The PGA Tour’s West Coast Swing concluded last week at Riviera Country Club with Dustin Johnson winning the Genesis Open and moving into the No.1 spot in the world rankings. This week, the PGA Tour travels cross-country from Pacific Palisades to Palm Beach Gardens to the PGA National Resort & Spa for the Honda Classic.
The Champion course at PGA National Resort & Spa brings to mind one thing: “The Bear Trap,” the diabolical three-hole stretch of the par-3 15th, par-4 16th, and par-3 17th holes named after Jack Nicklaus, who redesigned the course in 2014.
Leading up to its becoming the home of the Honda Classic, the Champions course was the site of the Ryder Cup in 1983, the PGA Championship in 1971 and 1987 and the Senior PGA Championship for 19 years, from 1982–2000.
The course conditions this week will be similar to that of a major championship as the rough is three inches deep and the greens are rolling 11.7 on the Stimpmeter according to the Golf Channel.
According to Golf Digest, since the tournament moved to PGA National, it has ranked among the top-8 most difficult courses on the PGA Tour every season but one
The tournament was originated as Jackie Gleason’s Inverrary Classic in 1972. It has been known as the Honda Classic since 1982.
Originally designed by Tom and George Fazio for major tournament play, the Champion course has hosted the Honda Classic since 2007. Prior to moving to its current home at PGA National, the event was contested at multiple venues including the Country Club at Mirasol and TPC at Heron Bay.
The iconic list of past champions at the Honda Classic includes Lee Trevino (1973), Jack Nicklaus (1977, 1978), Johnny Miller (1980, 1983), Curtis Strange (1985), Fred Couples (1993), Nick Price (1994), Vijay Singh (1999), Luke Donald (2006), Ernie Els (2008), Rory McIlory (2012) and Adam Scott (2016).
Scott is attempting to become only the second player in tournament history to repeat after Nicklaus in 1977-78 and the first since the event has been played at PGA National.
The tournament’s main beneficiary is the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, chaired by Barbara Nicklaus, wife of Jack Nicklaus.