Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic, second round
Friday, February 28, 2014
PHOTOS: Honda Classic, second round
See some of the action and emotion during Friday's second round of the PGA Tour's Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Rory McIlroy endured a rocky start early in Friday's second round at the Honda Classic – he erased early bogeys before stretching his lead on his second nine to pull away from the field.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, has started his round well back at 1 over – coming off a 71 to start his week and needing to gain ground if he is to play the weekend.
Follow Tiger's afternoon highlights and the rest of the field right here – and scroll down for our previous coverage!
• • •
Hole No. 18: Par 5, 556 yards
Tiger escapes "The Bear Trap" without any issues, but surely wouldn't have minded picking up a little cushion in relation to the cut line.
• Off the tee: Big stick and short grass: Tiger hits it in the fairway to give himself a look at getting home in two on this hole with plenty of water right.
• Approach shot: Sand and water nearly surround this green, providing plenty of opportunity for drama. With an iron in his hand, Tiger brings it left-to-right but the ball rolls into the back rough. It's good to be dry again, but it means he only hit one green in regulation on the back nine today.
• Around the green: A knockdown chip slides well right of the pin, leaving him some work for birdie. Call it a 10-footer for birdie, and Tiger just grazes over the right edge before tapping in for par. That keeps him on the good side of the projected cut line as he heads in.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1-under 69; T-65 at even par.
After the round, Woods talked about his surviving the cut.
"It was a grind, no doubt about that," he said. ". . . I didn't hit it very good, just one of those days."
Woods talked about expected winds of 10-20 mph for Saturday's third round.
"Would somehow like to put out a good weekend; we're all bunched in there," he said. "Anything can happen this weekend."
Asked how he would describe his feelings about his game, Woods looked for a silver lining.
"There's a lot of positives in there, certainly a lot of positives," he said. "Mainly I just feel hungry."
• Elsewhere on the course: Let's take a look at the players who are in the top 25 of the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings (*–outside projected cut line):
- 1. Tiger Woods: T-65, even par (1-under 69)
- 3. Adam Scott: T-22, 3 under (1-under 69)
- 4. Sergio Garcia: T-65, even (2-under 68)
- 9. Henrik Stenson: T-136, 9 over (6-over 76)*
- 11. Charl Schwartzel: T-32, 7 over (3-over 73)
- 12. Zach Johnson: T-22, 3 under (even-par 70)
- 13. Hideki Matsuyama: WD
- 15. Phil Mickelson: T-81 (1-over 71)*
- 20. Lee Westwood: T-4, 7 under (5-under 65)
- 21. Rory McIlroy: Leader, 11 under (4-under 66)
- 22. Brendon Todd: T-106, 3 over (2 over through 15)*
- 24. Keegan Bradley: T-22, 3 under (2-under 68)
• • •
Hole No. 17: Par 3, 190 yards
Another par 3 over water to be conquered. You have to think Tiger will err on the side of favoring dry land and any miss would be long and left.
• Off the tee: The shot lands on the back of the green and bounces off into the rough. A safe play that just barely backfires.
• Around the green: Time to lean on the short game again, as Tiger needs to get it close from about 50 feet. The ball is sitting low and he consults a rules official before playing the ball as it lies – Tiger's chip is true, to about a foot, for another tap-in par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under through 17 (even for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Playing in Tiger's group, Zach Johnson misses farther left than Tiger and faces a tough shot from the bunker, but flops it to about a foot and remains even for the day, T-23 at 3 under. Just earlier, Patrick Reed had closed with birdie for 67 and heads into the weekend T-37 at 2 under.
• • •
Hole No. 16: Par 4, 434 yards
Our Adam Schupak notes via Twitter: "Tiger with a Ho-Hum par at 15, first leg of the 'Bear's Trap.' " But it's starting to feel like that chip-in a couple of holes ago has Tiger hanging on to make the cut, rather than pushing his way into the weekend. Let's see if he can take command of his game on these last three holes.
• Off the tee: Tiger goes with iron again and bisects the fairway, getting some roll at that.
• Approach shot: This one misses long and right, landing near the green but falling into the bunker. Get that wedge out again.
• Around the green: The wedge is still red-hot, as Tiger plays from the bunker to about a foot or two. Another tap-in par leaves Tiger still with no margin for error in relation to the cut.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under through 16 (even for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Will McGirt has run off five straight pars and remains T-4 at 7 under with five to play. Patrick Reed, who matched Tiger Woods' 1-over 71 yesterday, is 2 under today with one to play and looking good to make the cut. Also starting the day 1 over was Ted Potter Jr., but at 5 under through 14 holes he's risen to T-18.
