The Honda Classic 2017 Tournament Notes

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Dates: February 20-26, 2017

Where: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Course: PGA National (Par/Yards: 70/7,140)

Field size: 144

2016 champion: Adam Scott

Purse: $6,400,000 ($1,152,000/winner)

FedExCup: 500 points to the winner

Format: 72-hole stroke play

Twitter: @thehondaclassic

 

Honda longest-running title sponsor on PGA TOUR

Title sponsor of The Honda Classic since 1982, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. is the longest-tenured title sponsor on the PGA TOUR, now in its 36th year. Since its inception, the tournament has contributed nearly $40 million to national and local charities, including the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to provide charitable support for activities that advance and enhance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of childhood diseases and disorders.

 

Longest-running title sponsors

Tournament                             First year as title sponsor

The Honda Classic                   1982

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am     1986

Shell Houston Open                  1992

John Deere Classic                   1999

Sony Open in Hawaii                 1999

 

A look back at the 2016 Honda Classic

Despite a quadruple bogey on the par-3 15th hole in round three last year, Australia’s Adam Scott managed to begin Sunday’s final round tied for the lead with Sergio Garcia at 9-under 201. His even-par 70 at PGA National in round four was good enough for a one-stroke win, his 12th on the PGA TOUR, over Garcia at 9-under 271. With the win, Scott became the first player to win on the PGA TOUR with a “quad” during the week since Phil Mickelson at the 2009 TOUR Championship.

 

More on Adam Scott

  • Scott followed his win at last year’s Honda Classic with another win one week later at the World Golf Championships event at Trump Doral. With that win, he became the first player to win in back-to-back weeks on the PGA TOUR since Billy Horschel won the 2014 BMW Championship and TOUR Championship.
  • In the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, Scott claimed nine top-10 finishes in 20 starts and finished fourth in FedExCup, tying his best finish from 2013.
  • Scott is poised to make his sixth start in The Honda Classic. Prior to last year’s victory at PGA National, his best finish was a T11 in his first start of 2001.
  • So far this season on the PGA TOUR, Scott has made three starts; CIMB Classic (T10), World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (T14) and Genesis Open (T11).

     

The Honda Classic and the FedExCup

The Honda Classic is the 15th event in the PGA TOUR’s wraparound schedule that bridges two years with 47 official events. Over the span of 43 weeks, players vie to become the FedExCup Champion, which distinguishes the one player who not only performs well during the PGA TOUR Season, but also excels through the four-event FedExCup Playoffs, culminating with the 2017 TOUR Championship.

 

Six of the 10 winners of The Honda Classic have finished the season inside the top 30 in the FedExCup standings in the FedExCup era: Ernie Els (2008), Y.E. Yang (2009), Camilo Villegas (2010), Rory McIlroy (2012), Russell Henley (2014), Adam Scott (2016).

 

Three players have led the FedExCup standings in 2016-17, Brendan Steele (1), Justin Thomas (4) and Hideki Matsuyama (9). Matsuyama and Thomas have dueled for No. 1 since week two of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season.

 

2017 PGA TOUR momentum

Five of the seven winners in 2017 have been inside the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering that week’s event: Justin Thomas (SBS Tournament of Champions/22); Thomas (Sony Open in Hawaii/12); Hideki Matsuyama (Waste Management Phoenix Open/5); Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am/6); and Dustin Johnson (Genesis Open/3). Thomas, Spieth and Matsuyama are three of the seven different players under the age of 30 that have accounted for 10 of the 14 PGA TOUR wins through the Genesis Open, including a PGA TOUR-record seven straight between The RSM Classic in November and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

 

Last chance to qualify for the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship

The week of The Honda Classic offers the final opportunity for players to qualify for next week’s World Golf Championships event, the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec. Players not previously eligible can qualify by being inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking or the top 10 of the FedExCup standings following The Honda Classic.

