The Honda Classic is one of the best tournaments in the PGA Tour calendar. The Honda Classic brings the world’s best PGA TOUR players to Palm Beach County, providing a week of entertainment for the entire community, with a greater goal of supporting South Florida charities through the Children’s Healthcare Charity, Inc.
Some celebrated golfers have won this tournament, including Jack Nicklaus in 1977 and 1978, the only consecutive winner in its history. However, the tournament had acquired a reputation for struggling to attract top players as it moved from course to course in South Florida. Since 2007, The Honda Classic has seen a vastly improved player field, largely due to the decision to make PGA National the tournament’s permanent home.
The prize money is comparable to other PGA Tour events outside of the “big nine” (the majors, the World Golf Championships individual events, The Players Championship, and The Tour Championship).
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The Legend of the Bear Trap
“The Bear Trap” on PGA National Resort & Spa’s The Champion course is an intimidating trifecta of holes – 15, 16 and 17 – known as among the most demanding 3-hole stretches on the PGA TOUR. Winners of the PGA TOUR Honda Classic and U.S. Senior PGA Championships have had to face its perils to come out with victory. How The Bear Trap is played invariably determines the winner of a tournament or even a match between PGA National’s resort guests.
“The Bear Trap” was coined in honor of the difficulty and as a tribute to PGA Tour legend Jack Nicklaus. A plaque and bear statue celebrate what has come to be known as one of the ultimate challenges a golfer can face for three consecutive holes. Play The Bear Trap at your peril. The legend grows every day.
What the Pros Say About the Bear Trap
“It should all be won or lost here” – Jack Nicklaus
“There are no bailouts. You have to commit and hit a good shot” – Tiger Woods
“I don’t care if they make golf balls that go for a thousand yards. The Bear Trap will stand the test no matter what the equipment is” – Jack Nicklaus
“No. 17 is one of the hardest we play” – Jesper Parnevik
“It’s not about length, it’s about precision. It’s about guts. It’s all about what do you have in your chest that you can finish those holes” – Jack Nicklaus
“On Sunday when the pin is in the back right on No. 17, this is the hardest hole we play on TOUR” – Robert Allenby
“Standing on the 15th tee, even with a six-shot lead, I’m going to be nervous still. You’re got to get good shots coming in” – Mark Wilson
“There’s a pretty good reason they call it the Bear Trap because if it doesn’t get you one way, it’s going to get you another” Rory Sabbatini
Past Memorable Winners
2016 Honda Classic
Adam Scott overcame a quadruple-bogey on the 17th hole on Saturday and bogeys on the 9th and 10th holes on Sunday with sensational play all week to outlast Sergio Garcia by one stroke. Scott used his typical great ball-striking to secure the 12th victory of his career and proved that he is too good to be overshadowed by the youth movement on the PGA TOUR. He has more wins than any other player under 40.
Champion: ADAM SCOTT 70-65-66-70 – 271 $1,098,000
2015 Honda Classic
Padraig Harrington ended an almost seven-year winless drought dating back to the 2008 PGA Championship by defeating 21-year-old upstart Daniel Berger of Jupiter on the second hole of a playoff in the storm-delayed 2015 Honda Classic. Harrington was more than twice as old as his playoff foe and used that veteran calm to make a routine par on the par-three 17th as Berger hit his tee shot into the water. The dramatic finish was on Monday as a massive storm washed out most of play on Saturday.
Champion: PADRAIG HARRINGTON 67-66-71-70 – 274 $1,098,000
2014 Honda Classic
Russell Henley captured his second PGA TOUR win over the strongest field in a tournament to date, including 8 of the top 10 ranked players in the world. Henley prevailed by way of a four-man playoff against Russell Knox, Ryan Palmer and Rory McIlroy. McIlroy began the day with a two-shot lead, but stumbled with a final round 74. While McIlroy struggled on the final day, he still fought his way into a position to win with an amazing 2nd shot into 18th green that set up an 11 foot eagle putt. When his attempt slid by, the stage was set for a thrilling finish, culminating with Henley’s birdie on the first playoff hole for the win.
Champion: RUSSELL HENLEY 64-68-68-72 – 272 $1,080,000
2012 Honda Classic
Rory McIlroy held strong to a final round lead, managing clutch pars down the stretch to secure a two-shot victory over Tiger Woods and Tom Gillis. With the win, Rory McIlroy ascended to #1 in the Official World Golf Rankings, the 2nd youngest player ever to reach the position. Playing The Honda Classic for the first time as a pro, Woods started the fourth round nine strokes back of McIlroy before electrifying tournament crowds, culminating in a birdie-eagle finish to complete a career-best final round 62.
Champion: RORY MCILROY 66-67-66-69 – 268 $1,026,000
All Time Best Shots
There has being some incredible shots in the Honda Classic through the years, and this are the best shots of the history of the tournament.