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Honda Classic Course Preview and Odds: Tough Scoring Expected in Florida

Tom Jacobs gives us his Honda Classic course preview and odds breakdown. This event is steeped in history. While the field is weaker due to the event’s spot in the schedule, there are still some great names in the field.
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Honda Classic Course Preview and Odds: Tough Scoring Expected in Florida

We now move to the East Coast, as we head to Florida for the first of four events in the Sunshine State. 

The PGA Tour starts here, before heading to Bay Hill for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and TPC Sawgrass for the PLAYERS Championship. The players will then head to the Valspar Championship before leaving for Texas and Augusta. 

We have just come from Riviera, which is meant to be up there among the toughest examinations, but not for Joaquin Niemann, who finished at -19, but got to -21 on multiple occasions. 

Let’s take a look at what the players can expect here at PGA National, at their first stop in Florida. 

The Course

PGA National

  • Length: 7,125 Yards
  • Par: 70
  • Greens: Bermuda
  • Designer: Tom Fazio (Redesigned by Jack Nicklaus in 1990 and 2014)
  • Course Record: 61 (Brian Harman 2012, Matt Jones 2021)

Click here for Honda Classic odds

I will focus on Jack Nicklaus as well as Tom Fazio here, given how big of a renovation Nicklaus did here in 1990, in order to get his ready to host this event for the first time in 2007. He then touched it up again in 2014. 

Tom Fazio

Quail Hollow Club (Wells Fargo Championship)

Rory McIlroy has won at both courses. 

Rickie Fowler has won at both courses.

Vijay Singh has won at both courses.

Keith Mitchell won here in 2019 and has 3rd and 8th place finishes at Quail Hollow.

Justin Thomas has won at both courses (won PGA Championship at Quail Hollow).

Anthony Kim won at Quail Hollow and finished 2nd here.

Luke List was a playoff loser here in 2018 and finished T6 at Quail Hollow in 2021 and T9 in 2018. 

Firestone Country Club (WGC Bridgestone 1999-2001 & 2003-2018)

Justin Thomas has won at both courses.

Rory McIlroy has won at both courses. 

Adam Scott has won at both courses.

Vijay Singh has won at both courses.

Rory Sabbatini won the Honda and finished 2nd to Tiger Woods at Firestone. 

Luke Donald has won the Honda and finished 2nd, while also finishing 2nd at Firestone.

Ryan Palmer has been 2nd at both courses.

Jack Nicklaus

Glen Abbey Golf Club (Canadian Open, various, recently 2015-2018)

Dudley Hart won twice on the PGA Tour. The first came at the Canadian Open, at Glen Abbey Golf Club (1996) and he followed that up with a win here in 2000.

Vijay Singh won at both courses.

Nick Price won at both courses.

Jhonnatan Vegas is a two-time winner at Glen Abbey (2016, 2017) and finished 4th here in 2017.

Brandon Hagy finished 2nd here in 2021 and 5th at Glen Abbey in 2017.

Gary Woodland finished 2nd here in 2017, and 4th at Glen Abbey in the same year.

Tommy Fleetwood has finished 3rd and 4th here, and 6th at Glen Abbey in 2018.

Mackenzie Hughes finished 2nd here in 2020, and 8th at Glen Abbey in 2018.

Concession Golf Club:

This course was used on the PGA Tour for the first time last year, when hosting the WGC-Workday Championship. 

With just a 1-year sample, we should tread carefully, but there was some crossover between the two events, and with both courses in Florida, it makes sense.  Billy Horschel and Brooks Koepka finished T2 there that week. Horschel has two top-8’s at this golf course, and Koepka finished T2 here in 2019. 

Rory McIlroy has a win and a playoff loss at this event, and finished T6 at Concession last year. 

Correlating Courses & Events

See above for Quail Hollow, Glen Abbey, Firestone and Concession links. The strongest correlation in the current PGA Tour rota however is the one below.

Sony Open (Waialae Country Club)

Given it’s location, the Sony Open can be affected by wind, and with Bermuda greens both there and here at PGA National, it makes sense that there’s some crossover between the two short courses. 

Justin Thomas has won at both courses.

Russell Henley has won at both courses. 

Mark Wilson has won at both courses. 

Ernie Els has won at both courses. 

Ryan Palmer has won the Sony and lost in a playoff here.

Adam Scott has won here and finished 2nd at the Sony.

Stuart Appleby has won here and finished 2nd at the Sony.

Brendan Steele has back-to-back top-4 finishes here and has finished 2nd at the Sony and been in contention to win multiple times there.

There’s plenty more, but that’s enough column inches to prove the point. 

Make sure you check out the latest Honda Classic odds here

Course Form (Past 10 Years)

Below is the Top-10 for adjusted scoring average over the past 10 years at this event:

Tommy Fleetwood - 4-3

Sungjae Im - 51-1-8

Brandon Hagy - 21-MC-21-2

Daniel Berger - 2-MC-MC-29-36-3-4

Kramer Hickok - 30-21

Rickie Fowler - 7-13-24-41-6-1-MC-2-MC-65

Aaron Wise - 33-35-13

C.T. Pan - 37-17-MC-MC-3

Nick Watney - 24-41-14-33-51-27

Gary Woodland - 68-61-2-49-36-8

If we remove Tommy Fleetwood and Kramer Hickok as they’ve played just twice here, that brings in a pair of wily veterans from England: 

Luke Donald - 8-7-61-27-MC-11-MC

Lee Westwood - 4-9-46-25-4-MC

Key Stats

SG Approach - Back to the obvious, but on a short course, with a ton of water and where pars can be good, it is vital you get yourself in birdie range often, and convert where you can on these Bermuda greens. 

Bermuda Putting - A move to the East Coast means a move to Bermuda Greens, and for many that will be a relief, after the unpredictable nature of the Poa surfaces they have been playing on. 

Par 4 Scoring - Any time the winning score flirts with double digits, you’re going to need solid play on the intermediate holes, and then make your birdies on the par-5’s.

Scrambling - With the crosswinds here, and the fact it’s a heavily-bunkered layout, it is no great surprise that players getting it up and down here is imperative. Whether it’s out of the bunkers or just off the green, any winner is going to have chippped and putted well. Perhaps look at sand saves as well. 

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Tom Jacobs is the host of the Lost Fore Words golf podcast and has been writing betting articles on golf for the past decade. Tom also co-hosts the DP World Tour Picks & Bets show on the Mayo Media Network, so has his finger on the pulse on all the major Tours. A long-suffering Nottingham Forest fan, Tom also enjoys watching Soccer at the weekend, and was delighted to see his Forest team win promotion this season!

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