The Honda Classic
The Honda Classic
The PGA Tour has been on the West Coast in recent weeks. But this week it will move to the other side of the country, Florida. To be more precise, the Tour is going to the PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, for the Honda Classic.
It began 46 years ago as the Jackie Gleason’s Inverrary Classic. Honda has been the title sponsor since 1982. Ten of the top 25 players in the world are scheduled to play this week. But which ones should you start on your daily fantasy team?
How about a little information about the course and weather?
Over the years it has been played at several local golf and country clubs in South Florida. But since 2007 it has called the PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens home.
The tournament is played on the Champions Course which is 7,140 yards long and a par-70. It opened in 1981 and was redesigned in 2002. How well a player can handle “the Bear Trap” can determine a player’s fate for the tournament (the par-3 15th, par-4 16th, and par-3 17th).
Weather could play a factor this week. Thursday is expected to be clear and warm (76 degrees) with a 15 MPH wind and a 20 percent chance of rain. Friday is expected to be clear and sunny as well (75 degrees) with strong winds (16 MPH) and no chance of rain. But Saturday’s play could be impacted by a 40 percent chance of rain.
While Sunday is expected to be clear and Sunday, there is a 20 percent chance of rain.
Last year’s champ, Rickie Fowler, would love to become the first back to back winner and second in tournament history since Jack Nicklaus did it (1977-78). A case could certainly be made in favor of him pulling it off.
Since winning the tournament last year, he has had six finishes in the top four. A few weeks ago in Phoenix, he led going into Sunday but then hit, a 73 and dropped out of the top ten (he placed 11th). If he can start strong and stay strong, he’ll have an honest shot.
But there is an impressive list of golfers that will be gunning to make sure he doesn’t repeat:
• Sergio Garcia: The No. 11 golfer in the World will be making his 2018 debut at the Honda Classic, so he’ll be motivated to get his season off to a good start. Last year, he was up and down all four days and finished tied for 14th (4-under). But the year before he placed second—so he can play the course well.
• Rory McIlroy: He won the tournament in 2012, had to withdraw the following year, and placed second in 2014 (lost in a playoff). But then he failed to make the cut in ’15 and ’16. He’s had some injury issues but appears to be in good health and is working on getting his game on track. After missing the cut at Pebble Beach, he looked good at the Genesis Open last week (3-under). He is due for a breakout tournament; don’t be surprised if this is the one.
• Justin Thomas: Picking the No. 4 golfer in the world may sound like an easy pick, but Thomas (like McIlroy) is due for a breakout win. After shooting an 11-under in Phoenix (tied for 17th), he was nearly in the mix last week at the Genesis Open (tied for ninth; 7-under). His history at the Honda Classic has seen mixed results (missed cut in 2015 and ’17 but placed third in ’16). This could be his year.
• Buyer Beware—Tiger Woods: It is so easy to cheer for Tiger and look for him to win. He is certainly capable of it, too. But at the same time, his game is still inconsistent. With this being the first time playing in back to back tournaments since his back surgery, it is hard to have faith in him. Yes, he is capable of breaking out and having a magnificent tournament at any time. But the signs are not in his favor this week.
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