Dustin Johnson won last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship at 21 under par. I can guarantee you that will not be the winning score at this week’s tough Honda Classic at PGA National. This tournament has suffered a bit because of the new schedule (more on that below), but there are still plenty of big names — including last year’s defending champ — making appearances.
Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.
What: Honda Classic | When: Feb. 28 – Mar. 3
Where: PGA National — Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Ranking the field (odds)
Field strength — B-: It’s certainly not great! Only six of the top 25 in the world are playing this week, which, as Golfweek pointed out, is only half as many as last year. It’s still interesting because of the Fowler-Thomas-Koepka trio (not to mention the Adam Scott resurgence), but it’s not what it was when Tiger Woods was trying to run down Rory McIlroy in 2012.
Three things to know
1. J.T.’s history: Thomas is trying to join Jack Nicklaus as just the second back-to-back champion here and first since it moved away from Inverrary in 1984 (or longer than I’ve been alive).
2. Bear Trap numbers: I know it’s overplayed and tiring, but the three-hole close on Nos. 15-17 at PGA National really is insane. Two of those holes were among the 10 hardest on the PGA Tour last season, and No. 17 ranked as the toughest non-major championship hole all year (+0.533 strokes over par). No lead is safe going to the end, and that’s part of what makes this event great.
3. Adam Scott’s Masters odds: The Australian has been playing some terrific golf but is still 35-1 to win the Masters in April. Does he contend again this week and see that number drop to where it should be (around 25-1)? I don’t really know why I’m so interested in this story, but he’s been one of my top storylines through the first two months of the new year.
Story I’m following
Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton, who has dropped to No. 697 in the world and hasn’t competed in a PGA Tour event since 2016, Monday qualified into the tournament. He finished T4 here in 2013.
Woods is taking this week off, even though he lives close by. He’s is resting up for the next two events as he’ll play the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship in consecutive weeks. This follows a two-week stretch where he played the Genesis Open and WGC-Mexico Championship.
- 2018: Justin Thomas
- 2017: Rickie Fowler
- 2016: Adam Scott
- 2015: Padraig Harrington
- 2014: Russell Henley
Honda Classic picks
Winner: Somebody please stop me from doing this!
Top 10: An auto top-10 pick for me at this point. His odds should actually probably be even lower than 5-1.
Sleeper: A Rob Bolton special! McDowell has four top-10 finishes in his last eight starts here, with the most recent coming in 2016 when he finished solo fifth.