Golf

February 11, 2014

Honda Classic field gets stronger with Phil Mickelson commitment

The Honda Classic has an interesting mix in the making. How about a Phil Mickelson vs. Tiger Woods duel coming down the stretch.

The Honda Classic has an interesting mix in the making. How about a Phil Mickelson vs. Tiger Woods duel coming down the stretch.

If that doesn’t work, you can even throw Rory McIlroy into that mix.

The Honda Classic, which will be held Feb. 27-March 2 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, will have eight of the top 10 players in the world competing, with Mickelson joining the field for the first time since 2002 when the tournament was played at Heron Bay.

There are only four majors in golf, and that probably will always be true, but the Honda is working hard to become one of the next best things.

The top eight expected to compete include: No. 1 Woods, No  2 Adam Scott, No. 3 Henrik Stenson, No. 4 Mickelson, No. 5 Justin Rose, No. 6 McIlroy, No. 7 Zach Johnson and No. 8 Sergio Garcia.

The two top-10 players not committed at this point are No. 9 Matt Kuchar and No. 10 Jason Day.

And tournament executive director Ken Kennerly promised, “We’re still working on things.”

The big addition this year is Mickelson.

“Phil and I have known each other for many years,” Kennerly said. “He has always told us that he was going to join us.”

Then, recently, according to Kennerly, Mickelson told him, “ ‘My schedule just might change.’ ”

And it did. Kennerly was ecstatic.

“If Phil didn’t think enough of this tournament, he wouldn’t be coming here,” Kennerly said.

One of Kennerly’s goals is to make Mickelson a permanent participant.

“We want him back,” Kennerly said. “We don’t want it to be a one and done here.”

Never in Honda’s history has there been so many top-10 players entered.

“We’re absolutely thrilled about the field,” Kennerly said.

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