• • •
Hole No. 15: Par 3, 179 yards
With four to play, two are par-3 holes after that stretch of seven straight par-4s. It puts an onus on his iron play but takes the pressure off his long game.
• Off the tee: Middle of the green always works, even if it takes the successful-of-late wedge out Tiger's hands. A moderate-length putt for birdie remains.
• On the green: Tiger's got just less than 50 feet for birdie here, and gets the speed right but misses just left. Pretty much a textbook par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under through 15 (even for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Brendon de Jonge misses the green with his approach at No. 9, his last hole of the day, then overshoots his pitch. A par try from at least 30 feet doesn't miss by much, but it's enough to give Rory McIlroy sole possession of the lead again at 11 under. De Jonge taps in for bogey and a 64 that has him alone at 10 under, two shots clear of third-place Russell Henley.
• • •
Hole No. 14: Par 4, 465 yards
The short game is bailing out Tiger right now, changing a potential bogey-bogey sequence to par-birdie instead. Wedges are important, folks.
• Off the tee: Short grass again, probably 250-ish; Tiger needs to stay in play, so that's OK.
• Approach shot: In a bit of a trend here, Tiger's short of the pin again – this time well short of the elevated green.
• Around the green: Another good little wedge shot here for Tiger, though it checks up and stops a couple feet short and left of the cup. The par putt is important but simple enough and Tiger's still inside the cut at T-67.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under through 14 (even for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Graeme McDowell shot 3-under 67 today – then announced he and his wife are expecting a baby girl later this year.
Oh, on the course? Brendon de Jonge again ties for the lead thanks to a birdie at No. 8; he's 11 under alongside Rory McIlroy with one to play.
• • •
Hole No. 13: Par 4, 393 yards
These last six holes will be critical to Tiger's fate for the weekend. His steady play on the front nine has given way to erratic tee-to-green play on recent holes. Let's see if the sand save at the 12th can turn him around.
• Off the tee: Iron here gets Tiger in the short grass.
• Approach shot: This one's short of the pin and on the right-side collar of the hourglass green. Won't be much of a line for a birdie try here.
• Around the green: Boom! Tiger lofts it off the fringe and the ball rolls in for a birdie. That's big – it gets him inside the projected cut line at T-68.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under through 13 (even for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Brendon de Jonge tries to jump back into a share of the lead at the par-3 sixth hole, hitting his tee shot to about 15 feet or so. But the putt misses and he remains solo second at 10 under.
• • •
Hole No. 12: Par 4, 438 yards
• Off the tee: Now wide left. And again, Tiger misses pretty badly off the tee.
• On the approach: From the wrong side of the cart path, Tiger hits it to the edge of the front-right bunker. The ball rolls in for a decent lie.
• Around the green: A nice, high bunker shot gets Tiger to tap-in range, and he avoids a bogey he could ill afford after his second straight wild drive. Perhaps the wedge will provide momentum for a turnaround.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even through 12 (1 over for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Luke Donald is still climbing, getting to 7 under and T-4 alongside Russell Knox, Will McGirt and Lee Westwood.
Brendon de Jonge, on the other hand, drops from the lead with a bogey at No. 6.
• • •
Hole No. 11: Par 4, 450 yards
• Off the tee: Wide right. Tiger's in the rough near an adjacent tee box.
• On the approach: Tiger has to settle for a pitch out of trouble before taking aim at the green with his third shot; from about 150, a familiar distance for him today, he's left. Par isn't looking likely.
• Around the green: A big flop shot lands on a ridge left of the green and rolls down to a little more than 5 feet; he sinks the bogey putt. It's a nice up and down, but that puts him T-76 with a weekend at home staring him in the face.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even through 11 (1 over for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Will McGirt's second birdie of the day moves him to 7 under. His 65 yesterday tied Rory Sabbatini for the early lead, and he climbs to T-4 here. Sabbatini, by the way, has been moving in the other direction today and is 3 over; through nine holes he's T-36 at 2 under.
Brendon de Jonge, however, is the story of the afternoon. His birdie at No. 5 is his seventh of a bogey-free round and lifts him into a share of the lead at 11 under alongside Rory McIlroy.
