Featured Groups: The Honda Classic
February 27, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- February 27, 2019
- Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Billy Horschel will be paired together in the first two rounds at PGA National. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The oldest title sponsorship on the PGA TOUR. The hardest course (non-major) on TOUR. And in the hometown of some of the best golfers on the planet.
Add it all up and you get The Honda Classic. Former FedExCup champion Justin Thomas, coming off a final-round 62 at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, is in good form as he prepares to defend his title against a field of superstars at PGA National Resort & Spa.
Headliners at The Honda Classic include reigning Player of the Year Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Thomas – all of whom live minutes from PGA National Resort & Spa – on the first stop of this season’s revamped Florida Swing.
Luke List, who lost a playoff to Thomas a year ago, is back as he continues to pursue his first TOUR victory. Alex Noren, one shot out of last year’s playoff, is joined by Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer among top Europeans in the field.
The Golf Channel will carry primetime coverage starting at 2 p.m. ET Thursday and Friday, running until 6 p.m. each day. On the weekend they will have coverage from 1-3 p.m. with NBC taking over for the 3-6 p.m. slot.
PGA TOUR LIVE will begin at 7 a.m. ET on Thursday and Friday. Watch on Twitter from 7 a.m. to approximately 8:15 a.m. There will be a Fan Vote on Twitter to determine the second Featured Group on Friday. Final results will be provided near the end of Thursday’s round.
The Saturday and Sunday coverage begins at 9:00 a.m. and will move to Featured Hole coverage at 3:00 p.m. Featured Hole Coverage consists of the 15th (Par-3) and 17th (Par-3).
PGA TOUR Radio coverage is 12-6 p.m. in the first two rounds; 1-6 p.m. for the final two rounds.
Here’s a look at some of the Featured Groups (current FedExCup ranking in parentheses):
Adam Scott (22), Ernie Els (157), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (52) – Els, the captain of the International Team at the 2019 Presidents Cup, will play the first two rounds with International Team-hopefuls Aphibarnrat and veteran Scott. Aphibarnrat, the first player from Thailand to earn a PGA TOUR card, has two top-5 finishes in 2018-19, including a T3 at the WGC-Mexico Championship. Els has made 13 starts at The Honda Classic, highlighted by his win in 2008. He has yet to miss a cut in six starts this season. Scott won the 2016 Honda Classic and has four consecutive top-15s at the event. The Aussie comes into the week with a runner-up and T7 in his last three starts.
Round 1 tee time: 7:35 a.m. ET, No. 10
Brooks Koepka (17), Gary Woodland (3), Jhonattan Vegas (123) – Koepka (311.3 yards) and Woodland (309.9 yards) are among the top 15 in Driving Distance on TOUR this season, while Vegas (302.9) powers past the TOUR average (292.0) Reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year Koepka has three wins since missing The Honda Classic in 2018 due to injury; he defended his U.S. Open title, won the PGA Championship and this season’s CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES.
Woodland leads the field at No. 3 in the FedExCup and is on a TOUR-best streak of made cuts (20) dating back to the 2018 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. A member of the International Team at the 2017 Presidents Cup, Vegas’ best result on TOUR in 2018-19 came at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (T10).
Round 1 tee time: 7:45 a.m. ET, No. 10
Rickie Fowler (13), Justin Thomas (6), Billy Horschel (56) – 2017 FedExCup winner Thomas will play alongside fellow FedExCup champion Billy Horschel (2014) and fellow Honda Classic champion Fowler (2017). Ranked No. 6 in the FedExCup with five top-10s on the season, Thomas looks to join Jack Nicklaus (1977-78) as the only players to successfully defend their titles at The Honda Classic. Fowler earned his fifth career PGA TOUR title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in early February and has competed at PGA National every year since 2010. Horschel has not missed a cut during the 2018-19 season, highlighted by an eighth-place result at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Round 2 tee time: 7:45 a.m. ET
The second group will come via the Twitter fan vote from these choices.
7:05 a.m: Graeme McDowell / Chesson Hadley / J.T. Poston
7:15 a.m: Austin Cook / Daniel Berger / Brian Harman
7:25 a.m: Kevin Tway / Andrew Landry / Brice Garnett
7:35 a.m: Webb Simpson / Sergio Garcia / Martin Kaymer