Honda Classic betting tips & predictions – the Honda Classic is played each spring in Florida and marks the start of the Florida Swing. The tournament was founded in 1972 as the Inverrary Classic and since 1982 Honda has been the title sponsor.
PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida has hosted the tournament since 2007. The Champion Course at PGA National was opened in November 1981 and was designed by Tom and George Fazio. The course has played host to the 1983 Ryder Cup, the 1987 PGA Championship and the Senior PGA Championship from 1982-2000.
Following a redesign of the course by Jack Nicklaus in 1990, holes 15, 16 and 17 became known as the infamous “Bear Trap“. These holes are three of the hardest on a tough and challenging course.
Water is in play on 16 holes and there are 100+ bunkers. The course annually ranks as one of the most difficult in GIR so solid iron play is key. Blustery conditions are not unusual for this time of year in Florida so an ability to play in wind is a plus. If the wind gets up the layout becomes a very tricky test and missing the fairways makes it even more of a struggle.
PGA National is a challenging layout with a premium on ball-striking making it a very similar test to that experienced at Riviera
With the PGA Tour migrating from to the East Coast it will be interesting to see how the form on the ‘West-Coast-Swing’ translates to the ‘Florida-Swing’.
The layout is not straightforward in terms of being able to find a profile that fits
Last year, Keith Mitchell captured the Honda Classic for his first win on the PGA Tour. He carded a final round -3 (67) to finish on -9 (271) for the tournament. He birdied four of his final seven holes to finish one stroke clear of Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler.
“I was trying to focus on what was going on. My mind started wandering there a little bit at the end and then I hit a great putt”
Over 90% of his shots gained on the field average came tee-to-green, gaining an impressive 11.917 strokes for the week in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category. Mitchell finished the week 8th in Driving Distance, T54 for Driving Accuracy, T22 in GIR and 38th in Strokes Gained Putting.
In 2018, Justin Thomas signed for a final round -2 (68) to force a playoff with Luke List. A birdie on the first hole of the playoff was enough to land JT his eighth career victory.
“It means a lot to win any golf tournament. It would mean more the fact of how prestigious this golf tournament is and the list of winners that have won this event, and how strong of a field it is, difficult of a golf course”
Almost 90% of Thomas’ strokes gained on the field average came tee-to-green (14.096) with his approach play contributing the lion’s share of the gain. Thomas finished the week 1st in Driving Distance, T60 for Driving Accuracy, T14 in GIR and 28th in Strokes Gained Putting
In 2017, Rickie Fowler, emerged victorious to win his 4th PGA Tour title. He carded a final round +1 (71) to finish on -12 (268), four shots clear of the chasing pack. Fowler had this to say after the final round;
“I started with a four shot lead and I still won by four, so I didn’t play great, it wasn’t a pretty round, but we got the job done. A win is a win.”
Fowler finished the week 12th in Driving Distance, T17 for Driving Accuracy, T18 in GIR and 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting. He gained a total of 7.4 strokes on the field average from putting and gained another 6.8 strokes from Off-The-Tee and Approach-The-Green combined.
The 2016 champion, Adam Scott, finished the week 10th in Driving Distance, T10 in Driving Accuracy, 1st for GIR and 23rd for Strokes Gained Putting. The Aussie’e approach shots contributed 55% of his total gain on the field average, followed by driving at 28%.
In a nutshell, players will need to have a solid ball striking week, be able to manoeuvre the ball in windy conditions, putt and scramble well and avoid big numbers in the Bear Trap
Honda Classic Betting Tips 2020