• • •
Hole No. 10: Par 4, 508 yards
• Off the tee: Mostly reliable off the tee today, Tiger again finds the fairway – a must on this long par-4 for a player around the cut line and looking to play the weekend.
• Approach shot: Misfire. Tiger misses left and finds the bunker.
• Around the green: A nice, high shot from the sand nearly holes out, bouncing just short of and just past the pin. The short comebacker for par is good.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under through 10 (even for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Luke Donald shot a 3-under 67 to start his week; today he's 3 under through 10 holes as a birdie at the 10th lifts him to T-6 at 6 under.
As for Phil Mickelson, he's been in the clubhouse for some time at 1 over, on the outside of the cut line looking in. But his position on that mark has risen to T-77 during afternoon play. Could other players' numbers keep rising high enough that the lefty gets to the weekend?
• • •
Hole No. 9: Par 4, 421 yards
• Off the tee: Fairway again for Tiger, down near the 150 once more.
• Approach shot: There's one. Pin high and just right of the flag, Tiger gives himself his easiest birdie putt of the day off of an iron shot.
• On the green: It's tough to know whether Tiger's putter is "on" today or not, given all the long putts he's faced. From about 10 feet here, though, it's "on" indeed – and he gets a much-needed birdie before the turn, climbing to T-63 and getting inside the projected cut line.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under through nine (even for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: At the par-5 No. 3 hole, Brendon de Jonge gets near the green in two and gets up and down for birdie – pulling within a shot of leader Rory McIlroy.
• • •
Hole No. 8: Par 4, 427 yards
• Off the tee: Down the middle here. Tiger's got to find some birdies amid all the chances he's been giving himself.
• Approach shot: Tiger has been steady today but isn't knocking down any flagsticks. From inside the 150 here, he only finds the front edge of the green with the pin middle-left. Another birdie try that's far from a gimme awaits.
• On the green: 40-some-odd footers aren't going to cut it. Tiger's again close to the right line here, but it runs a few feet past; the comebacker's good.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even through eight (1 over for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: After the turn, Brendon de Jonge narrowly misses a birdie putt and taps in for par to remain 9 under, solo second and two back of leader Rory McIlroy.
• • •
Hole No. 7: Par 3, 226 yards
• Off the tee: Pin high but well left of the right-front pin, Tiger's ball stays on the edge of the green – but birdie doesn't seem likely.
• On the green: Wow. So close. From about 40 feet, Tiger's long birdie try nearly rolls in, stopping within a putter head of the cup. It's just a dramatic par, though.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even through seven (1 over for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Playing in Tiger's group, Keegan Bradley is 1 under for the day with a birdie at the par-5 third hole – then fires it close at the seventh and makes his short birdie putt to move to rise to T-20 at 3 under for the week.
• • •
Hole No. 6: Par 4, 479 yards
• Off the tee: Driver down the middle – and for perspective, our Adam Schupak notes: "Hit the draw he needs to hit with consistency if he wants another green jacket this year."
• Approach shot: Decent shot finds the green as the ball stops on the back edge within reasonable birdie range.
• On the green: Needing birdies, Tiger has about 20 feet here. This one bends to the right and he'll need to tap in for another par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even through six (1 over for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Brendon de Jonge birdies at No. 18 to pull within two of the lead before he makes the turn; he's 9 under. Like Russell Knox, John Senden fired a 63 this morning that matched leader Rory McIlroy's first-round mark. Senden is T-8 at 5 under.
• • •
Hole No. 5: Par 3, 217 yards
• Off the tee: At this water-guarded hole, Tiger finds the green safely. It'll be about 30 feet for birdie though.
• On the green: Tiger's first putt comes up short here and he settles for par on a hole he bogeyed yesterday. T-82 isn't going to get it done though.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even through five (1 over for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: The low man on the course is Brendon de Jonge, who earned notice at the Presidents Cup late last year. De Jonge has run off three straight pars since birdieing four of his first five and remains T-2, three back of leader Rory McIlroy.
• • •
Hole No. 4: Par 4, 395 yards
• Off the tee: Again passing up the driver, Tiger misses the fairway anyway as his ball veers left.
• Approach shot: From the rough, Tiger hits it into a greenside bunker. Time for a sand save.
