2022 Honda Classic course notes and pick
The PGA Tour will make the leap from the West Coast to the Florida Swing with the 2022 Honda Classic, set to tee off Thursday at PGA National's Champion Course in Palm Beach.
The Honda Classic 2022
Sun, February 27 2022, 9:00 PM
Twelve of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking will comprise the 144-player field, including tournament favorite Sungjae Im (+1000), who won the Shriners Children's Open in October, and last week's Genesis Invitational champion Joaquin Niemann (+1800).
A number of European players will also make their first PGA Tour appearance of the calendar year, such as Tommy Fleetwood (+2000), Shane Lowry (+2500), Lee Westwood (+6600), and Ian Poulter (+9000).
Let’s further examine PGA National's Champion Course layout in order to select the best bets for the 2022 Honda Classic.
PGA National course notes
The par-70, 7,125-yard Champion Course opened in 1981 and was the site of the 1983 Ryder Cup, along with the 1987 PGA Championship and the Senior PGA Championship, from 1982-2000.
In 2002, the Tom Fazio design underwent a $4 million renovation before it became the permanent home of the Honda Classic in 2007. Jack Nicklaus helped update the layout in both 1990 and 2014, and is the inspiration behind "The Bear Trap," the infamous three-hole stretch of the par-3 15th, par-4 16th, and par-3 17th.
Warning: the Bear Trap ⚠— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 17, 2021
The field's combined score on holes 15-17 at PGA National since 2007: +3,906.
Golf is hard @TheHondaClassic. pic.twitter.com/qO3i2D2SVw
All three holes of "The Bear Trap" are surrounded by water and large bunkers that can quickly wreak havoc on a player's scoresheet. Since 2007, more than 1,600 balls have gotten wet along this stretch, and in 2021, no player completed "The Bear Trap" without making a bogey.
The back nine is not the only part of the layout you have to worry about, though. Just three of the 18 Champion Course holes are free of water, and nearly 70 bunkers blanket the course, which has seen winning scores lower than 9-under just three times in the last decade.
Thankfully, the fast, Bermudagrass greens offer a massive target — around 7,000 square feet on average — but they become increasingly tricky when wind comes into play.
Players who conquer PGA National's Champion Course usually rank highly for the week in scrambling, bogey avoidance, greens in regulation, and strokes gained off the tee, approaching the green, and around the green.
Interestingly, longer hitters also tend to perform well on this short layout that produces one of the lowest driving distance averages of any course.
PGA National hole locations, 2022 Honda Classic
Best bets at the 2022 Honda Classic
One player to watch for at PGA National is Billy Horschel (+2000), who finished sixth at the Phoenix Open and 11th at the Farmers Insurance Open in his two most recent Tour appearances.
The 35-year-old has posted two top 10s at this tournament and three top 25s in nine starts, and should feel right at home in Palm Beach, a little more than an hour outside his hometown of Grant, Florida.
The University of Florida alum also ranks 18th on Tour in greens in regulation percentage, and is in the top 30 in scrambling, bogey avoidance, strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained around the green.
I gave it a run today @WMPhoenixOpen and my game is trending in the right direction. Looking forward to the Florida swing! Congrats to Scottie- what a well deserved first win! pic.twitter.com/HWOsPIiErM— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) February 14, 2022
Another player who comes into the weekend in solid form is Tennessee native Keith Mitchell (+3300), who posted top-15 finishes in four of his last five tournament appearances.
One of those top 10s was at the Sony Open in Hawaii, another par-70 tournament that has seen a handful of its winners triumph at PGA National, including Justin Thomas, Russell Henley, Mark Wilson, and Ernie Els.
Mitchell ranks in the top 35 on Tour in strokes gained tee to green, driving distance, greens in regulation percentage, scrambling, bogey avoidance, and par-3 scoring. Look for the 2019 Honda Classic champion to vie for a top-10 finish on Sunday.
How to watch the 2022 Honda Classic
The winner of the 2022 Honda Classic will receive $1.4 million of a $8 million purse and 500 FedExCup points.
You can catch all the action on the following days and times:
2-6 p.m. ET
2-6 p.m. ET
1-3 p.m. ET
3-6 p.m. ET
1-3 p.m. ET
3-6 p.m. ET