Florida Swing begins at PGA National Resort & SpaFebruary 27, 2012
David Wood, Special to PGATOUR.COM
This week, the eyes of the golfing world turn to PGA National Resort & Spa and its mighty Champion Course as the legendary South Florida destination hosts the PGA TOUR Honda Classic.
The buzz for this first stop of the "Florida Swing" continues to crescendo ever since new local resident Tiger Woods announced he would tee it up on the Jack Nicklaus-redesign just down the road from his Jupiter Island estate.
WHAT: The Honda Classic (www.hondaclassic.com)
WHERE: PGA National Resort and Spa (www.pgaresort.com)
WHEN: Feb.27 through Mar. 4
In addition to Woods, the field seems like one contending for a "major" as all 2011 winners of golf's biggest titles are entered: Rory McIlory (U.S. Open), Charl Schwartzel (Masters), Darren Clarke (British Open) and Keegan Bradley (PGA Championship). Throw in international superstars like Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, Camilo Villegas and Y.E. Yang and whoever holds up the trophy come Sunday evening will have beat the best TOUR field so far this year.
"It feels like a major," said Jesper Parnevik as he left the range to play in the Monday 'Fins Cup' pro-am highlighted by TOUR stars and present and past Miami Dolphins players like Bob Griese, Keith Byers and Nat Moore.
"We're thrilled to be hosting the best field ever for the Honda Classic," says David Fine, vice president of sales, marketing and revenue at PGA National. It's going to be an exciting week."
Few locales are better equipped for an event of this magnitude, as PGA National knows what it takes to hold storied golf events. In addition to being the venue of The Honda since 2007, it has hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup, 1987 PGA Championship, and the Senior PGA Championship for nearly two decades. Plus, The Champion is in prime condition.
"The Champion is ready for the world's best," says Lukus Harvey, director of agronomy. "The fairways and greens are exactly where the PGA TOUR wants them to be."
It can also be said the resort itself is exactly where it wants to be. In the final round of a $65 million revitalization, PGA National's recent renovations include numerous enhancements to its 379-room resort hotel, clubhouse, golf courses (four other splendid layouts in addition to The Champion), spa, health and racquet club, and conference/ meeting space.
Among the contemporary additions is a stunning zero-entry pool, newly-named signature restaurant -- Ironwood Steak and Seafood -- and trendy, sophisticated iBAR -- the place to see and be seen.
This week, iBAR is one of the best places anywhere to meet the world's best golfers sans spikes as the hip lobby watering hole is a gathering spot for players, caddies, media types, resort guests and the beautiful people of Palm Beach.
Tiger Woods. Classic roster of TOUR stars. Beautiful resort spread over magnificent manicured grounds. Glorious South Florida weather. Add it all up and PGA National Resort & Spa is the place to be.