Honda Still Searching for Its Identity


2005 Honda ClassicThe Ford Championship has Doral. Bay Hill has Arnold Palmer. The Players Championship has the Fifth Major label. The Honda Classic has
While three of the four tournaments which comprise the tours Florida Swing have at least one defining quality, the Honda Classic is still searching for one of its own.
Todd Hamilton
Todd Hamilton became the 17th different player in a row to win The Honda Classic.
Maybe its due to its wandering ways. The Honda Classic has Bachelor in its blood. It just cant seem to settle down or make a firm commitment.
Ten years, four different venues. And a fifth may be in the near future. Its Warren Beattie still looking for its Annette Benning.
The Sunrise Course (par 72; 7,488 yards) at the Country Club at Mirasol will play host for the third consecutive season. But when the current contract runs out after 2006, the tournament may be on the move once again ' just a couple of miles down the road to PGA National.
But its Mirasol at the moment. And while it doesnt have the superstar field of last weeks Ford, it does have 1999 champion Vijay Singh, who will begin his quest this week to regain the No. 1 spot in the world, and Match Play champion David Toms.
Davis Love III is also on the commitment list. Love, who entered the event just prior to last Fridays 5:00 p.m. ET deadline, has finished runner-up each of the last two years in this event.
Justin Leonard knocked him off in 2003; Todd Hamilton was the culprit a year ago.
Before he was the British Open champion, Hamilton was just a 38-year-old tour rookie, who had lived a life more nomadic than even the Honda Classic.
A veteran of almost every imaginable circuit not named the PGA Tour, Hamilton birdied each of his final two holes to clip Love by a shot. Of course, he then went on to shock Ernie Els ' and the rest of the world ' in a playoff at the British Open.
Jack Nicklaus, in 1977-78, is the only player to successfully defend his title. But that might not be at the forefront of Hamiltons mind. Right now, he would probably just settle for a decent finish.
Hamilton has posted only three sub-70 rounds this year and has yet to crack the top 25.
Both Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo step out of the commentary booth and back onto the course this week. While Azinger has already played four times this season, Faldo will be making his first start on tour since last years PGA Championship.
This is the 33rd playing of the tournament, which was first contested as Jackie Gleasons Inverrary Classic. Tom Weiskopf was the initial winner, in 1972 at Inverrary Golf & Country Club.
Other notable champions include: Lee Trevino (1973), Larry Nelson (1979), Johnny Miller (1980, 83), Tom Kite (1981), Hale Irwin (1982), Curtis Strange (1985), Fred Couples (1993), Nick Price (1994) and Mark OMeara (1995).
The tournament purse has been upped $500,000 to $5.5 million. The winner will collect $990,000.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Honda Classic