Another chance for McIlroy and Woods
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2013 The Honda Classic | Preview | 26 Feb 2013
The PGA Tour moves east to Florida for this week’s Honda Classic at the PGA National Champions Course at Palm Beach Gardens where the world number one and two will look to regather and hopefully for them repeat their efforts of last year where McIlroy won and Woods tied for second.
McIlroy in particular will be keen to get things moving in the right direction after missing the cut in Abu Dhabi and his first round loss at last week’s Accenture Match Play Championship.
Woods missed the cut in Abu Dhabi but did win at Torrey Pines before losing in his first round match at the Accenture. Woods is playing this event for just the second occasion and given his good showing last year then his chances of victory appear very good.
McIlroy has played the event on four occasions but his win last year was his only top ten. Clearly there is mounting pressure on his performing well with the new equipment deal he has with Nike.
As has been the case in the past, however, McIlory has shown a great capacity to put his doubters and critics in place and he may well do that this week.
Charl Schwartzel has played this event just twice and has done well on both occasions finishing 5th last year and 14th in 2011.
Prior to his first round defeat last week Schwartzel was in stunning form finishing inside the top five in each of his last seven starts and it would be of little surprise to find him in contention again.
Jason Day is heading back to the level of golf he produced in his brilliant year in 2011. His third place last week at the Accenture was his third top ten in four starts in 2013 and although he has had no joy in his two starts in this event to date he is playing well enough to feature.
Justin Rose finished 5th in this event last year and was 3rd in 2010 and continues to play well wherever he plays.
Graeme McDowell did well enough in each of his last two starts in this event to be a factor again this week. McDowell missed the cut at Riviera but was impressive last week when making the quarter finals in Arizona.
Charles Howell 111 has made each of his six cuts in this event without really threatening to win but he is in such good form to start 2013 that things might be different this year.
Australians in the field are Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Greg Chalmers, Jason Day, Scott Gardiner, Matt Jones, Marc Leishman, Geoff Ogilvy, Cameron Percy and Alistair Presnell.
Steve Bowditch is currently an alternate and may yet get a start.