• Around the green: The news isn't good for Tiger, as our Adam Schupak relays via Twitter: "Fried egg for tiger and he left it in the sand." After that, however, his second bunker shot leads to a makeable bogey putt and the tough lie only costs Tiger one shot – but that drops him outside the projected cut at T-84.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even through four (1 over for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Russell Knox, who shot 59 at last year's Boise Open on the Web.com Tour, climbs to T-4 and 7 under with a second-round 63 that sports no bogeys on the card. He's tied with Lee Westwood on that mark.
• • •
Hole No. 3: Par 5, 538 yards
• Off the tee: Big drive here for Tiger, as our Adam Schupak notes via his Twitter account, @GolfweekSchupak: "Tiger slugs a driver into the middle of the fairway at No. 3. He got all of that one."
• Approach shot: No question what Tiger's plan is after that drive. He indeed reaches in two, but faces probably 60 feet for eagle – with birdie a more realistic goal.
Tiger's mom watches him cozy his eagle putt near the hole. Says that's birdie & heads off to 4th hole. Here's a pic: pic.twitter.com/DBH0KJ8AbK— Adam Schupak (@GolfweekSchupak) February 28, 2014
• On the green: A good first effort gets Tiger inside 5 feet for birdie, with his mother Kultida watching. Tiger converts the birdie putt to gain a stroke and get on the good side of the projected cut at T-68.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under through three (even for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Brendon de Jonge's start of three straight birdies at Nos. 10-12 is followed by a par. He then hits his approach at No. 14 to inside 5 feet looking for another birdie, and he converts to rise to T-2 at 8 under.
• • •
Hole No. 2: Par 4, 464 yards
• Off the tee: Again forgoing the driver, Tiger finds his second fairway of the day.
• Approach shot: No green in regulation here for Tiger, as he finds the rough at back left.
• Around the green: Decent chip here from Tiger gets him to about 5 feet for a makeable par attempt; he converts and again stands pat.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even through two (1 over for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: A closing birdie lifts Russell Henley to solo second at 8 under, three back of leader Rory McIlroy. Henley's 68 is good enough to get him one ahead of Lee Westwood and his 65; Westwood is T-3 alongside Brendon de Jonge, who is 3 under through four holes to climb to T-7 early in his afternoon round.
• • •
Hole No. 1: Par 4, 365 yards
• Off the tee: Tiger's first tee shot of the day finds the short grass; no driver on this short par 4.
• Approach shot: From inside the 150, Tiger finds the green and gives himself maybe a 20-foot look at birdie out of the gate.
• On the green: Tiger's first putt of the day isn't quite on the mark as he can't convert for a quick birdie. He makes a comebacker for par and remains T-87.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even through one (1 over for tourney).
• Elsewhere on the course: Flying under the radar after some early miscues, Adam Scott carded a down-then-up round of 1-under 69 to get to T-19 at 3 under. Scott started his round with six straight pars, then carded two straight double bogeys at Nos. 16-17. After the turn, Scott was bogey-free; he made three straight birdies at Nos. 1-3 and added two more at Nos. 5 and 9. He's T-20 as things stand.
• • •
Update #22: 12:29 p.m. EST
A birdie at the 16th lifts Russell Henley back to 7 under and four back of leader Rory McIlroy. Henley then misses the green at the 17th but pitches to within 5 feet and saves par.
Russell Knox is 6 under for the day and the week after a birdie at No. 5 lifts him to T-4.
• • •
Update #21: 12:16 p.m. EST
At his last hole of the day, and possibly the week, Phil Mickelson finds the green with his approach but leaves a putt of more than 30 feet. He two-putts for par and a 71 that sends him to the clubhouse 1 over, on the outside of the projected cut. Tiger Woods will soon start his day on that mark, looking to climb.
• • •
Update #20: 12:01 p.m. EST
With back-to-back pars, leader Rory McIlroy wraps up a 66 that sends him to the clubhouse four shots clear of Lee Westwood. McIlroy's five-hole stretch with four birdies on his second nine of the day made the difference. But his 63 yesterday came during afternoon play, which could mean several players with afternoon tee times are within reasonable striking distance to close that gap.
A bogey-birdie-bogey stretch drops Graeme McDowell to T-30 and 2 under; he follows with a par at No. 8 and has one left to play today.
• • •
Update #19: 11:54 a.m. EST
At No. 8, Phil Mickelson hits his approach inside 10 feet for a birdie look. At 1 over, he'll need any gains he can get to see the weekend at PGA National with the projected cut at even par. But this birdie try slides past and he settles for a par. He'll head to the final hole of his second round looking for one last try.
