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World’s best square off at the Honda Classic

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Defending champion Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the world’s Nos. 1 and 2 ranked golfers respectively, will look to reestablish their dominance on the PGA Tour this week at the Honda Classic held at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

McIlroy’s two-stroke victory at the 2012 Honda Classic came against a charging Woods, who shot a final round 62 to finish tied for second. His victory in the duel against Woods propelled McIlroy to the top of golf’s world rankings for the first time in his career — second youngest player to Woods to reach the top spot — but McIlroy’s 2013 season is off to a slow start. Like Woods, he was booted in the first round of last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain, and missed the cut when he teed it up together at their season opener — the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

The field at the 2013 Honda Classic will boast 13 of the world’s top 25 ranked golfers, all looking to tame the difficult Championship Course at PGA National. The 7,110-yard, par -0 has held the 1983 Ryder Cup, the 1987 PGA Championship and 18 Senior PGA Championships.

Jack Nicklaus redesigned the course in 1990, giving claws to the three-hole gantlet of Nos. 15, 16 and 17 nicknamed “the bear trap” after the Golden Bear himself. Last year at the event, 24 percent of all bogeys, 52 percent of all double bogeys and 74 percent of all triple bogeys were credited to the stretch of holes according to PGATour.com

McIlroy, who is looking to join Nicklaus as the second player to successfully defend his Honda Classic title, managed to play the three-hole stretch in 3-under for the week on his way to victory last year.

The Europeans will look to end the eight-tournament streak of American-born winners on the Tour this year, and recent history is on their side. The only American winner of the Honda Classic in the last eight years was Mark Wilson who won in a playoff in 2007, the first year PGA National hosted the event.

McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen (No. 5), Justin Rose (No 6), Lee Westwood (No. 9) and 2012 British Open Winner Ernie Els (No. 24), although born internationally, will be playing on home turf — they all have houses nearby the Palm Beach Gardens Area.

Woods, Keegan Bradley (No.18) and Dustin Johnson (No. 19) who also live nearby in Jupiter, Fla., will represent the American side at PGA National. Johnson was a late add-in to the tournament after an early first round exit at the WGC Match-Play Championship.

Woods and Johnson will be searching for their second Tour victories this year.

Click here to see our inside the ropes photos from the Honda Classic

 

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Adam Solowiei

    Feb 26, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I would expect Rory to play fairly well this week. everyone jumped on his equipment change but the reality he was knocking the rust off. The guy only have 54 holes played in 2013.

    This week though I really like Schwartzel. Throwing out the match play event he is on fire and one of the best ball strikers in the world. He is 2nd (I believe) in strokes saved putting which will only help.

  2. Troy Vayanos

    Feb 26, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    It will be interesting see how Rory McIlroy goes in this tournament. I’m thinking he will want to start showing some form with the US Masters just around the corner.

    I don’t think he needs to win this tournament but definitely needs to make the cut and be in the thick of the action.

  3. Brandon

    Feb 26, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    The tiger cancer? You mean the one that has won 75 PGA tournaments and 14 majors. Ya don’t hang out with that wouldn’t want to catch any of that. That sounds bad haha

    • Scratch

      Feb 27, 2013 at 9:42 am

      It’s not like being around him rubs off on others. Yeah he’s great. Nothing more needs to be said or debated. But when you look at the success of folks that join the Nike stable something does happen. And it ain’t good. Think Duval. Think Cink. It’s too soon to watch what happens to Rory. I don’t think it has anything to do with Tiger other than he knows most club changes don’t work. Think Payne Stewart. Maybe helping to lure them to Nike is a coincidence. That he’s really a team player (check Ryder cup record of this great player). It’s interesting. But tiger is great. Maybe the others were not.

  4. Jon

    Feb 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Rory needs to stay far away from the Tiger cancer. It’s not looking too good with the new switch. Money isn’t worth it sometimes.

    • brokeinorlando

      Mar 2, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Tiger Cancer? WTH? Rory is a 23 yr old stud with too much money and a new girl, he can hit any clubs. I along with 99% of golf enthusiasts would like to have a little of the “Tiger Cancer” he is a flat out winner.

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Tour News

Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open

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After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Bill Haas injured in fatal car crash in Los Angeles

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Bill Haas was involved in a fatal car crash in Pacific Palisades, Calif., site of the Genesis Open, Tuesday night.

The 35-year-old was riding in the passenger seat of a Ferrari driven by a member of the family with whom Haas is staying this week. According to LA County fire officials, the Ferrari collided with a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman. Haas and the driver of the BMW were transported to a local hospital. The 71-year-old male driver of the Ferrari was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Ferrari also reportedly “clipped” a vehicle driven by actor Luke Wilson prior to the rollover. Wilson was not injured, per a police report.

Per PGATour.com, Bill Haas’ manager, Allen Hobbs of Players Group Management, released the following statement Wednesday morning.

“Last night in Pacific Palisades, California, Bill Haas was involved in a serious car accident in which the driver—a member of the family with whom Haas and his family were staying for the Genesis Open—was killed. While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and—more importantly—his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time.“

“Bill will withdraw from the Genesis Open and plans to head home to Greenville to recover. He appreciates the support of friends, family and the golf world as a whole, and he has asked for privacy as he processes what has happened.“

Geoff Shackelford tweeted this video of the KTLA coverage of the crash.

Bill Haas’ father, Jay, spoke with Todd Lewis on Golf Channel’s morning drive earlier in the day, saying his son was “very fortunate.” Beyond swelling in one of his legs and pain, Haas sustained no serious injuries, according to his father.

See the discussion in the forums here

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