The PGA Tour continues its annual two-tourney start to the year in Hawaii this week, making the jump from Maui over to Oahu for the first full field event of the year. The Sony Open has been the annual debut for the Tour's crop of newcomers. The new wraparound schedule will eventually take some of that anticipation out of the week at Waialae Country Club, but the full field crowding the classic layout still makes it feel like the real start to this new season.
The first two weeks of the season also provide the Tour the benefit of showing golf in primetime. The five-hour time difference makes it easy for Golf Channel to carry coverage deep into the evening in the eastern U.S. Last week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions enjoyed the flexibilty of a limited field with 30 players, sending them off some days first thing in the morning while holding them back other days for a better TV window -- always trying to dodge either the NFL playoffs or Monday's BCS title game.
The full field wipes out that flexibility this week, with the first tee time going out at 7 a.m. local (Noon ET). The second wave of tee times, however, should not finish until 10:30 or 11 p.m. ET. Golf Channel, with their sister station's Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller, will carry the coverage in primetime from 7 p.m. to 10:30. Last week's winner Zach Johnson, and runner-up Jordan Spieth, should be the focus of the broadcast on Thursday. Here are your media options for the opening round:
Thursday's 1st round coverage:
Television: Golf Channel - 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET
Online stream: NBCSports/Golf Channel Live Extra - 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PGA Tour Radio on Sirius-XM (Ch. 93/208) - 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET