This event has been hosted at several places over the years but settled at the PGA National since 2007, it hosted the Ryder Cup in 1983 and the 1987 PGA Championship, it went under renovation in 2002.
Course PGA National
Its a par 72 and is 7,048 yards it was designed by George and Tom Fazio then redesigned by Jack Nicklaus, its fairways are Bermudagrass: perennial ryegrass and the greens are Tifeagle Bermuda. The course is made up of four par 5s, four par 3s and ten par 4s.
There is only one place to start and that’s the Bear Trap holes 15-17 which are the signature holes on this course possibly only out done by Amen corner as three most famous holes in the states
The Bear Trap has two par 3s, kicking off on the 15th, it’s a 179-yard hole that requires a slight draw off the tee sending it over the water on the right-hand side. There are two bunkers beyond the green, the smart play is to aim at the bottom tier on the left and hope for a two-putt to a back pin if the hole location is on that portion of the green then more birdies can be had.
The 16th hole is a dogleg right par 4 which measures 434 yards off the Tee, there is water along the right-hand side with fairway bunkers to protect the aggressive drivers and the overly cautious ones. The green shape runs diagonally to the right of the approach shot from the fairway, we have seen numerous players over the years going for the money shot and ending up either in the bunker or worse into the water, play the safe way and walk off with a much deserved par.
The final hole on the bear trap is another Par 3, the 17th is the best by far and the scariest of them. It’s a tee shot pretty much over water to a thin-ish green that runs long, miss it on the right side? splash, bail out left? you’ll be fortunate to find a bunker or you might go further left into the grass either way a poor second shot could send your ball to a watery grave.
As stated earlier PGA National is one of the toughest nuts to crack on the tour, undoubtedly solid ball striking is the way to get the job done, keeping your ball out of the numerous water hazards will help you achieve success with solid ball striking.
PGA National is undoubtedly a tough test only twice in the last seven years has the winning score been double digits both Rickie Fowler in 2017 and Matt Jones in 2021 have shot -12, the other winning scores over the past seven years have been -8 -9 -6 -8 and -6 from Sun Jae Im.
Just how difficult the course plays is dictated by how hard the wind blows and of course if the track has been softened up by the rain
2011 RORY SABATINI 1st TTG – 39th SGOTT – 4th SGAPR – T21st GIR – 1st SCR – 21st SG PUTT.
2012 RORY MCllROY 2nd TTG – 2nd SGOTT – 8th SGAPR – T10th GIR – 1st SCR – 9th SG PUTT
2103 M THOMPSON 4th TTG – 34th SGOTT – 3rd SGAPR – T5th GIR – 36th SCR – 5th SG PUTT
2014 R HENLEY 3rd TTG – 28th SGOTT – 16th SGAPR -T26th GIR – T9th SCR – 31st SG PUTT
2015 P HARRINGTON 2nd TTG – 52nd SGOTT -2nd SGAPR – T24th GIR – 6th SCR – 37th SG PUTT
2016 A SCOTT 3rd TTG – 5th SGOTT – 2nd SGAPR – 1st GIR – 6th SCR – 23rd SG PUTT
2017 R FOWLER 7th TTG – 10th SGOTT – 16th SGAPR – T18th GIR – T9th SCR – 2nd SG PUTT
2018 J THOMAS 1st TTG – 13th SGOTT -1st SGAPR – T14th GIR – 1st SCR – 28th SG PUTT
2019 K MITCHELL 1st TTG – 12th SGOTT – 7th SGAPR – T22nd GIR – T2nd SCR – 38th SG PUTT
2020 SUN JAE IM 1st TTG – 11th SGOTT – 5th SGAPR – T2nd GIR – T5th SCR – T38th SG PUTT
2021 M JONES 1st TTG – 10th SGOTT – 7th SGAPR – T5th GIR – 17th SCR – 25th SG PUTT
As we can see from the past 11 years SGTTG and SGAPR are very important stats, only Rickie Fowler has finished out of the top 5 for strokes gained tee to green and strokes gained approach is massively important no winner has finished no worse than 16th, putting doesn’t seem that important but would be good to have the flat stick working for you rather than against you, most of the winner also had decent scrambling stats.
