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Power Rankings: The Honda Classic

3 Min Read

Power Rankings

Power Rankings: The Honda Classic

    Top that, Florida Swing!

    The West Coast Swing, and for that matter the fortnight that was the Aloha Swing, fulfilled an alternate version of their nicknames. They took their cuts and delivered. One prize fight after another. Impressive stuff.

    The Honda Classic leads off a month of competitions in the Sunshine State. As it has throughout the FedExCup era, PGA National Resort’s Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens is the host. Details of the variables of the week are below.

    J.T. Poston, Thomas Detry, Webb Simpson and Min Woo Lee will be among the notables reviewed in Golfbet Insider.

    To go forward, we must go back for a moment and tie off a loose end.

    It was during the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am three weeks ago when the expectation surfaced that top 10s at Pebble wouldn’t pay forward for entry into the WM Phoenix Open. And since The Genesis Invitational was, self-evidently, an invitational, top 10s at Pebble would get into The Honda Classic.

    Kevin Yu and Joseph Bramlett both finished T7 at Pebble and didn’t get into the WM as predicted, but only Bramlett is committed to the Honda (as of Monday). Ultimately, his top-10 exemption wasn’t necessary, anyway, as the entire Korn Ferry Tour graduate reshuffle category looped in on merit, so even its reorder at the conclusion of the West Coast Swing had no impact.

    Unlike the last two tournaments that exceeded the allotted reservation to make room for all automatically eligible PGA TOUR members – both were designated events – the cap of 144 at PGA National is the field size as advertised. It’s, ahem, treated to one of the hardest par 70s on the PGA TOUR.

    A year ago, PGA National averaged 71.341, and that’s pretty much where everyone expected it to land. The four par 3s, including the two that bracket The Bear Trap – Nos. 15 and 17 – annually are among the most challenging as a set on TOUR, a fact due to sustained breezes from a southeasterly direction. The good news is that the worst of the wind in early forecasting is moderate and kicking up only on Thursday and Sunday. Nothing but sunshine and a few passing clouds will consume the sky.

    Make no mistake, however, par still remains a terrific score on the course. In fact, a field has beaten par in a round just twice since PGA National assumed its role as the host in 2007. Those rarities occurred in the third round (69.85) in 2014 and the second round (69.61) in 2017.

    Numerous changes have been made to PGA National in the last 12 months, but most of the impactful modifications involved bunkering on seven holes. All five dozen bunkers on the property also are equipped with new drainage and sand. So, the test still tips at 7,125 yards, the tallest of the overseeded rough might not reach three inches and the TifEagle bermuda greens will run 12 feet on the Stimpmeter.

    ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.

    MONDAY: Power Rankings

    TUESDAY*: Sleepers

    WEDNESDAY: Golfbet Insider

    SUNDAY: Payouts and Points, Medical Extensions, Qualifiers, Reshuffle

    * - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.

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