The Honda Classic Preview 2023

Flaaaaaahrida, Jerry!

2023 The Honda Classic

PGA National Resort & Spa

Champion Course

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Weekly Readers:

Horses for Courses – click here

Betting Stat Pack – click here

Expert Picks – click here

Odds Outlook – click here

Bolton’s Bonanza

I’d tell you to follow him on Twitter but if you’re here you probably ain’t on Twitter! @RobBoltonGolf just in case!

2023 Qualifiers for PLAYERS, majors


Time for sunshine, sweat and sea breeze!

PGA National’s Champion Course kicks off the Florida Swing with the return to Bermuda everything, heat and humidity plus plenty of sand and water.

The tournament record is 13-under so you can do the math on how difficult the Par-70 (7,125 yards) plays annually. Over the last three years exactly TWO PLAYERS have posted 10-under or better. Exposed tee shots and approaches plus wind-swept putting surfaces equate to plenty of bogeys, frustration and drops. The bunkers aren’t easy and neither are the driving conditions. The 7,000 square foot greens allow for less-than-perfect approach shots but getting it close helps. Running at only 12 feet because of the possibility of EXTRA WIND will help get putts close.

With all the talk about “The Bear Trap” on the backside, Holes Nos. 5-7 actually play harder as a trio. Each nine has a difficult stretch and one Par-5 opportunity. The cut here has been under par once in the last eight years so grind out something close to Even and you’ll get 36 more chances on the weekend.

Internationals and first time winners run well here. So have a pair of 40-somethings. Find somebody who can control their golf ball and isn’t afraid to grind out pars for most of the week!

Good luck!

Host CourseChampion Course at PGA National
Yards (per official scorecard):7,125
Par:70 (35-35).
Greens:TifEagle Bermuda; 7,000 square feet.
Stimpmeter:12 feet.
Rough:TifSport Bermuda over seeded with Rye at 2.5 inches and counting.
Bunkers/Water Hazards/In Play60/15/15
Architect(s):George and Tom Fazio (1982); Jack Nicklaus Companies (2018).
Purse:$8.4 million; ($1.512 winner plus 500 FedExCup points).
Defending Champion:Sepp Straka
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:None
72 Hole Tournament Record:267; Camilo Villegas (2010).
Course Record:61; Matt Jones (2021, Rd. 2); Brian Harman (2012, Rd. 1).
Oldest Winner:43; Padraig Harrington (2015).
Youngest Winner:21; Sungjae Im (2020).
Fact of the Week:The last three winners and five of the last eight are internationals.
Fact of the Week II:Of the last four winners three have won on TOUR for the first time.


  • Field of 144
  • Cut to Top 60 and ties after two rounds

Honda is wrapping up their 42nd and final tournament as title sponsor. This is the 17th consecutive season playing PGA National’s Champion Course.

Season Winners

2022-2023 Season Winners

Fortinet ChampionshipMax Homa
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipMackenzie Holmes
Shriners Children’s OpenTom Kim
Butterfield Bermuda ChampionshipSeamus Power
Mayakoba ChampionshipRussell Henley
Cadence Bank Houston OpenTony Finau
The RSM ClassicAdam Svensson (first TOUR win)
Sentry Tournament of ChampionsJon Rahm
Sony Open in HawaiiSi Woo Kim
Farmers Insurance OpenMax Homa (2)
AT&T Pebble BeachJustin Rose
WM Phoenix OpenScottie Scheffler
The Genesis InvitationalJon Rahm (3)

Recent Event Winners

Italics – not entered this week

2022Sepp Straka (-10)Birdies 3 of his last 4 to post 10-under and win for the first time on TOUR.
2021Matt Jones (-12)Set the course record in Round 2 and never looked back, winning by five.
2020Sungjae Im (-6)Highest winning total since 2015 as he became a first time winner and youngest at the event.
2019Keith Mitchell (-9)Picked up his first TOUR win as he held off Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka by a shot.
2018Justin Thomas (-8)Knocked off Luke List in a playoff.
2017Rickie Fowler (-12)Missed tying the tournament record by a shot as he cruised home by four.
2016Adam Scott (-9)Made a QUADRUPLE BOGEY on Sunday and still won!
2015Padraig Harrington  (-6)Defeated Daniel Berger in a Monday playoff.

This Week – The Honda Classic

Well, after two weeks of designated or elevated we get exasperated with our field this week.

It happens.

I actually enjoy it because it makes me dig deeper. Who didn’t think Rahm or Homa was going to win last week? Right. Now we’ve got to adjust and that frees the brain up!


This week you’ll need a wind player or two, a few who love and grew up on Bermuda and probably a couple of Florida residents.

Now, getting those from a deep pool from each category will do some doing.

The Champion Course isn’t a place where you show up and it fixes what ails you. There are too many penalty areas and Eden Hazards. Tight fairways and big greens will help the accurate inaccurates. Power players are still preferable here because playing out of the rough with wedges makes for easier GIR.

Mother Nature will have her say this week as the breezes can be relentless. Keep an eye on the weather/wind as you set daily lineups.


So close with Max Homa last week but I can hardly complain about firing a premium player and taking home just over $2 million.

Now, $3.6 million would have been nice but it’s not like he lost a playoff to a Monday Qualifier. Great fight, great theatre on a GREAT golf course.

We move on.

Honda isn’t going to keep me up at night on this selection. There are two trends that jump out: Internationals and first time winners. Well three I guess because two of the last three have been first time internationals haha.


