Spotlight on | Golf

Adam Scott, Brooks Koepka to play in Honda Classic

Golfer Adam Scott is pictured.
Golfer Adam Scott is pictured.
Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

Special to the Miami Herald

This is fishing season for the Honda Classic. They are fishing for top players, and the tournament recently reeled in exactly what it wants.

Two players they coveted have been hooked.

The first would be Adam Scott, one of the game’s top players with a 2013 Masters victory already on his résumé. The other is rising pro Brooks Koepka, who will bring a local interest to the tournament to be held Feb. 27-March 2 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.

However, with those two firmly in place, there’s no word whether Tiger Woods will play in the Honda. If Honda gets Tiger for the third consecutive year, which seems somewhat likely barring injury because he lives 20 minutes from the course on nearby Jupiter Island, the announcement more than likely will be revealed with a lot of fanfare a few weeks before the tournament tees off.

As they say, save the best for last.

Scott certainly ranks among the best, though.

He is the first Australian to win the Masters, and he finished fourth in the FedEx standings last season. He also has finished third at the British Open.

On winning The Masters, Scott said, “The moment of sheer joy is very short. It didn’t carry on for days and days. It’s numbed by formalities and all those other things. It was only a few hours and then the Hilton Head tournament started. It’s incredible that a lifelong dream can be achieved and it’s so short.”

This year, Scott is skipping the PGA Tour’s West Coast swing but will be working on his game in The Bahamas before heading to the Honda.

“There’s got to be a break somewhere,” Scott said. “I could have kept playing [in the West Coast tournaments]. ... But you can’t play at the level you want if you play all the time. I’m forcing myself to take a break.”

Of his time in the Bahamas, he said, “I’ll work on my game a lot.”

Koepka obviously isn’t as big a name as Scott, but he’s well-known in the Palm Beach area and might have the biggest gallery because of family and friends during the tournament.

“Brooks is a true local,” Honda Classic executive director Ken Kennerly said. “He was born here, went to school here and was a leading member of the Cardinal Newman High School team. He has carried the banner for Palm Beach County junior golf for the past several years.

“Now his game is at a level where he can compete seriously at The Honda Classic.”

Koepka, a Florida State University graduate, has played in three majors and has won four times on the European Challenge Tour but never on the PGA Tour.

He readily admits to being a journeyman golfer, saying he wouldn’t mind going back and forth from the PGA Tour and European Tour.

However, all the travel can contribute to making him a bit dizzy.

“Sometimes,” Koepka said, “it’s hard to know how I feel when I don’t know where I’m going next.”

Strafaci leads

The Florida Junior Tour is a grueling, tiring series of golf tournaments with some of the best juniors in the world competing. The Tour is good because it’s Florida and the weather brings many of the nation’s best players down here.

Ty Strafaci, who plays for the talented Plantation American Heritage boys’ golf team, won the season 13-15 age division for that tour, which is a pretty impressive feat that places Strafaci in the country’s elite at an early age.

That’s a fact, Jack

Who invented the golf tee? Apparently, somebody who got tired of his hands getting dirty. Before there were wooden tees, golfers would hit off hand-built sand piles. Then tees were invented and became a staple of the game starting in the 1920s. And golfers no longer had a bunch of dirt and mud on their fingers.

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