Category: Honda Classic

February 12, 2013

MIA Tiger Woods to play three straight events starting at Match Play

Posted at 1:01 PM by Mike Walker

Tiger_smileHello, Florida.

Tiger Woods made it official that he would play in the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and the World Golf Championship-Cadillac Championship at Doral in Miami in a statement on his website Tuesday.

Woods disappeared from the PGA Tour after winning the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego last month, but he'll return at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson next week. Then he'll begin a busy month in Florida, playing the Honda Classic, which begins Feb. 28, followed by Doral.

If he follows his normal schedule, Woods will have an off-week after Doral, when the Tour stops at Innisbrook near Tampa for the Transitions Championship, then he'll return at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he is defending champion, on March 24.

Woods doesn't vary his schedule often, but he added the Honda Classic last year. It proved to be a wise choice when Woods shot 62 in the final round -- the lowest final round of his career -- and almost caught winner Rory McIlroy. The Honda is also a home game for Woods, who lives in nearby Jupiter Island on Florida's Atlantic coast. Last year, he said that he enjoyed commuting to the course from his home instead of a hotel:

"We travel quite a bit for our sport, and we spend a lot of time on the road. So it's always nice to have time to be able to play and stay at home at the same time. I think it's great to have an opportunity, because you can have your friends and family come out. We don't have that chance; we don't spend half the season at home like most professional teams do. We are always on the road. So it's nice to have them out and watching and supporting."

The Honda Classic tournament organizers liked having Woods as well. According to WPTV-News in West Palm Beach, ticket sales for the tournament increased 30 percent last year.

Related Photos: Classic Pictures of Tiger Woods

Related Photos: Rory McIlroy Life in Pictures

Photo: Tiger Woods smiles after making an eagle on the third hole during his final-round 62 at the 2012 Honda Classic (Getty Images).

Report: Tiger Woods to play Honda Classic, his new hometown event

Posted at 9:19 AM by Mike Walker

Tiger_smileTiger Woods will play in the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens later this month, according to Katie Johnson of WPTV-News in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The golfer is expected to announce Tuesday that he'll be competing in the 2013 Honda Classic at PGA National.

ESPN 760 confirmed the details Monday evening.

Woods' announcement will be followed by a news conference from officials with the Honda Classic.

Woods added the Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens to his schedule in 2012. After he shot a 62 on the final day to finish second behind Rory McIlroy, it's not surprising that he's playing there again this year. The tournament is also a home game for Woods, who lives in nearby Jupiter Island on Florida's Atlantic coast, and he said last year that he enjoyed commuting to the course from his home instead of a hotel.

"We travel quite a bit for our sport, and we spend a lot of time on the road. So it's always nice to have time to be able to play and stay at home at the same time. I think it's great to have an opportunity, because you can have your friends and family come out. We don't have that chance; we don't spend half the season at home like most professional teams do. We are always on the road. So it's nice to have them out and watching and supporting."

Woods' participation boosted ticket sales by 30 percent last year, according to WPTV-News. Defending champion McIlroy will be in the Honda Classic field as well.

Photo: Tiger Woods smiles after making an eagle on the third hole during his final-round 62 at the 2012 Honda Classic (Getty Images).

March 06, 2012

Stats Incredible! Inside McIlroy's ride to No. 1 and Tiger's 62

Posted at 11:18 AM by

McIlroy's rise to the top of the World Ranking

July 22, 2007
First ranking points for T42 finish at British Open, ranked 865th

Sept. 10, 2007
First professional ranking points, third-place finish at Alfred Dunhill Links, ranked 308th.

Jan. 27, 2008
First time in top 200 after T11 finish at Qatar Masters, ranked 190th.

Oct. 19, 2008
First time in top 100 after T10 finish at Portugal Masters, ranked 91st.

Nov. 23, 2008
First time in top 50 after T2 finish at Hong Kong Open, ranked 50th.

Feb. 1, 2009 
First time in top 20 after win at Dubai Desert Classic, ranked 16th.

Nov. 11, 2009
First time in top 10 after third-place finish at Dubai World Championship, ranked 10th.

