Defending champion Justin Thomas and World No. 2 golfer Jordan Spieth are the two favorites to win the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club, which begins Thursday. Spieth, who finished third at this event in 2017, is a 9-2 selection, while Thomas is at 7-1.

Justin Thomas

Defending Sony Open champ Justin Thomas is a 7-1 pick behind favorite Jordan Spieth to win this week in Hawaii. (Image: Getty Images)

Both played at last week’s Tournament of Champions, an event reserved for winners of an event last year. Spieth finished ninth, while Thomas was tied for 22nd.

This is the third time Spieth has played in this event and he told reporters on Wednesday that it is a course he feels he can win at.

“You actually have to learn quite a bit of how to map yourself around this place, and the ball rolls a lot more here than it did any place else, and I tried to do a little too much,” Spieth said. “Then last year played pretty smart, didn’t putt very well.”

Guest Caddie for Thomas

Thomas will be using a different caddie this week. His regularly looper got hurt at last week’s event and he was forced to use his dad for the remainder of the tournament.

This week he was able to persuade Jim “Bones” MacKay to come out of retirement and work for him. MacKay was Phil Mickelson’s longtime caddie. Thomas said the experience has been fun for both.

“It’s great,” he said. “It’s fun just because it’s different. It’s different for him. It’s different for me.”

The 24 year old does not know how the tandem will work and if it provides Thomas with an advantage in his pursuit to defend his title.

“We’re kind of getting a feel for each other in terms of the golf course, how we see the golf course, how we talk about golf shots,” he said. “So it’s really kind of a first day of school kind of thing, where these last two days we’ve tried to get comfortable with each other and he’s tried, I think, to get an understanding of what I like and the shots I like to hit.”

Other Possible Contenders

While Spieth and Thomas have the best odds there are several other golfers that have a great chance to win this week. Australian Marc Leishman, who is at 14-1, has a couple of recent top 10s including last week’s Tournament of Champions, where he placed tied for seventh.

What is hurting him is one bad round. At TOC he had a third-round 76 that took him out of contention. Still he told reporters on Sunday that he feels a good tournament is close.

“Just got to put four good rounds together,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was only three this week but certainly something to build on for the rest of the year.”

Another long shot might be Brian Harman, who is listed at 16-1. He was tied for 20th here last year and currently is riding a streak of four consecutive top 10 finishes.