With so many playing options in so little time, The Forecaddie wondered what tournaments would get squeezed this year. The PGA Tour player jury has returned its first verdict of 2018-19’s schedule change: the Honda Classic.
At least, as far as star power goes.
The Man Out Front used to receive press releases touting the amazing Honda fields but this year only got a rudimentary player list. Upon crunching the numbers, The Forecaddie counted three of the world top 10, six of the top 25 and just 13 of the top 50.
The 2017 Honda Classic drew 12 of the top 25, while the 2016 event lured four of the top 10 and 11 of the top 20. Just four years ago, the Honda touted the best field “in the modern day history of the tournament” when 16 of the top 25 players in the world teed up just a year after 13 of the top 25 were entered.
Given several factors, the sudden falloff in field quality should be a wake-up call given Honda’s role as the longest-running continuous tournament sponsor on the PGA Tour. Add in the number of players who live nearby and PGA National’s place as a course players regard as unlovable but a strong examination of skill, and The Forecaddie has no problem declaring this a new schedule victim.
With Honda’s deal only extended to 2021, expect conversations in the coming week about the role of World Golf Championships in Mexico City and Austin have played in undermining the strength of such a stalwart event.
Expect even more if next Monday’s annual Seminole Pro-Member draws more top-25 players than the once-vaunted Honda. Gwk