Spotlight on | Golf

With names like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, the Honda Classic is now a prestigious event

 
 
Tiger Woods tees off on the fourth tee during the final round of the Honda Classic golf tournament on March 3, 2013, in Palm Beach Gardens.
Tiger Woods tees off on the fourth tee during the final round of the Honda Classic golf tournament on March 3, 2013, in Palm Beach Gardens.
Wilfredo Lee / AP

Special to the Miami Herald

Some eight years ago the Honda Classic was not one of the spotlight tournaments on the PGA Tour.

Actually, to be blunt, it was a pretty run-of-the-mill event.

Now, it is anything but ordinary.

Next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens (Feb. 27-March 2) has a who’s who list of players. The tournament has managed to attract the eight top players in the world, and beyond that some other names (such as Rickie Fowler, Graeme McDowell, Charl Schwartzel, Luke Donald, Keegan Bradley, Lee Westwood, etc.) that golf fans love to see.

Credit tournament executive director Ken Kennerly and his close working partner, tournament director Ed McEnroe. They started the turnaround when they arrived on the scene eight years ago.

However, Kennerly and McEnroe would rather work behind the scenes.

If the names playing in the tournament impress and attract people and are the talk of the event, that is just fine with them. That’s all they want.

Of course, Tiger Woods signing up to play the Honda two tournaments ago, was more than helpful in moving the event up more than a notch. When Woods joined the Honda fray, other golfers followed.

This year’s biggest addition is Phil Mickelson.

Kennerly and McEnroe won’t say it, because they aren’t supposed to play favorites or root for the players, but a Woods-Mickelson showdown would be just fine with them. Throw Rory McIlroy into the mix, and they might be jumping up and down in joy — of course, where nobody could see them.

No cheering among the executives, guys.

The course is ready — more than ready.

The layout designed by Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear, features one of the toughest three-hole stretches in golf in the Bear Trap that encompasses Nos. 15, 16, 17.

Of the course, Kennerly said, “Without a great ballpark, we’re not going to get the players,” he said. “We’ve got a great ballpark.”

Those three Bear Trap holes have been the demise of some championship hopes over the years. Sometimes, maybe even often, those holes aren’t fun for the players, but they are always fun for the fans.

The Honda had some more commitments Tuesday, including Fowler, who is a fan favorite (particularly to teenage girls). Among others signing up were Stephen Ames, Jeff Maggert and Andres Romero.

Tickets to the Honda can be purchased at thehondaclassic.com or by calling 866-846-6328.

Locals team up

For the second year in a row, Meghan Stasi of Oakland Park and Tara Connelly of Palm Beach Gardens teamed up Tuesday to win one of Florida’s top amateur tournaments, the Women’s International Four-Ball Championship at the Wanderer’s Club in Wellington. Stasi and Connelly combined for a 67-62-129 to defeat Marie Arnoux and Ellen Port (71-69-140) by 11 strokes.

The victory was Stasi’s fourth in the event.

That’s a fact, Jack

Golfers spend an estimated $600 million on golf balls each year. A wild guess — $500 million of that money ends up in the bottom of a lake.

