With foreign-born stars Rory McIlory, Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, Camilo Villegas, Henrik Stenson, Darren Clarke, Sang-Moon Bae and Y.E. Yang all joining Tiger Woods in the field for this week's Honda Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa, perhaps the legendary South Florida destination should be called PGA "International."
In fact, the last four winners of this first stop of the "Florida Swing": Rory Sabbatini, Villegas, Yang and Els all hail from lands afar.
Why the elite international field? Greg Norman might have the best answer. When speaking of The Champion Course in a press conference this week he said, "It's a course for great players."
Harrington says that outside the majors The Champion is "the best course we play on TOUR." Great players like playing great courses.
It might also be argued that international players enjoy playing the Honda because the resort itself makes for a comfortable week when far from home. It's not just the golf that is world-class. After their round, TOUR players and their families can indulge in one of more than 100 treatments offered by The Spa, lounge in the magnificent zero-entry pool, or enjoy one seven on-site restaurants and lounges highlighted by the chef-driven Ironwood Steak & Seafood. The classy iBAR in the lobby is the perfect spot for something cold to drink and people watch.
Resort guests of the non-TOUR variety can still have a TOUR experience with PGA National's "Honda Classic Experience" stay-and-play package. In addition to accommodations in the comfortable 379-room hotel, the TOUR experience begins with a photo-op on the first tee of The Champion. To enhance the challenge, TOUR tournament green speeds are kept at knee-buckling, double-digit Stimpmeter readings along with Honda Classic hole flags. Garmin GPS provides pinpoint yardages and caddies are available wearing Augusta-style jumpsuits. It's as close to a PGA TOUR experience as one can get without going through Q-School.
The property has four additional stellar layouts -- The Palmer, The Haig, The Squire and The Estates Courses. Plus, both the David Leadbetter Golf Academy and the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School are on site to get you playing your best.
No matter what country you're from, it's all good at PGA National (mailto:http//www.pgaresort.com).