March 4, 2012
No. 1 player in the world after win at Honda Classic

The youngest players to reach No. 1*

21 years, 24 weeks - Tiger Woods on June 15, 1997

22 years, 44 weeks - Rory McIlroy on March 4, 2012

26 years, 9 weeks - Martin Kaymer on Feb. 27, 2011

27 years, 20 weeks - David Duval on March 28, 1999

27 years, 35 weeks - Ernie Els on June 22, 1997

*The Official World Golf Ranking started in 1986.

Most PGA Tour victories before age 23

Rory McIlroy earned his third PGA Tour win at the Honda Classic on Sunday at the age of 22 years, 10 months. Here is a look at who has won the most PGA Tour victories before reaching 23 since 1960:

7 - Tiger Woods

3 - Jack Nicklaus

3 - Sergio Garcia

3 - Rory McIlroy

2 - Ray Floyd

2 - Jerry Pate

2 - Seve Ballesteros

2 - Robert Gamez

2 - Phil Mickelson

For the record, the all-time under-23 winner was Horton Smith, who won 14 PGA Tour events before his 23rd birthday in 1931.

McIlroy extends run of international success at Honda Classic

Rory McIlroy became the fifth consecutive international winner of the Honda Classic, joining Ernie Els (2008), Y.E. Yang (2009), Camilo Villegas (2010) and Rory Sabbatini (2011). He is also the seventh international winner in the last eight years. The only American winner during that span was Mark Wilson in 2007. McIlroy also became the first international player to win on the PGA Tour in 2012, breaking a streak in which the first nine events were won by American players. The longest American winning streak to start a year came in 1991, when the first 11 events were won by Americans. Welshman Ian Woosnam broke up that streak at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

The spirit of the 60s

McIlroy is just the fourth player to win the Honda Classic and post four straight rounds in the 60s. The others were Tom Kite (1981), Matt Kuchar (2002), and Camilo Villegas (2010). He is also the youngest winner in Honda Classic history at 22 years, 10 months. The youngest previous winner was Matt Kuchar at 23 years, 8 months, 20 days.

McIlroy's keys to victory at the Honda

Rory McIlroy hit 48 of 72 greens, which ranked T10 in that stat. But of the 24 greens he missed, he got it up and down 20 times, or 83.3 percent, the best scrambling percentage of anyone in the field. In putts inside 10 feet, McIlroy only missed four out of 66 attempts (93.9 percent), the best rate in the field. 

Another key was the way he played holes 15, 16 and 17, the so-called "Bear Trap."  For the week, McIlroy was three under on those holes and didn't make any bogeys. Tiger Woods (T2) played those holes in one under, as did Lee Westwood (4th), while Tom Gillis (T2) played them in one over.

One of the biggest moments on Sunday was McIlroy's birdie at the 13th hole.  He had made bogey at 12, and his birdie on 13 came just after Woods eagled the 18th to get within a shot of McIlroy. McIlroy one-putted 13, 14 and 15 and took just eight putts on his final six holes.

Tiger Woods posts his lowest final-round score ever

In his first time at the Honda Classic as a professional, Tiger Woods posted the best final-round score of his PGA Tour career with a bogey-free, eight-under 62, good enough for his 28th runner-up finish. It was his best round since a third-round 62 en route to winning his last PGA Tour title at the 2009 BMW Championship. The only time he has gone lower in his PGA Tour career were 61s carded at the 1999 Byron Nelson Championship (first round), 2000 WGC-NEC Invitational (second round) and the 2005 Buick Open (second).

With eagles on Nos. 3 and 18, Woods posted two eagles in a round for the 18th time in his career. It was the first time he has performed the feat since the final round of the 2010 Masters. Woods’s eight-under 62 was his first bogey-free round on the PGA Tour since a three-under 69 during the first round of the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open.

--Compiled by Sal Johnson

March 05, 2012

Round 4 Highlights from 2012 Honda Classic

Posted at 11:30 AM by

Here are the highlights from the final round at the 2012 Honda Classic, where Rory McIlroy held off Tiger Woods's charge to win the title and claim the No. 1 ranking.

