As the PGA Tour begins its annual Florida Swing, a star-studded field heads to PGA National for the Honda Classic this week. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods finished first and second, respectively, a year ago, but this year another strong field will hope to best both of the top-ranked players in the world.
Here are some key pairings to keep an eye on when play begins Thursday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (all times ET. Click here for full-field tee times):
7:25 a.m. (10th tee): Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer, Dustin Johnson
Playing Honda for the second straight year, Woods is paired with another resident of South Florida, Johnson, who is still looking to reclaim the form that helped him win the season's first event in Maui. Kaymer, the 2010 PGA champion, is making his first start here but made it to the third round last week at Dove Mountain.
7:25 a.m. (1st tee): John Merrick, Jason Dufner, Louis Oosthuizen
Merrick will be making his first start since a surprising win at Riviera, while Dufner and Oosthuizen will both hope to rebound from early exits at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last week. Dufner has a pair of top-15 finishes in four starts at PGA National, while illness has forced Oosthuizen to withdraw here each of the last two years.
7:35 a.m. (10th tee): Russell Henley, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel
After Henley scored an upset win over Schwartzel at Dove Mountain last week, the two find themselves together again for the first 36 holes at PGA National. Joining them will be Rose, who finished third here in 2010 and tied for fifth a year ago. Schwartzel, meanwhile, led the field in GIR percentage last year en route to a T-5 finish.
12:25 p.m. (1st tee): Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Mark Wilson
Following his surprising loss in Arizona, the defending champion will play alongside Els and Wilson, who have also both won this event at PGA National. Els has put together a pair of top-25 finishes here since his win five years ago, including a T-21 result last year, while Wilson has made the cut only twice since winning in a playoff in 2007.
12:35 p.m. (1st tee): Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood
Each man in this trio will hope to shake off first-round losses at last week's event, highlighted by Westwood, who coughed up a 3-up lead in losing to Rafael Cabrera-Bello. Bradley was vocal Tuesday that fans labeling him a "cheater" for using an anchored-putting stroke have angered him and impacted his play thus far this year, while Fowler is one of many players in this week's field that considers the Honda a "home game," residing just a few miles down the road from PGA National.
Tags: The Honda Classic
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