Looking at past winners and placed players a few tournaments keep popping up, form from the Masters – the players and Arnold palmer invitational seems relevant matt Jones 3rd at Arnold Palmer, Sun Jae 3rd twice at the Arnold Palmer, Mitchell T5- T6 at the AP, Thomas 1st in the players and 4th in the Masters, Harrington 2nd twice in the players, Fowler 1st-2nd in the players 2nd in the masters, Mcllroy 1st in the players 1st in the AP. The greens on the course spoken about are Bermuda at both the players and AP and bent grass at the Masters, I would dare to say players who perform well on Bermuda grass will thrive at the Honda,
Another similarity that is relevant some of the winners have form in the Open Championship both Rory and Padraig have won in the Open, Fowler has finished T2nd – T6th and won the Scottish open, JT 11th, Scott 2nd-T3rd -T5th.
One other point to note on this roll of houour only 5 of the past 11 winners have hailed from the US.
From the point of recent form its a bit of a mish mash some players came into it with good form but other have no form to speak of so for me were looking for a player with strong good TTG and good APR twinned with the fact they are good on Bermuda and possibly have some form on the courses i spoke about.
BERGER 16/1 3PTS EW W,HILL 8 PLACES
After a much needed break Daniel is back and hopefully with a bang, he missed the cut at the Phoenix and prior to that he posted a T20 at the Farmers and a T5th at the Sentry. The world number 21 has gone close here before finishing second here in 2105 and t4th in 2020, his stats this year lead me to believe he’s got the tools to get the job done here his TTG is T10th his SG APR 7th and his GIR are 30th in this year to date standings, he also has form on other Bermuda grass courses he’s won twice at the St Jude.
OoSTHUIZEN 20/1 2PTS EW W,HILL 8 PLACES
Louis missed last weeks Genesis but the guy is ultra consistent, he’s been plagued at the end of last year with a lower back problem. were hoping for the louis of old with him dialling in the wedges. He’s got some course form here T24 -T21 but nothing to write home about, his recent form reads T14 -MC – T26 – T14, his recent stats read as 1st in GIR 14th TTG. Louis has the course form I’ve spoken about he’s won an Open Championship and T3rd he has a masters 2nd and players T2nd its been quite some time since he won 2018 to be exact so with such a weak field its probably as good time as ever to do it.
FLEETWOOD 20/1 2PTS EW W,HILL 8 PLACES
Just like Louis its been some time since he lifted a trophy not as long though as Oosty he won in 2019 in the Nedbank Challenge hosted by no other than Gary Player, tommys old form boasts of 5 wins on the DPWT Tour and he’ looking to get his first win in the states after his close 2nd in the U.S Open in Shinnecock hills in 2018 losing by one shot to Brooks Koepka. He has a 3rd and 4th place here at the PGA National his recent stats are T8th -T12th -T48th -T36th.
PEREIRA 40/1 1PT EW W,HILL 8 PLACES
Mito had a wonderful year in 2021 winning twice on the KFT he also just missed out on an Olympic medal by finishing T4th, he’s had an up and down start to the season with him missing two cuts and posting two solid efforts to date he T25 at the Farmers and this week a solid T15 at the Genesis, his T14th GIR, 22nd SGOTT and 25th SGAPR are welcome numbers for the form book, it wont be long before this Chilean gets his maiden win
VEGAS 50/1 0.5PTS W,HILL 8 PLACES
Three time PGA tour winner Jhonattan Vegas is back to his old best with a couple of good scores posted, its been a long time between drinks but after his T8th in the Saudi International his game seems to be in a much better place, his T55 at the genesis showed some good stats he was 20th SGTTG – 14th SGAPR – T8 GIR, He posted a T4th at the Honda and he also posted a 3rd – 7th at the players, it would be nice to see this gentleman in the winners circle.
BEZUIDENHOUT 50/1 0.5PTS EW W,HILL 8 PLACES
Christian is settling in well on the PGA tour he’s still a maiden on the PGA, he’s been solid this year unfortunately he missed the cut at Genesis seems like the driver wasn’t playing ball hopefully a stint down the range has fixed that, he’s no course form to speak of as he’s not played the Honda before. its going to be tough with him facing the Bear trap for the first time but with that exceptional short game he wont be far away from the first win.