Rickie Fowler has been quiet today, a bogey at No. 7 dropping him to 1 under for the day, T-30 at 2 under. He follows with a par before he heads to the last.
• • •
Update #18: 11:47 a.m. EST
Phil Mickelson's chances of making the cut are looking slim, as he's 1 over with two to play. With leader Rory McIlroy at 11 under and Mickelson at T-87 (alongside Tiger Woods, among others), even birdieing his last two par-4s could leave him on the outside looking in.
Speaking of McIlroy, he pars No. 8 to remain 11 under with one to play today, four shots clear of Lee Westwood. A bogey at No. 14 has dropped Russell Henley to T-3 at 6 under alongside Jamie Donaldson.
• • •
Update #17: 11:29 a.m. EST
Rory McIlroy's fourth birdie in five holes pushes him to 11 under and stretches his lead back to four shots over Russell Henley – and Lee Westwood, who birdies Nos. 3-4 to climb to 7 under.
Jason Kokrak wraps up a 66 with a pair of birdies at Nos. 17-18 that give him a 4-under back nine. Kokrak was even on the front thanks in part to this eagle that offset two bogeys later before the turn (mobile readers can see the video here). Kokrak is T-10 at 4 under for the week alongside eight others as things stand.
• • •
Update #16: 11:21 a.m. EST
Russell Henley, who held at least a share of the lead much of Thursday morning, birdies at No. 13 to climb to 7 under and solo second. Henley gets his round under par for the first time and is three back of leader Rory McIlroy.
• • •
Update #15: 11:05 a.m. EST
Rory McIlroy has caught fire late in his round. He has made three consecutive birdies on Nos. 3-5 to get to double digits (10 under) for the tournament.
Joining Russell Henley at 6 under is Jamie Donaldson, who was at 6 under previously in his round before bogeying. The Welshman birdied the 16th – he started on the front nine – and is four-shots back of McIlroy.
• • •
Update #14: 10:46 a.m. EST
Back-to-back birdies for Rory McIlroy vaults him into a three-stroke lead at the Honda Classic. This time is was a short birdie putt on the fourth hole (his 13th).
• • •
Update #13: 10:36 a.m. EST
With a birdie at the par-5 third, Rory McIlory gets into red figures for his second round. After reaching the green in two, McIlroy two-putted and tapped in for birdie. He gets to 8 under total and two-shots ahead of Russell Henley.
• • •
Update #12: 10:11 a.m. EST
Rickie Fowler continuing his strong play from his semifinal appearance at the WGC-Accenture Match Play. Fowler, who lives in nearby Jupiter, Fla., is 2 under in the second round after a short birdie putt drops. Fowler is currently 3 under for the tournament in a tie for 15th – four shots back of Rory McIlroy.
• • •
Update #11: 9:56 a.m. EST
D.H. Lee has withdrawn after nine holes during the second round of the Honda Classic. Lee, who shot 2-over 72 on Thursday, was 5 over on the back nine on Friday before withdrawing. He made three bogeys and a double.
• • •
Update #10: 9:45 a.m. EST
Rory McIlroy makes the turn in even par (7 under for the tournament) with a birdie at the 18th. McIlroy, the 2012 Honda Classic champion, had two bogeys and two birdies on the back nine (his front nine) at PGA National. He takes a one-shot lead over Russell Henley.
• • •
Update #9: 9:35 a.m. EST
Phil Mickelson made bogey at the 14th, but on the 16th he made double bogey with a three-putt. Mickelson, who is playing in his first Honda Classic since 2002 and PGA National since his junior golf days, is now 2 over on the day and for the tournament.
• • •
Update #8: 9:17 a.m. EST
After bogeying his opening hole, Daniel Summerhays parred the 11th and then has gone on to birdie Nos. 12-17, and has a good look at birdie on the par-5 18th. Summerhays is 5 under on the day through eight holes and is 5 under for the tournament – one back of the leaders.
• • •
Update #7: 9:12 a.m. EST
Rory McIlroy gets one back at par-3 16th with a short birdie putt. McIlroy is 1 over through seven holes, but it gets him back into a tie for the lead with Russell Henley.
