PGA Tour Shifts to Florida

This week the PGA Tour shifts to Florida for four tournaments starting at the Honda Classic at PGA National’s Jack Nicklaus-designed Champion course — home of the fearsome Bear Trap series of holes — and the scene of Keith Mitchell’s surprise victory in 2019, where he out-dueled Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida – For the next four weeks there’s only one place to go to see the PGA Tour live. That would be in the “sunshine state” – Florida.

After spending the first two months of the year bouncing around between Hawaii, California, Arizona and Mexico the circuit will be in Florida for four consecutive weeks. The season heats up now on tougher courses than the circuit had been playing on.

Only four PGA Tour events had 36-hole cuts over par in 2019, three were in Florida and the toughest of them all was the opening event of the Florida Swing. The Honda Classic, which tees off on February 27 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, had the highest cut number in relation to par – 2-over.

The Honda field again be without Tiger Woods (who lives in the area) and Rory McIlroy. The field, however, will include winners of three of last year’s majors – Brooks Koepka (PGA), Gary Woodland (U.S. Open) and Shane Lowry (British Open) – as well as Rickie Fowler. Koepka and Fowler tied for second last year behind surprise winner Keith Mitchell.

Competition resumes up the following week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, in Orlando. Competition rounds there are March 5-8 with Francesco Molinari the defending champion.

tpc-sawgrass-17
All eyes will be on The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass March 12-15 and the iconic No. 17 island hole Par 3 that plays anywhere from 120 – 155 yards.

Best field of the month will be at The Players Championship March 12-15 at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, when McIlroy tries for a repeat title, and the Valspar Championship ends the Florida swing from March 19-22 at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbour. Paul Casey will go for a three-peat in that one. The 2019 cut fell at 1-over at both Bay Hill and Innisbrook.

When the last putt drops at the Valspar the golf focus turns to the Masters. The year’s first major will be played three weeks later.

The Fox Club, a course designed by Roy Case and renovated by Darren Clark in Palm City, FL., is a public facility now. Its dogleg left par-5 finishing hole is one that’s hard to forget.

Playing around the Honda

PGA National has a variety of stay-and-play packages available during the Honda Classic.

“It has become one of the most anticipated PGA Tour stops for players, fans and resort guests each year, said Jeffrey Mayers, managing director of the resort. “We’re thrilled to provide our guests with premier access to watching the best players in the world compete as well as an outstanding array of golf and resort amenities. It’ll make for a fun-packed week to long remember.’’

There’s more golf not far away, with the PGA Golf Club – winter home of the PGA of America – less than an hour to the north. Palm City is located between the two PGA destinations, and it offers something different from past years at two of its facilities.

The Fox Club, a long-time private club in Palm City that was once known as Cobblestone, became a public venue last fall and the Evergreen Club underwent an ownership change and total makeover. It’s now called Crane’s Watch.

Resurfacing the putting green is one of the updates in progress at just re-opened Crane Watch, formerly the Evergreen Club. A new short game area is being built on the other side of the clubhouse.

https://www.pgaresort.com/

https://www.theplayers.com/

SHARE
Len Ziehm has been covering golf for over 50 years. He was the golf columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for 41 years and has been in the same role for the Daily Herald and several regional newspapers since 2009. Len is also a regular contributor to the Chicago District Golfer magazine and the Illinois PGA website and his travel pieces are regularly published in Illinois Golfer and the Ohio Golf Journal. His works for all publications are available at a href="http://lenziehmongolf.com">lenziehmongolf.com. It is in its 10th year of operation and has been enhanced by the photography provided by his partner Joy Sarver in the last four years. Since moving to PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, FL, in 2016 Len has added the Morning Read and its partner wheretogolfnext.com website to his regular writing duties. An inductee into the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004 (for his reporting and youth coaching, not as a player), Len will also be inducted into the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame on Oct. 18. He is also on the Advisory Board of the International Network of Golf, is a lifetime member of the Golf Writers Association of America and a member of the Golf Travel Writers of America.

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of