Breezy, Florida conditions and grass won’t bother this transplant. The Jupiter resident plays here annually and went close last year before a deluge in the final 30 minutes soaked his chances to force a playoff.

MY CHOICE: Shane Lowry

Others to consider:

Min Woo Lee – Australian has won on breezy links before and is looking to cement his place in THE PLAYERS with a big finish.

Denny McCarthy – Solid recent, solid course, super short game.

Adam Svensson – Windy winner at RSM, T9 last week and is INTERNATIONAL.

Sungjae Im – Former champ is showing us he plays well where he plays well and this definitely qualifies.

Just missed:  Any other Australians, Ben An, Ryan Palmer (new caddy this week), Chris Kirk, and Danny Willett

Chalk (via BetMGM)

Sungjae Im (+850): What a difference a week makes. Former champ has a pair of top 10 paydays from four starts and a MC from last year. Sums up the field this week!

Shane Lowry (+1600): Safest play on the board for me so I’ll take the blame for his MC this week! No problem with the conditions or Florida. It’s a clue where guys play an event every year!

Aaron Wise (+2200): No idea why this is the number this week. Last two times on TOUR he’s went home early. I get he’s posted a pair of 64s here but feels like a stretch. Congrats on your win, Aaron!

Chris Kirk (+2500): His part of the world and his surface. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t in the fight on Sunday.

Denny McCarthy (+2500): Checks the first timer box and his last two here are his best two. Gotta have in the lineups this week.

Matt Kuchar (+2500): First visit since 2011 but gives the Matt Jones/Paddy Harrington vibe. Hasn’t won since breezy, Bermuda at Waialae in 2019.

Min Woo Lee (+2500): Aussies don’t mind a bit of sand and sea with breeze all around. 

Billy Horschel (+2800): Florida resident hasn’t found any inspiration since Congaree.

Top 10/Top 20/Top 40 (less than +10000)

Harris English

JT Poston

Thomas Detry

Joseph Bramlett

Justin Suh

Russell Knox

Long Shots

Use ’em wherever you see fit! All players listed are +10000 or worse and are for a reason or two!

Peter Malnati

Callum Tarren

Any and all Coody Twins

Purdue guys

Hank Lebioda

Brian Gay

Last Week – The Genesis Invitational

Chalk (via BetMGM)

Jon Rahm (+750): Same number as last week! Essentially same course form. Nothing better than 66 or worse than 68 last week with less than his best.  Best stroke average in the field with 10 or more rounds on his books. WINNER as he outdueled Max Homa on Sunday for his third win of the season and first at The Riviera Country Club.

Rory McIlroy (+900): Playing with Tiger and JT should feel like a home game. Unbelievable to think NONE OF THEM have won here. Managing the circus is part of it but so is feeding off one another. Sat right in the mix after 36 holes but didn’t break par on the weekend. Sluggish 2023 in the States continues. T29.

Scottie Scheffler (+1000): Best of his three visits last year and it came after his first win. Not sure what, if anything, bothers him. Bit boring but effective as hell! Ho hum four more rounds of 70 or better for T12. Imagine if he wasn’t T54 in putting for the week!

Justin Thomas (+1400): Moves up the board this week at a course where he’s MC in 2 of his last 3 starts! He’s hit the top 10 in three of his last five though. I’ll save him for Bermuda. Weird to type in four starts on the West Coast swing that he only cracked the top 10 once. T20.

Tony Finau (+1600): His part of the world on his grass! A pair of runner up finishes in the last five years and a streak of five straight at the event. Saved his best (67) for last to backdoor a T20.

Xander Schauffele (+1600): Only one top 10 here from five starts. T33 makes it one from six.

Max Homa (+2000): Keep reading everything I’ve posted this week. Went toe-to-toe and shot-for-shot but fell just short. Solo second.

Collin Morikawa (+2200): For a guy who lives at The Summit Club and plays a TON of golf in Las Vegas, last week’s MC was a mystery. T2 here last year in benign conditions on 17-under. Just gotta play him every week on non-Bermuda and see what happens haha. T6.

Patrick Cantlay (+2500): Like Schauffele, only one top. MC last week should have him eager to bounce back. Ah, the old MC-3rd in back-to-back weeks. Right. Got it. Back bounced.

Top 10/Top 20/Top 40

Jordan Spieth – How much do YOU trust his putter? MC

Sungjae Im – Nothing here in three visits but back to back top 10s on TOUR.  T56

Jason Day – See: Im, Sungjae.  Run of top 10 paydays is now three straight T9.

Adam Scott – All you can get. 65th suggests that wasn’t a good idea.

Seamus Power – Run of T25 or better is impressive. T14 as it continues!



Not winning or hitting the podium on these weeks is turning into my specialty! I’m going with SoCal experience and a 2000s trend.

MY CHOICE: Max Homa – Solo second and $2.16 million.


Others to consider:

Scottie Scheffler

Xander Schauffele

Justin Thomas

Tony Finau

Just missed:  Adam Scott, Jason Day (no course history), Keegan Bradley,

Long Shots

Use ’em wherever you see fit! All players listed are +10000 or worse and are for a reason or two!

Adam Hadwin – 66th

Patrick Rodgers – MC

Beau Hossler – MC

Tiger Woods – T45

Cam Davis – MC

James Hahn – MC

Lanto Griffin – WD

Stewart Cink – MC

JB Holmes -T67


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s