• • •
Update #6: 8:59 a.m. EST
Billy Horschel, one of Rory McIlroy's playing competitors in the first- and second-round, is heading in the wrong direction on the leaderboard. Horschel made back-to-back bogeys on the 13th and 14th to drop to 5 over for the tournament and currently in a tie for 133rd.
• • •
Update #5: 8:43 a.m. EST
Russell Henley reaches the green in two at the par-5 third, and two putts for birdie. He gets back to even on the day after making bogey on No. 2. That also vaults him into the solo lead early in this second round.
• • •
Update #4: 8:37 a.m. EST
Phil Mickelson has started his day on the back nine at PGA National. He is 1 over through the first four holes with a bogey at the par-4 11th.
• • •
Update #3: 8:20 a.m. EST
The course seems to be playing hard this morning. Rory McIlroy and Russell Henley, who just teed off, just made bogeys to drop back to 5 under for the tournament. Jamie Donaldson, who also was tied for the leader at 6 under, bogeyed the fifth hole.
• • •
Update #2: 8:01 a.m. EST
Rory McIlroy has failed to get up and down from the rough on the par-4 11th and that drops him to 6 under for the tournament. He's now in a tie for the lead with Jamie Donaldson, who birdie the fourth hole to get to 6 under, and Russell Henley.
• • •
Update #1: 7:45 a.m. EST
The second round from PGA National is underway, and first round leader Rory McIlroy is on the course. He teed off at 7:25 a.m. and parred the first hole. Phil Mickelson, who shot even-par 70 Thursday, is right behind McIlroy on the course. And Russell Henley, a shot back of McIlroy at 6 under, is off at 7:45.
• • •
PHOTOS: Honda Classic, first round
See the action and emotion of the first round of the PGA Tour's Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
A 63 in the afternoon vaulted none other than Rory McIlroy, he of the noted withdrawal a year ago, to the top of The Honda Classic leaderboard during Thursday's first round. At 7 under, McIlroy leads Russell Henley by one shot with a trio of players another shot back tied for third. Here are 5 Things to know from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
When Tiger Woods was asked to name the positives from his 1-over 71 in the first round of the Honda Classic, he racked his brain and came up empty. “I hit it good enough to shoot probably at least three or four lower than I did,” he said. Woods' putter was colder than the polar vortex wreaking havoc on much of the United States.
Brendon de Jonge came to Florida looking for some help, and he may have found it in Nick Price. Price, whose 50 worldwide professional victories include 18 on the PGA Tour including three majors, worked for more than an hour with de Jonge. They focused on head position, ball position and grip, trying to find the perfect combination.
After 13 years, 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and agent Chubby Chandler are calling it quits. “Just felt like a change,” Schwartzel said of the move. “It was nothing personal, nothing anyone did wrong.” Chandler was surprised by the decision.
Derek Ernst made a huge splash by winning the Wells Fargo Championship last spring in Charlotte. Since then? The Honda Classic is his 24th start since winning at Quail Hollow, and he has missed the cut in 15 of those events. In other words, golf hasn’t been very much fun.
With seven of the OWGR's top 10 in the Honda Classic field this week, plenty of buzz surrounds PGA National – and Rory McIlroy needed a 63 to climb to the top of the leaderboard Thursday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. William McGirt and Rory Sabbatini were the best of the morning groups at 5 under, but McIlroy bested them by two shots and Russell Henley shot 64.
• • •
While traditionally playing both Doral and Bay Hill prior to the Masters, Tiger Woods has added the Honda Classic this year and hinted that he might add one more prior to his date with Augusta National.
It's been a whirlwind few weeks for Jason Allred, picking up a third-place finish at the Northern Trust Open, a third child that was born on Monday and winding down with a pressure-packed tee time this week at the Honda Classic.
The last time Phil Mickelson played at PGA National he was a junior golfer. The last time he played the Honda Classic, it was 2002 – and he had yet to win a major.
Louis Oosthuizen has withdrawn for the Honda Classic due to the recurring back injury that has plagued the South African for months.
Our Jeff Rude comments on Steve Elkington's unfortunate Twitter posts on NFL prospect Michael Sam, while also reading between the lines on Sergio Garcia's claim on conceding a long putt at the Ryder Cup.
Tiger Woods returns to competition on the PGA Tour as the co-favorite at the Honda Classic at PGA National, along with 2012 Honda champion Rory McIlroy.
Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel and Brooks Koepka are three names mentioned often among the expert picks to win or contend at this week's Honda Classic on PGA Tour. Conspicuously absent? Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.