robert Allenby. 8:10 a.m.: Retief Goosen, Mark Wilson, Dustin Johnson. 8:20 a.m.: Brian Davis, John Merrick, Jeff Klauk. 8:30 a.m.: Rich Barcelo, Graham DeLaet, Daisuke Maruyama. 8:40 a.m.: Spencer Levin, Billy Horschel, Ryuichi Oda. 8:50 a.m.: Kevin Johnson, Cameron Tringale, Kevin Hayashi. 9:00 a.m.: Tom Gillis, Kris Blanks, Kaname Yokoo. 11:40 a.m.: John Huston, Jason Dufner, D.A. Points. 11:50 a.m.: George McNeill, Chris Riley, Bill Haas. Noon: George McNeill, Chris Riley, Bill Haas. 12:10 p.m.: Nathan Green, D.J. Trahan, Brad Faxon. 12:20 p.m.: Ryan Palmer, Carl Pettersson, Steve Lowery. 12:30 p.m.: Stewart Cink, Sean O'Hair, Pat Perez. 12:40 p.m.: Stephen Ames, Jerry Kelly, Angel Cabrera. 12:50 p.m.: Jonathan Byrd, Jim Carter, Michael Letzig. 1 p.m.: Tim Petrovic, Harrison Frazar, Kevin Na. 1:10 p.m.: Derek Lamely, Cameron Percy, Tadd Fujikawa. 1:20 p.m.: David Lutterus, Garth Mulroy, Chris Wilson. 1:30 p.m.: Chad Collins, Alex Prugh, Aaron Goldberg.

Tee No. 10

7:10 a.m.: Scott McCarron, Nicholas Thompson, Marc Leishman. 7:20 a.m.: Shigeki Maruyama, Fredrik Jacobson, Roland Thatcher. 7:30 a.m.: Brett Quigley, Michael Allen, Jimmy Walker. 7:40 a.m.: Johnson Wagner, Mark Calcavecchia, Ben Curtis. 7:50 a.m.: Marc Turnesa, Ryuji Imada, Charles Howell III. 8 a.m.: Steve Stricker, Ernie Els, David Toms. 8:10 a.m.: Bo Van Pelt, Brian Gay, Rory Sabbatini. 8:20 a.m.: Jeff Maggert, Omar Uresti, Brenden Pappas. 8:30 a.m.: Nick O'Hern, Jason Day, Scott Piercy. 8:40 a.m.: Brian Stuard, Blake Adams, Roger Tambellini. 8:50 a.m.: Martin Flores, Josh Teater, T.J. Kua. 9 a.m.: Henrik Bjornstad, Brendon de Jonge, Nick Mason. 11:40 a.m.: Chad Campbell, Jeff Quinney, Matt Bettencourt. 11:50 a.m.: Corey Pavin, Jesper Parnevik, Jay Williamson. Noon: Charlie Wi, Bryce Molder, Ricky Barnes. 12:10 p.m.: Parker McLachlin, Boo Weekley, Daniel Chopra. 12:20 p.m.: John Rollins, Richard S. Johnson, Stuart Appleby. 12:30 p.m.: Y.E. Yang, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III. 12:40 p.m.: Matt Kuchar, Lucas Glover, Justin Leonard. 12:50 p.m.: Woody Austin, Briny Baird, Mathias Gronberg. 1 p.m.: John Daly, Bob Estes, Bubba Watson. 1:10 p.m.: Chris Tidland, Steve Wheatcroft, Jerod Turner. 1:20 p.m.: Matt Jones, Rickie Fowler, Troy Merritt. 1:30 p.m.: Justin Bolli, Chris Baryla, WC Liang.