The Honda ClassicTees Off: Thursday, February 27
PGA National Resort and Spa Ė Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Odds to Win Tournament(For the latest Odds, connect to Sportsbook.com)
|Charles Howell III||55-to-1|
Thursday's Honda Classic is sandwiched between two WGC events and will be important to get players ready for next week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. The tournament's importance is highlighted by the fact that the top-eight players on the Official World Golf Ranking are scheduled to play. This event moved to the Par-70 PGA National Golf Club back in 2007 and the average winning score has been 9-under par since then. Last year, Michael Thompson won his first and only PGA tournament at this course when he shot 9-under par and was one of only three players to shoot better than 3-under par over the four days. Letís take a look over some of the players in the field that could make a push at a victory this weekend.
Golfers to WatchTiger Woods (8/1): Woods is certainly not the dominant player that he once was, but his five victories in just 16 tournaments last season show that he certainly still possesses the ability to be the best on any given weekend. He finished 37th last season in this event, but was the runner-up to Rory McIlroy in 2012 when he shot a final-round 62 to finish 10-under par. He was also the runner-up to Zach Johnson in the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge in December, and his desire to be the best could put him over the top this week.
Graeme McDowell (23/1): McDowell looked great in match play this past week as he made it to the round of eight, defeating Gary Woodland, Hideki Matsuyama and Hunter Mahan in the process. He has also placed in the top-7 in each of the three tournaments he has played this season. This could be a great opportunity for McDowell to earn his third career PGA Tour victory.
Hideki Matsuyama (35/1): The 21-year old phenom from Japan has already won five tournaments in his home country and has a top-5 finish on the PGA Tour this season after placing fourth in Phoenix Open. He has used his solid putting (1.73 putts per hole, 24th on tour) and driving distance (296.9 yards per, 34th on tour) to make the 11th most birdies per round (4.17) and looks geared up to put his name amongst the best on tour.
Rickie Fowler (30/1): Fowler has adjusted his swing, and his excellent performance at Dove Mountain last week shows that he may be ready to compete at a high level once again. The 25-year-old beat some huge names (Ian Poulter, Jimmy Walker, Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk) on his way to a third-place finish in match play, giving him momentum for this weekend. Fowler has excelled over the past two seasons at this tourney, placing 7th in 2012 and then coming in 13th place last year.
Patrick Reed (75/1): The 23-year-old Reed has already earned two victories since becoming a professional back in 2011 and has placed in the top-20 in each of his past four tournaments this season. This includes a victory at the Humana Challenge last month. Reed currently ranks in the top-30 on tour in many different areas; including birdies per round (4.20, 11th), greens hit in regulation (72.5%, 20th), putting per hole (1.730, 24th), total driving (41, 28th) and sand saves (56.3%, 30th). Reed's complete game could bring him his third career PGA Tour win in Palm Beach Gardens.