While I love the West Coast and all that it brings – a new year, new season, exciting venues, and the return of the familiar faces from the PGA Tour – when the Tour makes the jump over to the Florida Swing, it signals to me that the season is kicking into high gear! It’s the race to the Masters and all the stories that will be defining this year in professional golf.
We begin that journey this week at the Honda Classic. I’m a big fan of Palm Beach and so are many Tour pros. It’s a golf mecca and one that has the distinct honor of being home (well, home away from home) to Barbara and Jack Nicklaus. And with the Golden Bear’s presence the Honda Classic has grown to become a premiere event on the schedule. This week’s field boasts 23 major championship titles, including past champion and local resident Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, and Vijay Singh.
I made my first trip to PGA National two years ago. It’s a beautiful resort, course and a place where I feel the sun always shines and the weather is perfect. During my visit that week I had the pleasure to be a guest at the Nicklaus’ home. I would estimate there were at least 100 people in attendance, and everyone that came through the door was greeted in a receiving line first by Barbara and then by Jack. It was the perfect way for them to welcome their guests and they couldn’t have been more gracious.
Barbara and Jack had done their homework on everyone that walked through the door. While I’m sure they did know many of those visiting their home that day, they took the time to learn about those they did not. It was my first time meeting them, but Barbara immediately made me feel welcome by conversing with me about my life in a way that showed she had taken her time to research and remember me. Pretty spectacular.