Sports Network Selections
- Pick To Win:
- Rory McIlroy
- Keegan Bradley
- Last Week's Pick To Win - Bubba Watson
- Finished tied for 14th
- Last Week's Darkhorse - Nick Watney
The PGA Tour heads east to Florida this week for the first of four straight
events in the Sunshine State. First up is the Honda Classic. An outstanding
field is on hand, as 11 of the top-20 players in the world are expected to tee
it up. The purse increased $100,000 from last year to $6.1 million, with the
winner receiving $1,098,000.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy is making his PGA Tour season debut this week. He
captured this title in 2012 and finished tied for second last year. McIlroy
won his last time out on the European Tour at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic
four weeks ago. He has finished first or second in his last five events dating
back to last season. McIlroy has recorded seven straight top-10 finishes and
has finished in the top 10 in 10 of his last 11 events, including four wins.
The Champion Course at PGA National Resort and Spa staged the 1983 Ryder Cup
matches and the 1987 PGA Championship, won by Larry Nelson. The course was
also the site of 28 Senior PGA Championships and five PGA Club Professional
Championships. The Champion Course was originally designed by Tom and George
Fazio in 1981 and redesigned and renovated by Jack Nicklaus in 1990, 2002 and
Last year, Russell Henley birdied the first playoff hole to defeat Russell
Knox, McIlroy and Ryan Palmer. The players finished regulation at 8-under-par
272. It was Henley's second PGA Tour title after winning the 2013 Sony Open in
In 2013, Michael Thompson shot rounds of 67-65-70-69 and picked up his first
PGA Tour victory. Thompson closed at 9-under 271 -- good for a 2-stroke win
over Geoff Ogilvy. Thompson became the 12th player to earn his first PGA Tour
win at this event, joining Leonard Thompson (1974), Larry Nelson (1979), Kenny
Knox (1986), John Huston (1990), Tim Herron (1996), Stuart Appleby (1997),
Matt Kuchar (2002), Todd Hamilton (2004), Padraig Harrington (2005), Mark
Wilson (2007) and Y.E. Yang (2009).
In 2012, McIlroy became the No. 1 player in the world after he withstood a
furious charge from Tiger Woods to win. McIlroy shot four rounds in the 60s
and finished the championship at 12-under 268. That was enough for a 2-shot
victory over Woods and Tom Gillis. Woods recorded two eagles in the final
round, including one at 18, for a final-round, 8-under 62. Not only was that
Woods' lowest final round in his PGA Tour career, it was also his best round
on tour since the third round of the 2009 BMW Championship. McIlroy became the
youngest winner in tournament history at 22 years and 10 months old.
In 2009, Yang birdied three straight holes on the front nine in the final
round, then hung on to defeat John Rollins and win by a single stroke. Yang,
who entered the event ranked 460th in the world, shot a 2-under 68 on the
final day and completed his first PGA Tour title at 9-under-par 271. He joined
K.J. Choi as the only two Koreans to win on the PGA Tour. Yang went onto win
the PGA Championship in 2009, coming from behind to defeat Woods in the final
Harrington holed a 6-foot par putt on the second playoff hole in 2005 and then
watched as Vijay Singh's short par effort lipped out to give the Irishman his
first career victory on the PGA Tour. Harrington's 6-shot comeback in the
final round was the largest in event history.
In 2003, course records were falling, as Davis Love III set a new 54-hole mark
of 196 after back-to-back 65s in rounds two and three. That same year, Justin
Leonard's tournament total of 264 broke the event mark by two shots set back
in 1989 by Blaine McCallister.
Jack Nicklaus is the only player to win this event two straight years
(1977-78). Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Mark Calcavecchia are the only multiple
champions. In addition, Nicklaus won here in 1976 when it hosted The
Tournament Players Championship.
Over the years, this tournament has been staged at many sites. From 1972
through 1983 it was held at Inverrary Golf & Country Club's East Course, when
it was titled the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic. Under its present name,
the tournament moved to the TPC at Eagle Trace from 1984 through 1991. In
1992, the event moved to Weston Hills Golf & Country Club for four seasons,
followed by a one-year return to the TPC at Eagle Trace. From 1997 to 2002,
the TPC at Heron Bay was the host venue. The Country Club at Mirasol hosted
from 2003-06 before the tournament moved to PGA National in 2007.
The last time a player shot 80 and still won a tournament on the PGA Tour was
in 1986, when Kenny Knox claimed a 1-shot victory at this event.
The PGA Tour continues its Florida swing in Miami next week for the WGC-
Cadillac Championship, as Patrick Reed defends his title at Trump National
Doral against the best players in the world. The rest of the PGA Tour will be
at the Puerto Rico Open, where Chesson Hadley captured the 2014 event.
02/24 13:25:27 ET