Fantasy Island Honda Classic

By Rex HoggardMarch 3, 2009, 5:00 pm
MARANA, Ariz. ' After a week of bracket-busting and broken dreams lets celebrate a return to normalcy by way of old-fashion, 72 holes of stroke play on a what-you-see-is-what-you-get Honda Classic layout.
In retrospect, burning one of our five Tiger Woods picks at a match play event may have been worth a mulligan, but with only four more chances to pick the world No. 1 it kind of takes the guess work out of the rest of the season.
2007 Honda Classic

Pick a Foursome: Tough choice between Sergio Garcia and Camilo Villegas considering both players south Florida resumes, but the Colombian looked better last week at the Match Play and he was runner-up at the Honda in 2007. Els may be the easiest pick; hes the defending champion and his play at the Match Play suggests the Big Easy is poised for a big year.
Picks: A: Camilo VIlligas; B: Ernie Els; C: Stewart Cink; D: Andres Romero
Note: One player from four categories based on the World Golf Ranking (1-10, A; 11-20, B; 21-30, C; 31-40, D). Points awarded on money earned ($1 = 1 point).

Salary Cap: Its a good week to throw a few big-ticket players into the mix and Ernie Els ($2.5 million) and Camilo Villegas ($4.4 million) can anchor any team at PGA National.
McIlroy is a steal at $250K, the kid is a star-in-waiting, and Compton, the double heart transplant playing on a sponsor exemption, may as well have Good Karma stitched into the side of his staff bag.
Picks: Camilo Villegas, Ernie Els, Boo Weekley, Rory McIlroy, Erik Compton (Total: $9.85 million)
Note: Five players with a $10 million cap based on 2008 earnings. Rookies without 2008 earnings will be priced at $250,000. Standings based on overall team earnings.

Pick One: Ernie Els. The Honda Classic is a tough pre-season pick and, to be honest, going with the defending champion is a layup, but the Florida Swings fourth wheel defies analysis. Consider the last three winners ' Els (a multiple major championship winner), Mark Wilson (a little-known Q-School grad) and Luke Donald (an unproven international talent). If theres a pattern, we dont see it.
Note: Players must be picked before the start of the season and used only once. Standings based on total earnings.
In addition to my PGA Tour Pick One, the staff will be offering up their picks to win. A player can be picked a maximum of five times. We will be keeping a running tally of the monies earned each week. The participants include: Brian Hewitt, Insider; Jay Coffin, Editorial Director; Mercer Baggs, Editorial Manager; Brian Koressel, Senior Producer; Dena Davis, Assistant Editor; Erik Peterson, Travel Editor; Jerry Foltz, special contributor.

NamePlayer PickReasonMoney
Rex HoggardBoo WeekleyBack home in Florida, albeit a vastly different Florida than the one the Panhandle native is accustomed to, Weekleys game is a perfect fit for PGA National.$348,128
Brian HewittRory McIlroyGeoff Ogilvy won on another big stage last week but McIlroy came very close to stealing the show. No Ogilvy this week. McIlroy is the guy everybody's talking about in South Florida. So much game for one so young.$1,605,405
Jay CoffinRobert AllenbyI picked him at Riviera two weeks ago and he played well for three rounds. He hasnt finished worse than fifth here in the two years since the Honda has moved to PGA National.$2,884,985
Mercer BaggsCamilo VillegasBack in south Florida. Playing well at the moment.$1,427,563
Erik PetersonCamilo VillegasGood history at the Honda and hes played well recently in South Florida (Merrill Lynch Shootout).$1,251,817
Brian KoresselDavis Love IIINever has missed the cut and game is on the rise again.$1,660,344
Dena DavisCamilo VillegasThe Colombian with the most difficult name to pronounce on Tour (it's Ka-me-low Vee-jay-gaas, amigos) has T24 and T2 finishes at the Honda the last two years, and if you haven't noticed, he's been muy caliente in '09.$1,928,456
Jerry FoltzHeath SlocumCall it a hunch. Had dinner with him Saturday so now I'll feel somehow responsible if he wins. Plus, he's playing well--3rd in Mayakoba. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, he plays well in Florida.


Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

    After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

    Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

    Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.

    Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

    It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

    Getty Images

    Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

    Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

    The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

    Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

    "I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

    "It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

    Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

    Getty Images

    Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

    Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

    Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

    After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

    McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

    "I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."

    Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

    McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

    "The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

    This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

    "I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

    Getty Images

    Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

    By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

    Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

    Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

    "I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

    While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

    "I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."