The tour heads off to Florida this week and back to stroke play after last week exciting match play tournament at the WGC. The Champions course at The PGA National Resort at Palm Beach Gardens was originally designed by George and Tom Fazio in 1981 and Jack Nicklaus was commission to undertake a redesign in 2001, adding the famed “Bear Trap” group of holes from 15th-17th.
With its wide fairways and large accepting greens, the course realise on course management and strategy for its defence. There are 107 bunkers and sixteen of the holes have water on them. The Championship Course has been dedicated to Jack Nicklaus, in honour, they say, “Of a man whose commitment to golf has been an inspiration to the game, and personifies the high standard of excellence we associate with the “Player of the Century.”
Past champions include; Ernie Els 70/1, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington 45/1, Vijay Singh 90/1, Fred Couples, Johnny Miller, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Johnny Miller, Larry Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Tom Weiskopf.
My tips to win are:
By Rory McIlroy’s 15/2 own admission last week, he wasn’t at the top of his game and although he sees these tournaments as a build up to the Masters, I think his game is in good enough shape to win here this week.
Lee Westwood 9/1 was striking the ball superbly in Arizona and will look to be taking that form into this week’s event. Lee has been working on his short game and you could see an improvement on the tricky Ritz-Carlton greens.
Mark Wilson 40/1 has won this tournament before back in 2007 shooting two rounds of 66 on his way to victory, which always helps to have those types of positive memories in the banks when you’re in the thick of it.
My each way tips are:
Padraig Harrington 45/1 has played two events on both the European and PGA Tours making the Top 10 on each continent, he looks to have got his swing and mind sorted this season and I can see the 2005 Honda Classic Champion challenging again this year.
Unfortunately for Louis Oosthuizen 40/1 he ran into an inform Hunter Mahan last week at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, but Louis has been in great form since the back end of last year and finished his previous seven events all in the Top 10, winning one and finishing in the Top 5 in another two.
Vijay Singh 90/1 has had an up and down start to the season, but the 1999 Honda Classic champion seems to enjoy playing here and apart from his victory, he has also finish second and forth, when his decided to tee it up in this event.
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