Getting Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the current Nos. 1 and 3 golfers in the world, to compete in your tournament is not just happenstance — it’s a lot of work and planning months ahead of time, but it is done on a low-key level.
Nobody knows that better than Ken Kennerly, the Honda Classic’s executive director, and Ed McEnroe, the tournament director.
“It’s a year-long process,” Kennerly said of trying to get the world’s top golfers to participate in his tournament.
There is no strong-arming. That just doesn’t work.
A year ago, the Honda Classic got McIlroy and Woods to enter, and the two put on a memorable show.
Woods eagled the final hole, and on the green six holes behind, McIlroy could hear the fans whooping and hollering and knew exactly what it meant.
McIlroy also knew exactly what he had to do. The always-friendly, usually smiling McIlroy put on a stern and determined face and then made par on the final five holes to hold off Woods to win the Honda Classic and ascend to No. 1 in the world.
Kennerly is hopeful of getting McIlroy and Woods, the only three-time winners on the PGA Tour so far this season, to come back for next year’s tournament. But at this point that’s exactly what it is — hoping. There are no guarantees.
A year ago, Woods, who lives up the road on Jupiter Island, decided to enter just slightly more than two weeks before the tournament.
“We don’t know what will happen with Tiger,” Kennerly said. “We anticipate he’ll play, and we hope he’ll play. He played well here last year, and needless to say, we think he had a nice experience. We hope he looks favorably on us.
“But these guys control their own schedules. We don’t want to be too much in their face, but we want to be a friend and let them know we’re here.”
The 2013 Honda Classic will be held Feb. 28 through March 3, and among the upgrades will be a revamping of the hospitality centers on the course.
“Everything is a go, and it’s all going well so far,” Kennerly said.
Owners of Premier Cards, an organization in which you pay only cart fees for the summer months, get an extra bonus from Wednesday through Sept. 27.
The card is normally good only for yourself, but during those three weeks at certain courses, a card member can bring up to three other individuals at the same price the Premier Card provides, usually the price of cart rental or $25 to $30.
The bad news: Yes, it is hot. The good news: There are fewer people on the courses. A round in 3 1/2 hours is usually the case. The courses participating are some of the best of Miami-Dade and Broward counties — Carolina Club; Normandy Shores; Country Club of Miami; Palmetto; Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne; Pembroke Lakes; Grand Palms; Shula’s Golf Club; Miami Shores; and Woodmont’s Cypress Course.
Nova ranked No. 1
The Nova Southeastern University men’s golf team earned 15 of 18 first-place votes to be ranked No. 1 in the 2012-13 Golf World/Nike Division II poll.
Nova is the defending NCAA Division II champion
The Sharks of Broward County won a year ago and never finished worse than fifth in 11 starts. The team returns four of the five players who competed in the 2012 NCAA Division II Championships, including Ben Taylor, who earned the Jack Nicklaus Award as Division II Collegiate Player of the Year. Last season, Taylor posted a 70.96 scoring average.
For South Florida, the preseason poll was a preseason sweep as Barry University of Miami-Dade received 417 points to trail top-ranked Nova Southeastern by seven points.