Honda Classic continues PGA Tour's Florida Swing
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2004 The Honda Classic | Preview | 10 Mar 2004
The PGA Tour continues it’s month long journey around the state of Florida with this week’s event, the Honda Classic at the Country Club of Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens.
The three-year-old venue was first used for the Honda Classic last year after moving from the Mark McCumber designed layout at Heron Bay at Coral Springs, which had been it’s home for the previous six years. The Arthur Hills designed Sunset course, one of the two courses at Mirasol, was used last year but this year the event moves to the adjacent Sunrise course designed by Tom Fazio. Interestingly enough however the final hole of the Hills designed course, will be used for this year’s event as it is better suited to tournament requirements.
Measuring around 7500 yards and carrying a par of 72, the course has Tiff Eagle greens. It is expected to provide a much greater test then its neighbour, Sunset, did last year when Justin Leonard finished the event at 24 under par to narrowly edge out Chad Campbell and Davis Love III for victory.
The event has not been blessed with well received courses over recent years with both the Eagle Trace (1996) and Heron Bay (97-2002) courses copping their share of criticism from the tournament fields. It appears, however, that this may well be a venue that will help to overcome some of that negativity.
Previous winners have included Matt Kuchar, who won the last of the Heron Bay events in 2002 and in 2001, Jesper Parnevik recorded his most recent victory on Tour.
The likely leading candidates this year are last year’s runner up and recent finalist at the Accenture Match Play, Davis Love III, David Toms, who played so well last week at Doral with a 5th placing, in form Chris DiMarco, Robert Allenby with three top 20’s in four starts this year in the US, last year’s runner up Chad Campbell, defending champion Justin Leonard, last week’s Ford Championship surprise winner Craig Parry and Kenny Perry.
The Australasians who are currently entered are Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley, Craig Parry, Rod Pampling, Geoff Ogilvy who was runner up in this event in 2001, Mark Hensby, Greg Norman, Steve Allan, Craig Perks, John Senden, and Greg Chalmers.
The event carries prize-money of $US5 million with a first prize of $US900,000.