PGA Tour
PGA - The Honda Classic Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, March 1st through Sunday, March 4th
SITE: PGA National Resort & Spa (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
COURSE ARCHITECT: Tom and George Fazio (1981), Jack Nicklaus (1990, 2002)
PAR: 70
YARDAGE: 7,110
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 365 Yds10 - Par 4 508 Yds
2 - Par 4 464 Yds11 - Par 4 450 Yds
3 - Par 5 538 Yds12 - Par 4 427 Yds
4 - Par 4 376 Yds13 - Par 4 388 Yds
5 - Par 3 217 Yds14 - Par 4 465 Yds
6 - Par 4 479 Yds15 - Par 3 179 Yds
7 - Par 3 226 Yds16 - Par 4 434 Yds
8 - Par 4 427 Yds17 - Par 3 190 Yds
9 - Par 4 421 Yds18 - Par 5 556 Yds
--------------------------
35 3,513 Yds35 3,597 Yds
 
Annual:  40th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 3-6 p.m. (et),
  - Thursday/Friday -- 8:30-11:30 p.m. (et) - replay,
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 1-3 p.m. (et),
  NBC - Saturday/Sunday -- 3-6 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Rory Sabbatini
Runner-Up:  Y.E. Yang
Tournament Record:  264 (Justin Leonard, 2003)
54-Hole Record:  196 (Davis Love III, 2003)
36-Hole Record:  128 (Dan Pohl, 1989)
18-Hole Record:  62 (Hale Irwin, 1979 - Inverrary G&CC)
  (Dan Pohl, 1989; Tim Herron, 1996 - TPC at Eagle Trace)
  (Jerry Kelly, Adam Scott, 2003 - Mirasol - Sunset Course)
Course Record:  64 (Luke Donald, 2008; Greg Chalmers, 2009; Stephen Ames,
  Mike Weir, Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Anthony Kim, 2010;
  Rory Sabbatini, Graeme McDowell, 2011)
Total Purse:  $5,700,000
Shares:  1st Place - $1,026,000; 2nd Place - $616,600; 3rd Place - $387,600
 
2011 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
Rory Sabbatini271Matt Bettencourt278
Y.E. Yang272Graeme McDowell278
Jerry Kelly273Jeff Overton278
Ricky Barnes276Gary Woodland278
Tommy Gainey277Four players at279
 
Past Honda Classic Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2011Rory Sabbatini (271) -- Y.E. Yang
2010Camilo Villegas (267) -- Anthony Kim
2009Y.E. Yang (271) -- John Rollins
2008Ernie Els (274) -- Luke Donald
2007*Mark Wilson (275) -- Jose Coceres, Boo Weekley, Camilo Villegas
2006Luke Donald (276) -- Geoff Ogilvy
2005*Padraig Harrington (274) -- Vijay Singh, Joe Ogilvie
2004Todd Hamilton (276) -- Davis Love III
2003Justin Leonard (264) -- Chad Campbell, Davis Love III
2002Matt Kuchar (269) -- Brad Faxon, Joey Sindelar
2001Jesper Parnevik (270) -- Craig Perks, Mark Calcavecchia, Geoff Ogilvy
2000Dudley Hart (269) -- J.P. Hayes, Kevin Wentworth
1999Vijay Singh (277) -- Payne Stewart
1998Mark Calcavecchia (270) -- Vijay Singh
1997Stuart Appleby (274) -- Michael Bradley, Payne Stewart
1996Tim Herron (271) -- Mark McCumber
1995Mark O'Meara (275) -- Nick Faldo
1994Nick Price (276) -- Craig Parry
1993*#Fred Couples (207) -- Robert Gamez
1992*Corey Pavin (273) -- Fred Couples
1991Steve Pate (279) -- Paul Azinger, Dan Halldorson
1990John Huston (282) -- Mark Calcavecchia
1989Blaine McCallister (266) -- Payne Stewart
1988Joey Sindelar (276) -- Ed Fiori, Sandy Lyle, Payne Stewart
1987Mark Calcavecchia (279) -- Bernhard Langer, Payne Stewart
1986Kenny Knox (287) -- Andy Bean, John Mahaffey, Jodie Mudd, Clarence Rose
1985*Curtis Strange (275) -- Peter Jacobsen
1984*Bruce Lietzke (280) -- Andy Bean
1983Johnny Miller (278) -- Jack Nicklaus
1982Hale Irwin (269) -- Jack Nicklaus, Denis Watson
1981Tom Kite (274) -- Jack Nicklaus
1980Johnny Miller (274) -- Charles Coody, Bruce Lietzke
1979Larry Nelson (274) -- Grier Jones
1978Jack Nicklaus (276) -- Grier Jones
1977Jack Nicklaus (275) -- Gary Player
1976@Jack Nicklaus (269) -- J.C.Snead (Tournament Players Championship)
1975Bob Murphy (273) -- Eddie Pearce
1974Leonard Thompson (278) -- Hale Irwin
1973Lee Trevino (279) -- Forrest Fezler
1972Tom Weiskopf (278) -- Jack Nicklaus

* - Won in Playoff

# - Rain Shortened

@ - Tournament Players Championship

Note:Formerly called Honda Inverrary Classic (1982-83), American Motors
Inverrary Classic (1981), Jackie Gleason's Inverrary Classic (1974-80), Jackie Gleason's Inverrary National Airlines Classic (1973) and Jackie Gleason's Inverrary Classic (1972). Inverrary Golf and Country Club served as host to the Tournament Players Championship in 1976.

