In years past, the Honda Classic
was perceived by some as the least prestigious of the Florida Swing events. This was in the face of Doral, Arnold Palmer's tournament in Orlando, and the Players Championship.
Today, things are dramatically different, in part because in 2007, the PGA Tour moved the Players Championship to May and in part because of the new venue — PGA National Resort & Spa. The inclusion of military personnel and the Patriots' Outpost Pavilion are also particularly welcome touches.
The top-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking (Tiger Woods, of course), #2 Adam Scott, #3 Henrik Stenson, #5 Phil Mickelson, #7 Zach Johnson, and #8 Rory McIlroy (minus the "tooth ailment") are all in this week's field. Also playing is last year's champion, Michael Thompson, who is currently ranked 81st in the OWGR.
But the absentee list is starting to grow:
- OWGR #4 Jason Day is taking a week off following his dramatic playoff victory at the WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona. (You can hardly blame him.)
- OWGR #23 Victor Dubuisson, the runner-up to Day on Sunday, is also not in the field. But due to his second-place finish at the WGC-Match Play, the European Tour member has now earned special temporary exemption on the PGA Tour through the rest of the season. You should see more of the Frenchman later this year, including at the Masters Tournament.
In the meantime, Dubuisson gave a very thoughtful hat-tip to the winner:
- OWGR #6 Current U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, ranked 6th in the Official World Golf Ranking, is on the shelf with tendonitis in his right shoulder. Rose originally injured his shoulder last August at The Barclays and has, thus far, missed the PGA Tour stop at Torrey Pines and the European Tour's stop in Abu Dhabi for the same reason.
It is somewhat difficult to predict whether or not Rose will play at all before the Masters Tournament begins on April 10. After this week's Honda Classic and next week's Puerto Rico Open, the WGC-Cadillac Championship will be March 9-6 at Trump National Dural. After that is the Valspar, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Valero Texas Open, and the Shell Houston Open.
- Scott Piercy is out for the next three to four months after undergoing elbow surgery earlier this week. According to a press release from his management firm, Piercy said, "I've never felt so much pain in my life." Piercy's most recent PGA Tour win came at the 2012 RBC Canadian Open.
Here's hoping that Piercy will be healed by the time the 2014 RBC Canadian Open begins on July 24.
Also somewhat interesting is that, as of Wednesday, the official Honda Classic web site was still advertising that the top eight players in the OWGR would play in the tournament. That would have been a first for the Honda Classic.
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