This week, The PGA Tour starts its four-tournament Florida swing with the Honda Classic at the PGA National Champion Course.
The Honda Classic is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the PGA Tour roster, and, as ever, a host of golf’s biggest names will be taking part.
Rory McIlroy won the tournament last year, and he’ll be looking to put his season on track after a lacklustre start to 2013.
World number two, Tiger Woods – who shot a final-round 62 last year to finish in outright second – will also be looking to bounce back after a first-round exit at the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
The likes of Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood are among the other high-profile names in action this week.
The PGA National Championship Course is renowned as being one of the toughest tracks on the PGA Tour roster, thanks, in part, to the ‘Bear Trap’ – the brutish 15th, 16th and 17th holes.
AT 7,158 yards, it isn’t the longest, but with birdie opportunities few and far between, bogey avoidance will be key.
This week, Woods is the 7/1 favourite with Ladbrokes, but with so many big names in the field, there is some good value on offer.
Lee Westwood, at 20/1 with Ladbrokes, looks a good bet this week. Granted, he lost to Rafa Cabrera-Bello in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play, but he played some good golf at the Northern Trust Open and already boasts a top-five on the European Tour this season. He also has a very good record at the Honda Classic, finishing fourth last year and ninth in 2010.
Martin Kaymer, at 33/1 with Ladbrokes, is someone I think will do well at the PGA National. The German tends to play good golf in Florida, and he’ll be relatively confident after reaching the third round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play last week. He looks to be coming back into form, and currently ranks third in approaches from 125-150 yards, first in approaches from 150-175 yards and first in approaches from 175-200 yards on the PGA Tour.
Nicolas Colsaerts, at 66/1 with Ladbrokes, looks well priced this week. The Belgian played some fine golf last week, beating the in-form Bill Haas and world number six Justin Rose comfortably at the Match Play. He currently ranks second in Driving Distance and 11th in Greens in Regulation, and he could contend if he gets the flat stick working.
Paul Casey, also 66/1 with Ladbrokes, is worth backing this week. The Englishman has come into some form of late, and will be determined to make an impression in a field full of quality golfers. The former world number three also needs a good couple of weeks to earn a Masters berth, and he’ll be confident returning to a course where he finished fourth in 2010.
Ricky Barnes, at 250/1 with Ladbrokes, is a rank outsider this week, but I’ve got an inkling about him. He’s missed the last four cuts, and will be desperate to get his season back on track after a promising start. What’s more, he finished fourth at the Honda Classic in 2011, so he clearly feels at home on this golf course.
Honda Classic advised bets:
2pts each way on Lee Westwood at 20/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Martin Kaymer at 33/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Nicolas Colsaerts at 66/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Paul Casey at 66/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Ricky Barnes at 250/1 with Ladbrokes