The PGA Tour has made the rare decision to declare internal out of bounds at Waialae Country Club for the 2021 Sony Open in Hawaii.
After observing and hearing reports of players hitting tee shots from the par-5 18th hole onto the 10th hole, the PGA Tour chose to put down white out of bounds stakes to the left side of the 18th hole to discourage players from attempting to play out left. Those out of bounds stakes on apply to players when they're playing the 18th hole.
In the practice rounds and pro-am rounds, players were going high over the trees and down the 10th hole, cutting off most of the distance of the hole. Players were suddenly left with wedges and short irons into a par 5 instead of a mid-iron or higher. That line, however, put those playing on the 10th hole in danger of getting hit by those incoming drives.
Keeping player safety and the intent of the hole in mind, the Tour declared the internal out of bounds.
The stakes start near the 10th green and run for about 300 yards just shy of the 18th green.
“I think the hole should be played the way it was designed and not cheat – not saying cheat, but not take advantage of whatever you want to take advantage of," said Billy Horschel. "Obviously, there's a few guys laying up here and there's a safety hazard, but I think playing the hole the way the hole was designed and intended, I think they kept that in play with those OB stakes.”
Defending champion Cameron Smith agreed, saying, “I think it's a great idea. Too many guys hitting it down there, anyway.”
Jason Kokrak, who shot 62 to start the tournament, was surprised they chose to do it in 2021, with no fans attending. Only two players, Rory Sabbatini and Pat Perez, went out of bounds on the 18th hole on Thursday.