March 04, 2012

Rory McIlroy is No. 1 after holding off Tiger Woods at Honda Classic

Posted at 5:38 PM by

P1-Rory-blogRory McIlory won the Honda Classic on Sunday, and with the victory he will vault to No. 1 when the Official World Golf Ranking is released on Monday.

McIlroy, 22, shot a final-round 69 in windy conditions at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and finished 12 under for the event. Tiger Woods shot a spectacular eight-under 62 to get to 10 under for the tournament and finish in a tie for second with Tom Gillis. McIlroy was the second-ranked player in the world heading into the event.

It is the first time McIlroy has been ranked No. 1 in his career. He replaces Englishman Luke Donald, who took over the top spot on May 29, 2011. McIlroy is the first player from Ireland to be ranked No. 1 and the fourth consecutive European. England's Lee Westwood and Germany's Martin Kaymer held the No. 1 ranking before Donald. Tiger Woods was the last American to hold the No. 1 ranking, which he ceded to Westwood on Oct.31, 2010.

McIlroy was steady on Sunday, making two birdies and a bogey to go with 15 pars, several of which he earned with tough up-and-downs. Woods started his charge at PGA National with an eagle at the par-5 third. He added two birdies on the front nine and two on the back, and closed with another eagle on the par-5 18th. It was the lowest final-round score in his PGA Tour career.

(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

March 02, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Tiger feels the love in Jupiter

Posted at 1:15 PM by Alan Bastable

If the climate between Tiger Woods and the media at the Honda Classic has been less than warm and fuzzy, the galleries have welcomed him with open arms. The Honda is the first event Tiger has played in his new hometown, and fans greeted him Thursday like Bruce Springsteen returning to Asbury ParkDave George at the Palm Beach Post describes the scene:

Truth is, all he had to do was show up, a sentiment that was expressed numerous times throughout the round by shouts of "Thanks for coming, Tiger." That message was delivered by voices in the surging crowd, somewhat randomly and somewhat regularly, from the moment Woods teed off until his vanishing through a tunnel in the grandstands on No. 18 after a disappointing par that helped to apply the dull finish on his round.

For a superstar whose private life has been opened to rising and, most recently, falling levels of public scorn, the sensation of being applauded and accepted and encouraged no matter the score on a given hole must feel like a genuine hometown bonus. If nothing else, Tiger seems genuinely glad to be living in Jupiter Island, and practicing at the Medalist in Hobe Sound, and connecting for the first time since his amateur days in 1993 to the Honda Classic.

Asked after signing his mundane scorecard to assess the fans' reaction, Tiger lit up a bright smile for the first time all day and said, "It was incredible."

"It's just pretty neat to be able to play in front of people like this. This is my new hometown.”

Don’t take it personally, Orlando. You and TW had a nice run together. 

Why Tiger needs Anthony Robbins
When a reporter pressed Tiger Woods earlier this week about the accuracy of Hank Haney’s new memoir, Tiger responded with a glare that would reduce Ray Lewis to the fetal position. That exchange followed an e-mail Tiger’s agent, Mark Steinberg, sent to reporters in which he assailed Haney’s book as “armchair psychology.” Karen Crouse of the New York Times spoke by e-mail with a marketing expert who categorized Team Tiger’s reaction as another in a string of public-relations missteps.

Michael Fineman, the president of Fineman Public Relations, a San Francisco-based firm that has never represented Woods, wrote in an e-mail: “Tiger’s team missed a prime opportunity to take the high road with a more dignified public response; Team Tiger has done little in three years’ time to effectively reassure the oft-forgiving public that their hero has learned the lessons of being justifiably humbled.”

How can Woods help himself?

“Bottom line,” Fineman said, “Team Tiger needs a life coach.”

Crouse also spoke with Jesper Parnevik, who famously scolded Woods in 2009 for his marital transgressions, to better understand what it’s like to be on the list of Those Who’ve Crossed Tiger. Said Parnevik:

“[Elin] didn’t really have anyone to speak for her. Of course, I didn’t know it was going to explode as much as it did in the media and so on. I would do it again. But of course, it’s easier not to say anything. I think in any sport when you say something about the stars, it’s not always a good thing for the person who says it.”

