Date: Feb 28 - Mar 3
Course: PGA National Golf Club Champion Course
Purse - $6.8MM ($1.2MM to winner)
FedEx points – 500 to winner
2018 Winner: Justin Thomas (-8)
PGA National Golf Club Champion Course. Opened in 1981 by George and Tom Fazio, this presents a big jump in the season as we jump from the West Coast to the East and Florida Greens are now introduced. Best known for holes 15-17 “The Bear Trap”, this course presents not only a difficult layout to maneuver but also a sharp jump across the country into a completely new dynamic of wind, land and grass conditions. It is known to be the hardest par 70 among the non-majors. Coming so early in the season it’s interesting to see who rises to the challenge.
My Starting 4
Billy Horschel (1st selection this year) — Across nine events this year he has yet to miss a cut. He has two top ten finishes in his last three years at the Honda Classic and he’s currently 38th in greens in regulation percentage.
Adam Scott (1st selection this year) — Top 15 finishes each of the last three years here. He has two top ten finishes in the last three event this season. He’s 19th in total strokes gained.
Luke List (1st selection this year) — Luke has four top 15 finishes to contrast his three missed cuts across eight starts this year. He is also a top ten finisher twice in the last three years here so I'm going with his track record of success to carry him.
Justin Thomas (2nd selection this year) — Fresh off a 2nd place finish two weeks ago and a 7th place finish last week he is riding hot. Add to that he has two top three finishes in the last three years at the Champion Course. He’s 1st in strokes gained approaching the green, 1st in strokes gained tee to green and 1st in strokes gained total.
My Bench 2
Brendan Steele (2nd selection this year) — With top 15 finishes three of the last four years he seems like a strong pick for the Honda Classic but he has missed the last three straight cuts this season. He’s a good long shot to surprise people if he can turn it around at a familiar course.
John Huh (1st selection this year) — With three top 25 finishes in the last four years here John is familiar with the Champions Course. He has missed cuts in seven of the 11 tournaments this season so it’s another long shot but I have a hunch either Brendan or John will be in the top 20 at the end.
Starting 4: Avg Finish 38th place (30th percentile)
Bench 2: Avg Finish 60th place (48th percentile)
Fun Factoid: Jack Nicklaus won here in consecutive years in 1977 and 1978.