Watch: TGC, 7 p.m.
HONOLULU — The sun is shining and spirits are soaring at the Sony Open, the first full-field event of the year on the PGA Tour that seems to bring equal measures of optimism no matter how long a player has been around.
And it's quite the age range at Waialae, from 16-year-old Kyle Suppa to 58-year-old Fred Funk, one of four Champions Tour players at the Sony Open.
"Everybody is in a pretty good mood this week," said David Clark, the caddie for Paul Casey, as he watched a threesome wrap up a practice round. "At least until Thursday."
For Charles Howell III, he has reason for high hopes along the surf and royal palms.
He has never missed this event since 2002, and he has done just about everything but win. Howell has eight top 10s, including a pair of runner-up finishes. He has never shot worse than 73, and 41 of his 48 rounds at the Sony Open have been at par or better.
Howell started laughing as he listened to his record. About the only thing missing from his record is a trophy, the winner's lei draped around his neck and the champagne toast to the Waialae members.
"It's weird," he said. "I think coming off of an offseason, Hawaii is an easy place to come to. We've always enjoyed coming here, even in the days of college when we would come to play college events this time of the year. Guys are excited to play. As far as my results, it's hard to say. I wish I knew what it was or I'd try it at some other event. For some reason, I like this course. It's an old-style course, not a modern design by any means, and I like that aspect of it."
Indeed, the Sony Open can feel trapped in the 1980s, and it goes back even further. This is the 50th anniversary of the PGA Tour coming to Waialae, a course that yields low scores without seeming very easy.
But there is a modern aspect of this event that Howell or anyone else cannot ignore.
The PGA Tour is getting younger.
Howell is coming off a Christmas break with his two children, 4-year-old Ansley and 3-year-old Chase, so maybe he just feels old. He is starting his 15th year on the PGA Tour and has reason to look behind at the newcomers than at the players he spent a decade chasing.
Patrick Reed won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions last week for his fourth PGA Tour victory at age 24, joining only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy as players who have won that often before turning 25.