Name: The Honda Classic
Date: February 24th – 27th
Course: PGA National Resort and Spa
Purse: $8mm ($1.4mm to winner)
2021 Winner: Matt Jones (-12)
OWGR points: 42
Course: PGA National Resort and Spa (Champion Course)
Opened in 1981 by George and Tom Fazio, this course is middle of the pack in terms of course rating (75.2) and slope rating (148). The hardest facet is that it’s a Par 70. 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.
My Starting 4
Lucas Glover (first selection this year) – Outside of 2020 when he finished 87th, he has been among the top 25 here each year since 2017. Glover is not landing in the top 20 a lot, but he only has two missed cuts across nine tournaments this season. His putting is suffering but his irons and driving have been great.
Jhonattan Vegas (first selection this year) — Jhonattan has four top 30 finishes at PGA National Resort and Spa across the last five years. Vegas is hitting the ball a mile (6th in drive distance) and he has top 50 strokes gained tee to green, approaching the green, and total.
Brendan Hagy (first selection this year) — Hagy finished 86th here in 2019. He improved to 21st in 2020 and then to 2nd place last year, so perhaps a win is in store for him in 2022? Hagy is not having a great 2022 season. He has missed the cut in seven of 10 tournaments. I have a little faith as Hagy generally improves in Florida, playing twice as well here as every other state combined.
Brendan Steele (second selection this year) — Steele has been among the top 5 here each of the last two years. Currently 42nd in FedEx ranking, he has struggled—missing the cut in his last four straight tournaments. Last week he finished his Friday with 12 of 18 greens hit in regulation. He is struggling in strokes gained approaching the green and around the green (both outside the top 170 on the tour).
My Bench 2
Michael Thompson (first selection this year) — Thompson has top 25 finishes here in three of the last four years. Thompson is 60th in FedEx Ranking and has missed the cut in three of his last four tournaments (but he did not miss a cut across the first six tournaments this year). His short game is solid and helped carry him to where he is this season. Thompson has drastically improved his play in Florida in comparison to some of the West Coast states over the last two years.
Cameron Tringale (first selection this year) — Cameron has top 40 finishes here each of the last three years. 14th in FedEx ranking and 51st in OWGR, he’s playing solid this season with three top 15’s across his last five tournaments. His putting and irons have been great over this time (top 55 in strokes gained approaching the green, around the green and putting).
Start: Average Finish 46th (36th percent)
Bench: Average Finish 52nd (41st percent)