The PGA Tour returns to stroke play this week after the one week shift at the Accenture Match Play Championship where Jason Day was crowned the 2014 match play champion. It is that time of year again, the Florida Swing on the PGA Tour. A full field of players will attempt to conquer the “Bear Trap” at PGA National (Champion) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida from the 27th of February until the 2nd of March at the 2014 Honda Classic. This year’s edition boasts one of the strongest fields to date during the 2014 season with 13 of the World’s Top-25 and the complete Top-8 all teeing it up in Florida.
PGA National (Champion) will play as a Par-70, 7,241 yard test for some of the world’s greatest looking to take home the $1,080,000 winner’s share of the $6 million dollar purse. Television coverage for the Honda Classic included Thursday-Friday from 2-6 PM EST and Saturday-Sunday from 1-3 PM EST on the Golf Channel with NBC covering the event from 3-6 PM EST on Saturday-Sunday.
Over 160,000 spectators are expected to come watch the world’s best attempt to tame PGA National (Champion) this week including the ominous 15th, 16th and 17th holes known as the “Bear Trap.” Predicting a winner in a full field golf tournament is like the proverbial needle in a haystack but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. Sure Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and a host of the best on tour are in the field but does that mean they are the logical win choices? Let’s get to the predictions and picks for the 2014 Honda Classic.
Honda Classic Pick – Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell has started out the PGA Tour portion of his 2014 season in solid form. Prior to the calendar year rollover he finished third at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions ad sixth at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge (unofficial). Since returning to competition this month, McDowell finished tied for seventh at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and tied for fifth with a quarterfinals loss at the Accenture Match Play Championship last week.
While he has not won this event, McDowell has showed a level of success at the Honda Classic with a tie for ninth in 2012 and 2013, and a tie for sixth in 2011. Clearly he has an affinity for PGA National and has proven, as a previous major champion, that there is no stage to big. The Honda Classic is right up his alley. Eight of his previous 12 rounds at PGA National has been at par or better including a final round 64 in 2011 with only one weekend round coming in over par during that span.
This will be McDowell’s third start off of his layoff and he has taken a step forward in each of the past two weeks. There is no reason not to expect the same step again this week which just might be enough. With some of the world’s best knocking the rust off this week, McDowell is in a great position to pick his way to the top at PGA National. In such a strong field it is not simple to pick a winner but I will back the man with the solid mentality and acumen suited to excel on the first stop of the 2014 Florida swing.
Who will win the 2014 Honda Classic?
- Player inside the World Top-10 (42%, 21 Votes)
- Player outside the World Top-10 (34%, 17 Votes)
- Graeme McDowell (24%, 12 Votes)
Total Voters: 50