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Honda Classic Starts This Week at PGA National

By: David Wood


The buzz this week for the first stop of the PGA Tour's "Florida Swing," the Honda Classic, is that Tiger Woods - a new resident of nearby Jupiter Island - will be teeing it up. The $5.7 million event starts Thursday on the Jack Nicklaus-redesigned Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

The Third Green at Champion
(Brian Oar Photography)

In addition to Woods, the field boasts all four major championship winners from last year: Charl Schwartzel (Masters), Rory McIlory (U.S. Open), Darren Clarke (British Open) and Keegan Bradley (PGA Championship). Add international players like Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, Camilo Villegas and Y.E. Yang - along with other Americans - and the Honda Classic will feature one of best fields of the season.

"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 like Bob Griese, Keith Byers and Nat Moore. "Four- or five-under could easily win the tournament," added the Swede.

"We're thrilled to be hosting the best field ever for the Honda Classic," noted David Fine, vice president of sales, marketing and revenue at PGA National. "It's going to be an exciting week."

From the Tee of Champion's 18th Hole
(Brian Oar Photography)

Few locales are better equipped for an event of such magnitude as PGA National; it knows what it takes to hold storied golf tournaments. In addition to being the venue of the Honda since 2007, the resort hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup, 1987 PGA Championship, and the Senior PGA Championship for nearly two decades.

Plus, the tournament venue 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 that the resort itself is where it wants to be. The "final round" of a $65-million revitalization has included enhancements to its 379-room resort hotel, clubhouse, golf courses (four others in addition to Champion), spa, health and racquet club, and conference/meeting spaces.

Among the contemporary additions is a zero-entry pool, a newly-named signature restaurant - Ironwood Steak and Seafood - and the iBAR, a place that will be filled this week with Honda Classic touring pros, caddies, media types and resort guests.

For more information about the Honda Classic, visit www.hondaclassic.com or http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/r010/. For more information about PGA National Resort and Spa, visit www.pgaresort.com.

In addition to writing on golf and travel, author and noted speaker David Wood has made several appearances on "Late Night with David Letterman" as well as dozens of other television shows. His book - "Around the World in 80 Rounds" - was just released in paperback on www.Amazon.com. Currently he works in public relations with Buffalo Communications in Vienna, Va. His website is www.DavidWoodSpeaking.com.