The Tour heads to PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens this week for the start of the Florida Swing and the Honda Classic. With many Tour players residing in South Florida, the event serves as a home game for a good chunk of the field. Headlining the event is defending champ Adam Scott along with Jupiter residents Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas. Full Field & Tee Times
Last year, Saturday saw two of the generation’s great golfers, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia, separate themselves from the field to set up a final-round duel. Adam Scott seized the early advantage as Garcia sputtered out of the gate, but a disastrous quadruple bogey on the tough par-3 15th let Sergio back in it. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, his mediocre play continued, giving Scott the one-shot win.
The Bear Trap
Since 2007, the annual host to the Honda Classic is the George- and Tom Fazio-designed PGA National. The South Florida staple originally opened for play in 1981 and hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup and 1987 PGA Championship before Jack Nicklaus gave the track a facelift in 1990. With Nicklaus’ work, the “Bear Trap” was born. The challenging finishing stretch of Nos. 15-18 at PGA National has claimed its fair share of victims over the years and nearly cost Adam Scott the championship last year. PGA National is like many Florida golf courses in that its many water hazards come into play on nearly every hole, making the course brutally difficult for the everyday player. For the pros, this place is particularly tough when the wind blows, as it often does in South Florida. Watch how the wind affects scoring as the week progresses.
3 Storylines to watch
For the vast majority of the PGA Tour, the end of the West Coast Swing is a welcome sign as it signals the end of the traditionally bumpy and inconsistent poa annua greens. This week players will see the return of the much more popular and familiar bermuda playing surface. The switch should lead to more made putts and higher finishes for many players who grew up playing on bermuda.
Many of golf’s young stars reside in nearby Jupiter and the West Palm Beach area, which makes this week’s event an easy stop on their calendar. Over the years, that hasn’t proven all that beneficial, as many have struggled with the home cooking. This year some local players to watch are Thomas, Fowler, Daniel Berger, Gary Woodland and Brooks Koepka.
The Euros are coming
This week the PGA Tour will get an influx of talented Europeans in the field at PGA National. Last week’s runner-up Thomas Pieters will be in the field and joined by Ryder Cup teammates Danny Willett, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Martin Kaymer and Matthew Fitzpatrick. One Euro name that often flies under the radar is rising young star Tyrrell Hatton, who at age 25 has ascended to number 18 in the world rankings. Hatton has earned his lofty ranking by racking up 11 top-ten finishes in 27 events since the start of 2016.
I have heard that last week’s picks led to many readers finding a nice payout on DraftKings and great success in one-and-done leagues. Paulie hopes to repeat last week’s success as the Tour heads to South Florida. Check out all of his picks here.
PGA Tour Live Featured Pairings
Thursday: 7:35 & 7:45 AM EST
Paul Casey, Zach Johnson and Sergio Garcia
Justin Thomas, Adam Scott and Padraig Harrington
Friday: 7:35 & 7:45 AM EST
Jimmy Walker, Brooks Koepka and Martin Kaymer
Hudson Swafford, Rickie Fowler and Daniel Berger
Note: I'm playing Bluejack National on Thursday and will be doing an Instagram story, follow along by following our Instagram account.
Back to South Africa
With many of the European Tour’s elite teeing it up at the Honda Classic, the rest head to Joburg, South Africa, for the Joburg Open. The event will be filled with young international talent, including Haydn Porteus, who captured his first career European Tour title at last year’s event as a 21-year-old. Some other young names to watch at the event include Hao Tong Li, Brandon Stone, Tom Detry, Zander Lombard and Romaine Langasque.
LSU and Stanford tussle atop the Prestige leaderboard.
Lexi Thompson is set to defend her LPGA Thailand Open crown.
Watch Tiger and Rory each hit incredible shots on the 18th at PGA National to win the Honda.
More Fake News
On Monday morning, No Laying Up caught wind of a golf game between Donald Trump and Rory McIlroy. Unfortunately for the president, the White House reported that he was only playing a couple of holes, not 18, causing officials to backtrack. Read the full story including a Rory injury update here.
A coffee mug is almost like a caddy
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