A soft breeze rustles the palm trees and a quick glance at the thermometer shows the temperature peaking in the lower to mid 80’s without a cloud in the sky. One would think they are in paradise. Well most would call that paradise but to Floridians, that’s just another beautiful Florida day. With the completion of the first World Golf Championship of the calendar year, it’s time to move to the east coast and commence the Florida Swing. For the last ten years, players have looked forward to the Florida Swing as a way to get their game into major championship form. With events such as The Honda Classic, the Arnold Palmer Invitational The Players Championship and the Valspar Championship, players will pick and choose which events fit their schedule best. The Honda Classic has been a staple on tour with roots dating back to 1972. Known then as the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic and has been played at the Champions Course at PGA National since 2007. There is a long list of holes that have decided championships over the years, the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, Amen Corner at Augusta, the Road Hole at St. Andrews, and the Green Mile at Trump National Doral to name a few but The Championship course at PGA National has a closing stretch that will have you shaking in your golf cleats. It’s called the Bear Trap, consisting on the par-3 15th, the par-4 16th and finally the par-3 17th which since 2007 players have shot a cumulative 3,571 shots over par.
The 2018 Honda Classic Champion Justin Thomas has been in a bit of a slump lately, after blowing a four-shot lead at the Genesis Open, he put himself into contention early in the WGC Mexico Championship, only to lose out during the third round with a dismal 74. Thomas came back in the fourth round with a vengeance and tied the course record with final round 62 to finish in the top 10. This week Thomas will look to keep things sharp and be the first player since Jack Nicklaus to win the Honda Classic back to back.
Billy Horschel hailed as a fantastic ball striker will look to put his skill to the test as he navigates the lurking danger at the Championship Course at PGA national. Horschel has finished in the top-10 twice in this event in the last four years. Heading into this week’s tournament, the Florida Gator has posted four top-25 finishes since the start of the 2018-209 season.
Adam Scott has been flying under the radar most of the 2018-2019 season, but the 2016 Honda Classic winner has posted four top-15 finishes here at PGA National and two top tens this season as well.