Tweet of the day

February 29, 2012

2012 Honda Classic: Round 1 Live Blog

Posted at 5:10 PM by's Kevin Cunningham is live blogging Tiger Woods's opening round at the Honda Classic. Join the conversation below.

Mobile users can follow along by copying and pasting this link in their mobile browser,


February 28, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Callaway names Chip Brewer CEO

Posted at 12:17 PM by Michael Chwasky

The small company started by Ely Callaway, which originally sold hickory shafted golf clubs, has come a long way since it officially became Callaway Golf in 1988. Over the years some of the company's most successful products, like the original Big Bertha driver and the titanium Great Big Bertha, have had enormous effects on both the golf industry and the way the game is played. Callaway's acquisition of Odyssey putters and the Top-Flite and Ben Hogan brands, as well as the launch of Callaway golf balls, have helped transform the Carlsbad-based company into one of the biggest in the world. 

In recent years, however, business hasn't been booming for the former leader in metalwood sales, as Callaway reported net losses of $171.8 million in 2011 and $18.8 in 2010.  For the past eight months the public company has been looking for a new leader to replace interim president and CEO Tony Thornley, and it has finally settled on industry veteran Chip Brewer, according to President and CEO of Adams Golf since 2002, Brewer is widely credited with transforming Adams from a niche company known largely for fairway woods and hybrids into a significant player in the industry. 

"Chip has extensive knowledge of all facets of the golf business, particularly in the sales and marketing area, and has a real passion for the game of golf. Chip also has great relationships with customers and others in the golf industry and he has done a great job turning around and leading Adams Golf," said Callaway Board Chairman Ronald S. Beard. “We believe he is the right leader to entrust with our valuable brands, and the board looks forward to working with him to restore profitability and increase shareholder value."

Brewer, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School, will officially start his tenure at Callaway Golf on March 5th. 

"Having been around golf my entire life, I know Callaway and its products very well and I am very excited about joining such an iconic company and being part of its great heritage," said Brewer. "There is a lot of opportunity ahead for Callaway and I look forward to working with the board and senior management team to build upon the strength of its brands to restore profitability and increase shareholder value."

Callaway currently has sponsorship agreements with a number of notable players including Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Alvaro Quiros, J.B. Holmes and Tommy Gainey, among others. 

Tiger Effect Felt at Honda Classic
The mere presence of stars like Michael Jordan, Arnold Palmer and Dale Earnhardt, among others, brought a certain extra excitement to their sports, but never has there been an individual who could make or break an event like Tiger Woods. Clearly, the officials at the upcoming Honda Classic were aware of this fact when the 14-time major winner confirmed he was in the field this year, but it still seems they may have underestimated his power, according to The Palm Beach Post.

“We were ready, so we haven’t been overwhelmed,” tournament executive director Ken Kennerly said, “but Tiger’s impact has exceeded our very high expectations.”

In fact, Kennerly is now considering halting ticket sales not only for the famed Bear Trap, but for the entire event. Last year the Honda drew approximately 110,000 fans, but this year attendance may exceed 160,000, and tournament officials are concerned about overcrowding having a negative effect on fan experience as well as security.

“We’ll make sure extra security attention is paid to entry points away from the main gate and along the perimeter of the course,” Kennerly said. “We don’t want anyone jumping a fence to get in. We’ll have two and three times the route flow from our lots with special attention paid to Tiger’s tee times when we expect the greatest increase in attendance. We’re well aware of the fact that we’ll have more people arriving and departing at certain times than we’ve had in the past.”


PGATOUR: Tiger Woods out practicing on back nine at The Honda Classic, where he's playing for the first time as a professional. About 150 following.

