|The Honda Classic - March 06, 2006
THE HONDA CLASSIC
The CC at Mirasol (Sunrise)
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Par: 36-36—72 Yards: 7,384
2005 Champion: Padraig Harrington (274, -14)
Purse: $5,500,000 Winner's share: $990,000
The Honda Classic Notes
- When Padraig Harrington closed with a 9-under 63 in last year’s final round, it was the lowest closing round by a winner in the history of the tournament. Harrington’s 63 also helped him erase a seven-stroke deficit. Brett Wetterich and Geoff Ogilvy shared the third-round lead, giving Harrington the largest come-from-behind win in Honda Classic history. The 63 was also a career best for the Dublin, Ireland, native.
- A trio of players have each earned well over $1 million in career earnings in this event. Vijay Singh, the 1999 champion and a two-time runner-up, leads all players, with $1,212,368, while Davis Love III, twice a runner-up (2003-04) is second, with $1,136,852. The third member of that group is Mark Calcavecchia, with $1,027,015. Calcavecchia was the 1987 and 1998 champion.
- A total of nine players posted their first PGA TOUR victory at The Honda Classic, including three of the previous four winners — Matt Kuchar (2002), Todd Hamilton (2004) and Padraig Harrington (2005). In addition Leonard Thompson (1974), Larry Nelson (1979), Kenny Knox (1986), John Huston (1990), Tim Herron (1996) and Stuart Appleby (1997) all won their initial TOUR titles at The Honda Classic.
- No player has made more starts in The Honda Classic than Mark Calcavecchia. Calcavecchia, who has played every tournament since 1987, will be making his 21st appearance in the event. He originally made his debut in 1982. In addition, Brad Faxon has made 18 prior starts and has been a top-10 finisher in his last two appearances. He tied for sixth in 2005 and eighth in 2004.
- In the previous 33 events, the third-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win the event a total of 15 times. However, in the last seven years, only Jesper Parnevik (2001) and Todd Hamilton (2004) have held on to win the event.
- Jack Nicklaus is the only player to defend his title, defeating Grier Jones by one stroke in 1978 after posting a five-stroke victory in 1977 over Gary Player. In his 1978 victory, Nicklaus birdied the final five holes.
- In the history of The Honda Classic, a total of eight players have shot rounds over par during the tournament and still went on to claim a win. The most recent player to do so was Todd Hamilton, who shot a 2-over-par 74 in his final round but still held off Davis Love III by one stroke for his first PGA TOUR victory. However, the most significant recovery came in 1986 when Kenny Knox rebounded from an 8-over-par 80 in the third round to defeat Andy Bean, Jodie Mudd, Clarence Rose and John Mahaffey by one stroke. Knox’s round came on a day that featured 45 mile-per-hour winds and cold temperatures. In fact, the field averaged 79.250 that day.
- The Country Club at Mirasol ranked 30th in difficulty among 2005 PGA TOUR venues, with an average score of 71.948 for the tournament. In the two previous years it had ranked 23rd (72.482) and 53rd (69.075), respectively. The most-difficult hole in 2005 was the par-4 13th, at 4.260. The easiest was the par-5 fifth, at 4.582.
- Bubba Watson had a string of 99 consecutive holes without a bogey end last week at the Ford Championship at Doral. While no official records are kept in this category, Tiger Woods’ streak of 110 in a row in 2000 is believed to be the TOUR record.
- How about this alumni group? Little Milton, FL, High School has produced four players currently playing on one of the three Tours — Heath Slocum and Bubba Watson of the PGA TOUR, Boo Weekley of the Nationwide Tour and Jerry Pate of the Champions Tour — all attended Milton HS.
- He’s playing well and he has a track record at The Honda Classic. Therefore, you might want to watch out for Davis Love III this week. The veteran has made the cut in all 11 career starts in this event and has five Top-10 finishes to his credit, including back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2003 and 2004.
- If not Love, perhaps an international player. In the first 21 years of The Honda Classic, not one international player emerged victorious. In the last 12 years, however, five international players have won — Vijay Singh, Nick Price, Jesper Parnevik, Stuart Appleby and Padraig Harrington.
- There will be plenty of international players on hand this week at The Honda Classic with competitors from 19 countries outside the U.S. entered.
- One more international note: There are 22 countries represented among the Top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking. The U.S. far and away leads the pack with 40 players, but Australia has 13 and England 10 to lead the international contingent.
- If the tournament is in Los Angeles, look out for Gil Morgan. The veteran has won the AT&T Classic three times in 10 seasons on the Champions Tour. When you factor in his two victories on the PGA TOUR in the City of Angels, Morgan has an amazing record of five wins, two seconds, three thirds and 14 Top-10 career finishes in the city. His last Champions Tour victory came in this event back in 2004.
- If you want distance and accuracy, check out the driving numbers of Tom Kite and Tom Watson so far. Both are in the Top 10 in both distance and accuracy. Kite is 10th in Distance and 5th in Accuracy while Watson is 6th in Distance and 10th in Accuracy.
- Players entered into this week’s AT&T Classic won a total of 34 major championships while on the PGA TOUR. The field features the winners of 14 U.S. Opens, 10 PGAs, seven Masters and three British Opens.
- The Class of 2005 continues to make its mark on the PGA TOUR. Camilo Villegas’ runner-up effort last week gives the Class nine Top-10 finishes already this year, including three seconds and one third.
- More on the Class: Three members of the Class are among the Top 30 money winners on the TOUR (Villegas, Nathan Green and Bubba Watson) with eight players ranked among the Top 125.
- More Alumni Notes: Half of the current Top 30 on the money list areformer members of the Nationwide Tour.