We’re headed to picturesque PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida for the first event of the year on the American east coast.
Past Honda Classic winners in the field include Rory McIlroy, defending champion Rickie Fowler and two-time winner Padraig Harrington.
How could anyone forget the popular Irishman’s Monday playoff win v Daniel Berger in 2015?
This year’s tournament also comes 10 years after his first win here back in 2008.
We’re back on Bermuda greens after a few weeks on Poa annua grass. Interesting we know, but hear us out!
Players’ proficiency on these grass types can vary wildly and you need to be aware of who tends to handle this change the best.
Bermuda is a tougher style of grass, used in more tropical climates where the temperatures get very high. It’s main characteristic when used on green surfaces is grain. Bermuda grass tends to grow with very strong grain and this can move putts left or right, or make them slower or faster depending on which way it’s growing.
Poa grass is much smoother than Bermuda though and has very little grain to deal with. It produces high quantities of seeds when it grows, so Poa greens get quite bumpy to putt on in the late afternoons.
Didn’t you learn something new there! Now for the weather report:
Without fail, the wind always blows at Palm Beach Gardens. It’s very rarely do we get a calm Honda Classic and the forecast looks set for a decent breeze to be up all week. So choose your bets accordingly.
Daniel Berger – 33/1
We’ll all remember him bravely losing out to Harrington in 2015. This was when he first properly caught the eye of most golf fans. He’s a player that can blow quite hot and cold, so his missed cut at the Genesis Open last week doesn’t raise too much concern. He’s also very much at home on the Bermuda greens as a native Floridian.
Ryan Palmer – 60/1
Palmer has shown some nice form of late, he has some really fond memories here and on courses of this nature.
He struggles with the putter at the best of times, but he’s generally at his most effective back on Bermuda.
Nap of the Week: Rory Sabbatini to be Top South African – 5/1
Louis Oosthuizen has been off for a month since he was last seen. He generally plays quite a lot at this time of year and for a player who has had injury worries in the past, his recent absences are a slight worry. Dylan Frittelli is teeing it up here for the first time, while he’s playing well, there’s a lot for him to get his head around.
Elsewhere, Retief Goosen and Tyrone van Aswegen both had a gruelling, major style test at the Genesis Open last week making it hard to know how fresh they will be – especially the 49-year-old Goosen.
So, that leaves us with Rory Sabbatini! He’s had a break since Pebble Beach, where a final round 78 ruined what was going to be another solid week for him. He seems to have recaptured some form over the past few weeks and this course holds good memories for him, with his last victory coming here in 2011.
* All odds correct at time of posting.