Top Contenders in the Field
Player2002200320042005200620072008200920102011
Rory Sabbatini------T-9------------------Won
Y.E. Yang------------------T-72Wonmc2nd
Jerry KellyT-21T-8---------mcT-20mcT-123rd
Graeme McDowell---------T-65------------T-31T-6
Spencer Levin---------------------T-27mcT-14
Charl Schwartzel---------------------------T-14
Justin Leonard---WonT-25T-38mcmcT-30T-52T-17T-17
Robert Allenby---T-40T-4T-14T-31T-5T-4T-5mcT-21
Lee Westwood------------T-55---------T-9T-29
Ian Poulter------------T-41T-46---------T-36
Rory McIlroy---------------------T-13T-40T-70
Ernie Els------------------WonT-22T-67T-70
Camilo Villegas------------T-31T-2T-24mcWonmc
Johnson Wagner---------------T-68mcT-64T-40mc
Keegan Bradley---------------------------mc
Robert Karlsson---------------------------mc
Louis Oosthuizen---------------------------wd
Justin Rose---T-57T-36T-14------T-15mc3rd---
Padraig Harrington---------WonT-16T-13------T-40---
Mark Wilson---mc---T-63---Wonmcmc72nd---
Thomas Bjorn------------------------------
Tiger Woods------------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Lee Westwood
Darkhorse - Jimmy Walker
 
Last Week's Pick to Win - Match Play (McIlroy, D.Johnson) - Final, 3rd rd
Last Week's Darkhorse - Match Play (Oosthuizen, Jacobson) - 2nd rd, 1st rd
 
Last Week's Pick to Win - Mayakoba Classic (Spencer Levin) - Finished T-34
Last Week's Darkhorse - Mayakoba Classic (Jarrod Lyle) - Finished T-37
 
NOTES:
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. Six of the top-21 players in the world are scheduled to compete - Rory McIlroy (2), Lee Westwood (3), Charl Schwartzel (12), Graeme McDowell (15). Keegan Bradley (20) and Tiger Woods (21). Many European Tour players are playing in preparation for the WGC-Cadillac Championship next week at Doral. All four major championship winners from 2011 are in the field - Schwartzel (Masters), McIlroy (U.S. Open), Darren Clarke (British Open) and Bradley (PGA Championship).

McIlroy is coming off a runner-up finish at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Westwood lost in the semifinals to McIlroy. Woods is playing in this event for the first time as a professional. He missed the cut in 1993 as an amateur.

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 Nicklaus in 1990 and 2002. PGA National ranked as the toughest course on the PGA Tour in 2011 outside of the major championships, with a scoring average of 72.540 (+2.540).

Last year, Rory Sabbatini fired rounds of 71-64-66-70 to hold off 2009 champion Y.E. Yang and win. Sabbatini, who won for the sixth time on the PGA Tour, finished at nine-under-par 271. Sabbatini's 64 in the second round matched the course record.

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 two-under 68 on the final day and completed his first PGA Tour title at nine-under-par 271. He joined K.J. Choi as the only two Koreans to win on the PGA Tour. Yang went on to win the PGA Championship in 2009, coming from behind to defeat Woods in the final round.

Yang became the 11th 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) and Mark Wilson (2007).

In 2008, Ernie Els fired a final-round 67 to come from three strokes down at the start of the day to win. Els finished at six-under-par 274 to beat 2006 champion Luke Donald by one shot. The victory for Els was his first on the PGA Tour since the 2004 WGC-American Express Championship in Ireland.

Geoff Ogilvy became the fifth player in tournament history to record a double- eagle in 2006, when he holed out from 180 yards with an eight-iron. The other players who have double eagles are: Bruce Lietzke (1980), David Sutherland (2000), Tim Petrovic (2002) and James McLean (2003).

Padraig Harrington holed a six-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 six-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 two straight years (1977-78). Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Mark Calcavecchia are the only multiple champions. In addition, Nicklaus won this event in 1976 when it hosted The Tournament Players Championship.

Over the years, this tournament has been staged at many sites. From 1972 through 1983 the tournament 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 it 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 one-shot victory at this event. Jesper Parnevik (2001) and Herron (1996) are the only wire-to-wire winners in tournament history. Nine players have gone on to win after sharing or holding sole possession of the 36-hole lead - Nicklaus (1977), Curtis Strange (1985), Knox (1986), Steve Pate (1991), Mark O'Meara (1995), Herron (1996), Parnevik (2001), Yang (2009) and Camilo Villegas (2010).

The PGA Tour continues its Florida swing in Miami next week for the WGC-Cadillac Championship, as Nick Watney defends his title at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral against the best players in the world. The rest of the PGA Tour will be at the Puerto Rico Open, where Michael Bradley captured the 2011 event.

02/28 14:45:16 ET

As of February 28, 2012, at 02:45 PM ET