Read more Golf stories from the Miami Herald

  • PGA European - Omega European Masters Preview

    Thursday, September 4th through Sunday, September 7th Course Info Site: Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club (Alpine Course), Crans Montana, Switzerland Course Architect: Fremantle and Gedge (1906), M Nicholson (1929 - redesign), Par: 70 Yardage: 6,848 Hole by Hole Front Nine: 36 3,507 Yds 1 - Par 5 540 Yds 2 - Par 4 446 Yds 3 - Par 3 191 Yds 4 - Par 4 503 Yds 5 - Par 4 364 Yds 6 - Par 4 324 Yds 7 - Par 4 331 Yds 8 - Par 3 175 Yds 9 - Par 5 633 Yds Back Nine: 35 3,341 Yds 10 - Par 4 406 Yds 11 - Par 3 217 Yds 12 - Par 4 417 Yds 13 - Par 3 195 Yds 14 - Par 5 559 Yds 15 - Par 5 516 Yds 16 - Par 3 235 Yds 17 - Par 4 394 Yds 18 - Par 4 402 Yds Tournament Info Year: 80th Television: Golf Channel - Thursday -- 5:30-7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m.-12:30 pm (et) - Friday -- 6-7:30 a.m. (et), 9:30-11:30 a.m. (et), - Saturday/Sunday -- 7-11 a.m. (et) Champion: Thomas Bjorn Runner Up: Craig Lee Tournament Record: 260 (Colin Montgomerie, 1996) 54-Hole Record: 193 (Patrick Sjoland, 1998) 36-Hole Record: 127 (Sandy Lyle, 1983) Course Record: 60 (Baldovino Bassu, 1971; Jamie Spence, 1992) Total Purse: $3,018,654 (2,300,000 euros) Shares: 1st Place - $504,423; 2nd Place - $336,278; 3rd Place - $189,463 2013 Final Leaderboard Thomas Bjorn * 264 Craig Lee 264 Victor Dubuisson 265 Alejandro Canizares 266 Miguel Angel Jimenez 269 Ross Fisher 269 Gregory Havret 270 Brooks Koepka 270 Three players at 272 Past Winners 2013: *Thomas Bjorn (264). Runner up: Craig Lee 2012: Richie Ramsay (267). Runner up: Fredrik Andersson Hed, Marcus Fraser, Danny Willett, Romain Wattel 2011: Thomas Bjorn (264). Runner up: Martin Kaymer 2010: Miguel Angel Jimenez (263). Runner up: Edoardo Molinari 2009: Alexander Noren (264). Runner up: Bradley Dredge 2008: *Jean-Francois Lucquin (271). Runner up: Rory McIlroy 2007: *Brett Rumford (268). Runner up: Phillip Archer 2006: Bradley Dredge (267). Runner up: Francesco Molinari, Marcel Siem 2005: Sergio Garcia (270). Runner up: Peter Gustafsson 2004: Luke Donald (265). Runner up: Miguel Angel Jimenez 2003: Ernie Els (267). Runner up: Michael Campbell 2002: Robert Karlsson (270). Runner up: Trevor Immelman, Paul Lawrie 2001: Ricardo Gonzalez (268). Runner up: Soren Hansen 2000: Eduardo Romero (261). Runner up: Thomas Bjorn 1999: Lee Westwood (270). Runner up: Thomas Bjorn 1998: *Sven Struver (263). Runner up: Patrik Sjoland 1997: Costantino Rocca (266). Runner up: Robert Karlsson, Scott Henderson 1996: Colin Montgomerie (260). Runner up: Sam Torrance 1995: Mathias Gronberg (270). Runner up: Costantino Rocca, Barry Lane 1994: Eduardo Romero (266). Runner up: Pierre Fulke 1993: Barry Lane (270). Runner up: Seve Ballesteros, Miguel Angel Jimenez 1992: *Jamie Spence (271). Runner up: Anders Forsbrand 1991: Jeff Hawkes (268). Runner up: Seve Ballesteros 1990: Ronan Rafferty (267). Runner up: John Bland 1989: Seve Ballesteros (266). Runner up: Craig Parry 1988: Chris Moody (268). Runner up: Seve Ballesteros, Anders Forsbrand, Ian Woosnam 1987: Anders Forsbrand (263). Runner up: Mark Mouland 1986: Jose Maria Olazabal (262). Runner up: Anders Forsbrand 1985: Craig Stadler (267). Runner up: 1984: Jerry Anderson (261). Runner up: Howard Clark 1983: *Nick Faldo (268). Runner up: Sandy Lyle 1982: *Ian Woosnam (272). Runner up: Bill Longmuir 1981: *Manuel Pinero (277). Runner up: Antonio Garrido, Tony Johnstone 1980: Nick Price (267). Runner up: Manuel Calero 1979: Hugh Baiocchi (275). Runner up: Antonio Garrido, Dale Hayes, Delio Lovato 1978: Seve Ballesteros (272). Runner up: Manuel Pinero 1977: Seve Ballesteros (273). Runner up: John Schroeder 1976: Manuel Pinero (274). Runner up: Dave Hill 1975: Dale Hayes (273). Runner up: Tienie Britz, Bernard Gallacher, Gary Player 1974: Bob Charles (275). Runner up: Tony Jacklin 1973: Hugh Baiocchi (278). Runner up: Eddie Polland, Jack Newton 1972: Graham Marsh (270). Runner up: Tony Jacklin 1971: Peter Townsend (270). Runner up: Manuel Ballesteros 1970: Graham Marsh (274). Runner up: 1969: Roberto Bernardini (277). Runner up: 1968: Roberto Bernardini (272). Runner up: 1967: Randall Vines (272). Runner up: 1966: Alfonso Angelini (271). Runner up: 1965: #Harold Henning (208). Runner up: 1964: Harold Henning (276). Runner up: 1963: *Dai Rees (278). Runner up: 1962: *Bob Charles (272). Runner up: 1961: Kel Nagle (268). Runner up: 1960: Harold Henning (270). Runner up: 1959: Dai Rees (274). Runner up: 1958: Ken Bousfield (272). Runner up: 1957: Alfonso Angelini (270). Runner up: 1956: Dai Rees (278). Runner