February 27 2013
Ernie Els' record at PGA National puts him on the short list for The Honda Classic. (Ehrmann/Getty Images)
By Rob Bolton, Fantasy Insider
Now that you've survived the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship by respecting the format which in turn preventing you from burning a big name -- right?! -- it's time to revisit the stable of options for this week's The Honda Classic.
What's interesting and potentially pivotal is that there isn't a frontrunner of a candidate. Twelve of the top 20 all-time money leaders at this event (including pre-2007 when PGA National first hosted) are in the field, but I quickly whittled the list of viable options down to four -- Y.E. Yang (second all-time), Ernie Els (11th), Rory McIlroy (12th) and Justin Rose (17th).
Since many one-and-dones exclude defending champions as an option, omit McIlroy. Until he flashes his usual form, he'll remain holstered anyway. Also consider that the purse is only $6 million, not enough to roll the dice on the Ulsterman. Yang is a former winner (2009) and runner-up (2011), but I'd limit him to a two-man format at best.
Els' five consecutive cuts made at PGA National began with a title in 2008. He makes some sense this week if he wasn't already on your short lists for the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational or the U.S. Open. Plugging him in somewhere on the Florida Swing is almost a no-brainer. Rose has value at quite a few venues, not the least of which is this week's host course where he's posted top fives in his last two visits, finishing at 7-under in each.
Graeme McDowell is another strong choice thanks to top 10s in each of the last two editions. He's also coming off a good showing at Dove Mountain. Last year, I burned Lee Westwood who cooperated with a solo fourth for his second top 10 in three appearances.
Yet, while various angles on the aforementioned tug at me, I'm going to ride Charl Schwartzel, who sits No. 1 in my Power Rankings. He's finished T14 (2011) and T5 (2012) in his starts at PGA National and has an active streak of seven consecutive top fives in stroke-play events, including two thrashing victories in December.
Last week: Ian Poulter; 4th; $500,000.00
Overall Record: 6-for-8
Top 5s: 3
Top 10s: 4
Top 25s: 6
Missed Cuts: 2