 

Field notes

  • 16 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings, led by Justin Thomas at No. 2.
  • 23 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, led by defending Honda Classic champion Adam Scott at No. 7.
  • 9 past champions of The Honda Classic; Adam Scott (2016), Padraig Harrington (2005, 2015), Russell Henley (2014), Michael Thompson (2013), Rory Sabbatini (2011), Camilo Villegas (2010), Ernie Els (2008), Mark Wilson (2007), Luke Donald (2006).

     

    Player Notes

    Justin Thomas

  • With three wins in seven starts this season at the CIMB Classic, SBS Tournament of Champions and Sony Open in Hawaii, Justin Thomas sits No. 2 in the current FedExCup standings.
  • Thomas is poised to make his third career start at this week’s Honda Classic. Thomas finished T3 last year at PGA National with rounds of 69-69-68-69—275.
  • In Thomas’ win at the Sony Open, he opened with a 11-under-par 59 to become just the seventh player to post a round of 59 or better in PGA TOUR history.

     

    Sergio Garcia

  • After his runner-up finish to Adam Scott at last year’s Honda Classic, Sergio Garcia will make his seventh start at PGA National this week. His other top-10 finish in the event, T8, came in 2014.
  • Won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic earlier this month, marking his 28th worldwide victory.
  • Garcia is a nine-time winner on the PGA TOUR, his last being the 2016 AT&T Byron Nelson.

     

    Paul Casey

  • Paul Casey collected seven top-10 finishes in 22 starts in 2015-16 en route to a career-best finish of fifth in the FedExCup standings thanks to three top-4 finishes during the FedExCup Playoffs.
  • Casey will be making his eighth start in The Honda Classic this week, where he has finished inside the top five in 2010 (T4) and 2015 (T3). He finished T43 at PGA National last season.
  • Casey is in search of his second career PGA TOUR title and his first since the 2009 Shell Houston Open.

     

    Rickie Fowler

  • The Jupiter resident will make his seventh consecutive straight start at The Honda Classic; best finish was T7 in 2012.
  • Top finishes in five starts this season; Hyundai Tournament of Champions/T5, Waste Management Phoenix Open/P2. Won the ABU Dhabi Golf Championship in January.
  • Claimed his second and third PGA TOUR titles in 2015 at THE PLAYERS Championship and Deutsche Bank Championship, en route to a fourth-place finish in the FedExCup standings.
  • Begins The Honda Classic fourth in the Official World Golf Rankings, a career best.

     

     

     

    Daniel Berger

  • Local favorite Daniel Berger returns to PGA National for a third straight year. In his rookie year of 2015, Berger succumbed to Padraig Harrington on the second playoff hole (No. 17). Berger missed last year’s cut.
  • Berger broke into the winner’s circle for the first time last season at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, where he held off Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and West Palm Beach native Brooks Koepka (each finishing T2).
  • Berger will be making his seventh start of the season, where he has already collected a pair of top-10 finishes; T2/World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and T7/Waste Management Phoenix Open.

     

    Brooks Koepka

  • West Palm Beach native Brooks Koepka will return for a fourth consecutive start in this week’s Honda Classic. His T26 finish last season at PGA National marks his best showing.
  • In 2016, Koepka made his first appearance for the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, where he went 3-1 in his four matches en route to the United States’ 17-11 victory at Hazeltine. His three-point total (tied with Brandt Snedeker) was second only to Patrick Reed’s 3 ½ points. Koepka closed the week with a convincing Singles victory over reigning Masters champion Danny Willett.
  • Koepka will be making his sixth start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season this week, highlighted by a solo-second at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in November.

     

    Danny Willett

  • Reigning Masters champion Danny Willett is poised to make his first start in this week’s Honda Classic and second start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season (75th/World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions).
  • In addition to last year’s win at Augusta, Willett finished inside the top five on the PGA TOUR at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions/T3 and World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship (at Trump Doral)/T3.
  • Willett, a Sheffield, England native, is the winner of five worldwide titles.