February 17, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Why PGA National is 'perfect' for Tiger

Posted at 3:08 PM by Alan Bastable

The last time Tiger Woods played the Honda Classic, he hadn’t even won a U.S. Amateur yet. It was 1993, and the tournament was held at Westin Hills G&CC in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Tiger missed the cut. Still, there’s good reason to like Tiger’s chances when he rejoins the Honda field at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in a couple of weeks. Speaking with the Palm Beach Post, Tommy Roy, NBC Sports’s top golf producer, noted:

“…I think this golf course is right in his wheelhouse.

“If you look at the stats through the years, the leaders always play the Bear Trap well. Those three holes [Nos. 15-17] require cut shots most of the time, depending on the wind, and that's playing right into Tiger's strength with the power cut that he's playing. The other factor is that he always putts well on Bermuda greens.

"It would seem this golf course is almost perfect for him."

Finchem on the Tiger Effect

The Honda will benefit from Tiger’s presence, but Tim Finchem continues to preach that TW’s not essential to the success of the Tour. Earlier this week the commish told Jill Painter of the L.A. Daily News:

"It's always good to have everybody play. Tiger has gotten into a schedule that in his mind works, and we have a great respect for that. It stands out when the best player over the last 15 years doesn't have a tournament on his schedule. Tiger Woods is bigger than life.

"People are surprised to learn Tiger plays in one of three events on average. And yet, over the last 15 years, all of our tournaments have grown. While it's nice [if Woods plays], it's not fundamental."

Mr. Commissioner, you might want to see these numbers

The Tour may not flat-line when Tiger stays home, but as has been well documented, TV ratings suffer. Matt Yoder at underscored that point by delving deep into the ratings of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which enjoyed a huge boost with Charlie Wi Tiger Woods in the mix last Sunday.

It's only one tournament examined in a vacuum, but the ratings data from Pebble Beach tell an interesting story. Here are the numbers since 2000 of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am (thanks to the acclaimed person behind TVSportsRatings, whoever he or she is) with the total average number of viewers for CBS's weekend coverage and what it means for the PGA Tour... 

2000 4.1
2001 5.9 
2002 4.5 
2003 4.1 
2004 4.1 
2005 5.0 
2006 3.3 
2007 3.6 
2008 2.9 
2009 1.6 
2010 1.9 
2011 2.9 
2012 5.7

A few takeaways from those numbers...

*Tiger Woods made his first appearance this year at Pebble Beach for the early season tournament since 2002. Woods played at Pebble Beach in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2012. The average number of viewers for those 4 tournaments was 5.05 million, including a Monday finish in 2000 (thus the low 4.1 number). The average number of viewers for the 9 tournaments Tiger didn't play at Pebble from 2003-2011? Just 3.27 million. That's an increase of 54% for Pebble Beach when Tiger has played since 2000.

…As long as the PGA Tour is so utterly dependent on Woods for ratings success, how can they expect to be healthier without Tiger's presence? Even in 2012, it's a question the PGA Tour is still seeking an answer to.

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February 14, 2012

Tiger Woods adds Honda Classic to schedule

Posted at 1:07 PM by

WoodsTiger Woods announced he would play the Honda Classic (March 1-March 4) in a statement on his website. It will be the first time he's played the event at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

The announcement means that Woods will have a busier-than-normal early season. His next tournament is the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson (Feb. 22-Feb. 26). Woods also announced that he will be playing in the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami the week after the Honda Classic, meaning he will play for three consecutive weeks.

"I'm excited about my start and look forward to keep building," Woods said in a written statement. "I've made great strides from last year and hopefully all my hard work will pay off with a victory soon."

Woods is also expected to play the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Orlando's Bay Hill, which begins March 22. If he doesn't add any more events, Bay Hill will be Woods's final appearance before the Masters, which begins April 5.

The Honda Classic will be a home game for Woods, who recently moved to the Palm Beach area. It is known as one of the toughest events on the PGA Tour, and had the highest scoring average of any non-major PGA Tour event last year.

"I've heard great things about the Honda Classic, and now that I live here, I want to play whenever possible," Woods said. "Jack's [Nicklaus] involvement in the tournament and the benefits to the local community are also important."

(Photo: Robert Beck/SI)

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