TOUR Returns to Sunshine State

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2007 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Robert Allenby and Boo Weekley couldnt wait to get back to PGA National, which is somewhat surprising.
 
A year ago, each was poised to win the Honda Classic.
 
That is, until they blew it down the stretch on Sunday.
 
Allenby came unglued with bogeys the 15th and 16th holes in the final round, part of the three-hole setup known as the Bear Trap, a nod to course redesigner Jack Nicklaus'and wound up falling one shot short of a four-man playoff. Weekley could have won the tournament with a 3-foot par putt on the 72nd hole, only to miss and eventually fall to Mark Wilson in that playoff.
 
Both are here this week, each eager to put those memories to rest forever.
 
Its always going to be hard to block it out, Weekley said. Youve got to think about it. That was my first chance of winning a PGA TOUR event. Its always going to be there. But at the same time, that was last year and Im just going to try to go out there and focus on what Ive got to do.
 
Weekleys collapse in 07 was sudden. He strode to the green at the par-5 18th as darkness began falling Sunday evening, the crowd serenading him with a long cry of Boo. They watched his birdie putt miss, and were stone silent as he stood over the crucial 3-footer.
 
Moments later, they let out a sound of anguish.
 
Aint nobody who wants to three-putt, Weekley said. But its just part of how I play golf. It just happens.
 
So do bogeys, especially at PGA National, most especially when the wind is ripping through the Bear Trap.
 
Allenby thought the title'and $990,000 winners check'were in his hands last year, until he got to the 15th hole Sunday. He made bogey at the short par 3, followed by a bogey at the ridiculously tough par-4 16th'where the wind forced most players to hit driver and 4-iron'and his chances were done.
 
Ever since tapping in for par to end his final round last year, hes looked forward to giving PGA National another try.
 
If it wasnt for 15 and 16, I probably would be holding that trophy and I would have been the defending champion, Allenby said.
 
Instead, that honor goes to Wilson, who made the 07 Honda his first TOUR win. Yet what people remember most isnt what he did on Sunday or Monday, but rather what he did on Friday.
 
Wilson was struggling just to make the cut and needed three routine shots to finish the par-3 fifth hole during his second round. Problem was, caddie Chris Jones told Camilo Villegas, who was playing alongside Wilson, what his boss hit on that hole.
 
Thats where Rule 8-1 came into play.
 
Giving other players advice during competition is prohibited, so Wilson paid dearly for the caddies mistake. He called a rules official on the sixth tee and docked himself two strokes, putting his chances of staying for the weekend in serious danger.
 
I thought we were done, Jones said.
 
By now, everyone knows Wilson wasnt done.
 
In a stirring turnaround, Wilson was 8 under in the next 49 holes, got into a four-man playoff and ultimately prevailed. Now hes seeking to become the first back-to-back Honda champion since Nicklaus, who won three straight from 1976-1978.
 
Wilson still hears about the penalty just about everywhere he goes. Its part of Honda lore.
 
I guess it shows that theres more to the game than just hitting the ball in the hole, Wilson said. You know, I think thats maybe why it snowballed.
 
Snowballs arent in Thursdays forecast. But for Florida, itll have a wintry feel.
 
Temperatures fell into the high 50s on Wednesday afternoon, well below normal, and forecasters said wind chills'a phrase not often uttered in South Florida'could be in the high 30s by the time players begin teeing off Thursday morning.
 
Ive got a 7:44 tee time, lamented Woody Austin. So thats not a good spot to be in.
 
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