up: 1955: Flory van Donck (277). Runner up: 1954: Bobby Locke (276). Runner up: 1953: Flory van Donck (267). Runner up: 1952: Ugo Grappasonni (267). Runner up: 1951: Eric Brown (267). Runner up: 1950: Aldo Casera (276). Runner up: 1949: Marcel Dallemagne (270). Runner up: 1948: Ugo Grappasonni (285). Runner up: 1947: Not Held. Runner up: 1946: Not Held. Runner up: 1945: Not Held. Runner up: 1944: Not Held. Runner up: 1943: Not Held. Runner up: 1942: Not Held. Runner up: 1941: Not Held. Runner up: 1940: Not Held. Runner up: 1939: Fifi Cavalo (273). Runner up: 1938: J. Saubaber (139). Runner up: 1937: M. Dallemagne (138). Runner up: 1936: @F. Francis (134). Runner up: 1935: Auguste Boyer (137). Runner up: 1934: Auguste Boyer (133). Runner up: 1933: Not Held. Runner up: 1932: Not Held. Runner up: 1931: M. Dallemagne (145). Runner up: 1930: Auguste Boyer (150). Runner up: 1929: A. Wilson (142). Runner up: 1928: Not Held. Runner up: 1927: Not Held. Runner up: 1926: Alex Ross (145). Runner up: 1925: Alex Ross (148). Runner up: 1924: P. Boomer (150). Runner up: 1923: Alex Ross (149). Runner up: * - Won in Playoff # - 54 Holes @ - Amateur Formerly called Swiss Open (1971-81), Ebel Swiss Masters (1982), Ebel European Masters Swiss Open (1983-1990), Canon European Masters Swiss Open (1991), Canon European Masters (1992-2000). Top Contenders Thomas Bjorn 2004: T-26 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: mc 2010: T-15 2011: Won 2012: mc 2013: Won Craig Lee 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 74th 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: 2nd Victor Dubuisson 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: mc 2012: T-49 2013: 3rd Miguel A. Jimenez 2004: 2nd 2005: T-13 2006: T-37 2007: mc 2008: T-3 2009: 4th 2010: Won 2011: T-9 2012: T-11 2013: T-5 Brooks Koepka 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: T-7 Paul Lawrie 2004: T-46 2005: mc 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: mc 2011: T-35 2012: T-6 2013: 12th Brett Rumford 2004: T-56 2005: T-69 2006: T-44 2007: Won 2008: T-23 2009: T-32 2010: T-13 2011: T-65 2012: T-19 2013: T-15 David Howell 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: mc 2008: 2009: T-7 2010: mc 2011: dq 2012: T-27 2013: T-26 Danny Willett 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: T-23 2010: T-42 2011: T-25 2012: T-2 2013: T-26 Matteo Manassero 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: T-23 2010: 3rd 2011: T-18 2012: T-34 2013: T-34 Gregory Bourdy 2004: 2005: mc 2006: 2007: mc 2008: 2009: T-19 2010: 2011: mc 2012: T-34 2013: T-44 Richie Ramsay 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: 34th 2012: Won 2013: mc Jamie Donaldson 2004: 2005: mc 2006: wd 2007: 2008: mc 2009: 2010: T-23 2011: T-3 2012: T-9 2013: mc Fabrizio Zanotti 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: T-47 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: T-45 2012: T-41 2013: mc Marc Warren 2004: 2005: 2006: T-4 2007: mc 2008: mc 2009: mc 2010: T-9 2011: mc 2012: T-55 2013: mc Hennie Otto 2004: T-60 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: T-55 2009: 2010: mc 2011: T-61 2012: T-64 2013: mc Darren Clarke 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: mc 2008: 2009: T-60 2010: T-15 2011: T-35 2012: T-71 2013: mc Pablo Larrazabal 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: mc 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: T-48 2012: mc 2013: mc Mikko Ilonen 2004: wd 2005: mc 2006: T-7 2007: T-18 2008: T-32 2009: 2010: T-9 2011: 2012: mc 2013: mc Peter Uihlein 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: mc Bernd Wiesberger 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: mc 2012: T-6 2013: Shane Lowry 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: mc 2012: T-49 2013: George Coetzee 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: mc 2011: T-25 2012: 2013: NOTES: The European Tour travels to Switzerland this week for the Omega European Masters. With the best players on the European Tour competing in the United States on the PGA Tour at the FedExCup Playoffs, only three players ranked in the top 30 of the world are in the field - Victor Dubuisson (21), defending champion Thomas Bjorn (26) and Jamie Donaldson (28).

  •  
European Ryder cup team captain Paul McGinley stands by a list of his chosen players during a press conference at Wentworth Golf Club to announce his three wild card selections for his team to play at Gleneagles in Scotland against the USA, in Wentworth England, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014.

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