     

    Thomas Pieters

  • Belgium’s Thomas Pieters’ top-10 finish (T2) at last week’s Genesis Open earned him a spot in The Honda Classic field. Pieters closed with a bogey-free, 8-under 63 at Riviera Country Club, tying the low round of the week (Wesley Bryan/R3).
  • Pieters, 25, was selected by Darren Clarke for the 2016 European Ryder Cup Team, where his 4-1 in his five matches became the best record by a European rookie in Ryder Cup history. He also finished fourth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

 

Jason Bohn

  • A year after suffering a heart attack on Friday of last year’s Honda Classic, Jason Bohn will return for an 11th start in The Honda Classic. His best finish is a T31 in 2007. Following last year’s medical emergency, caused by a 90 percent artery blockage, he returned to competition on the PGA TOUR at the RBC Heritage in April.
  • Bohn will be making his 10th start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, where he remains in search of his first top-25 showing.
  • Bohn, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, is in search of his first win since the 2010 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Bohn first won at the 2005 B.C Open.

     

    Tournament notes

  • Twelve players have made The Honda Classic their first career TOUR title. Since 2000, five players have achieved the feat; Matt Kuchar (2002), Padraig Harrington (2005), Mark Wilson (2007), Y.E. Yang (2009) and Michael Thompson (2013).
  • Since 1980, only four players have won The Honda Classic in their first attempt: Tim Herron (1996), Matt Kuchar (2002), Todd Hamilton (2004) and Padraig Harrington (2005).
  • Jack Nicklaus (1977-78) is the only player to successfully defend his title at The Honda Classic.
  • International players have won nine of the last 12 Honda Classics, with wins by Padraig Harrington (2005), Luke Donald (2006), Ernie Els (2008), Y.E. Yang (2009), Camilo Villegas (2010), Rory Sabbatini (2011), Rory McIlroy (2012), Harrington (2015) and Adam Scott (2016). Mark Wilson (2007), Michael Thompson (2013) and Russell Henley (2014) are the only United States natives to win since 2005.
  • PGA National continues to rank among the toughest layouts on TOUR. In 2016, the par-70 Champion Course ranked as the second-toughest course on TOUR outside of the majors, with a scoring average of 71.768. Only the par-72 Torrey Pines South Course (Farmers Insurance Open) ranked tougher, with an average of 74.498.
  • From 2007-2016, the “Bear Trap” (Nos. 15-17) ranked as the third-toughest, three-hole stretch on the PGA TOUR of courses that have been played in each of the last 10 years. The field has played that stretch of holes in a combined 2.781 strokes over par since 2007. They played the remaining 15 holes in +4.101. In that same time frame from 2007-2016, hole Nos. 5-7 have played as the fourth most-difficult, three-hole stretch on the PGA TOUR, playing to an average of 0.616 strokes over par.

 

Young stars excelling

Ten of the 14 PGA TOUR wins through the Genesis Open have come from players under the age of 30 during the 2016-17 season including seven starting with Mackenzie Hughes’ win at the RSM Classic and ending with Jordan Spieth’s title at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The seven straight was the longest streak since 1980 and was broken last week by Dustin Johnson at the Genesis Open.

Date Tournament Winner Birthdate Age won
10/23 CIMB Classic Justin Thomas 4/29/93 23 years, 5 months, 24 days
10/30 WGC-HSBC Champions Hideki Matsuyama 2/25/92 24 years, 8 months, 5 days
10/30 Sanderson Farms Championship Cody Gribble 9/20/90 26 years, 1 month, 10 days
11/20 The RSM Classic Mackenzie Hughes 11/23/90 25 years, 11 months, 29 days
1/8 SBS Tournament of Champions Justin Thomas 4/29/93 23 years, 8 months, 10 days
1/15 Sony Open in Hawaii Justin Thomas 4/29/93 23 years, 8 months, 17 days
1/22 CareerBuilder Challenge Hudson Swafford 9/9/87 29 years, 4 months, 13 days
1/29 Farmers Insurance Open Jon Rahm 11/10/94 22 years, 2 months, 19 days
2/5 Waste Management Phoenix Open Hideki Matsuyama 4/29/93 24 years, 11 months, 11 days
2/12 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Jordan Spieth 7/27/93 23 years, 6 months, 16 days

 

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