The Honda Classic
The Honda Classic is a professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour in south Florida. It was founded 47 years ago in 1972 as Jackie Gleason's Inverrary Classic, and is usually the first of the Florida events in late winter following the "West Coast Swing."
|Location||Palm Beach Gardens, Florida|
|Established||1972, 47 years ago|
|Course(s)||PGA National Golf Club,|
|Length||7,140 yards (6,529 m)|
|Prize fund||$6.8 million|
|Aggregate||264 Justin Leonard (2003)|
|To par||−24 Justin Leonard (2003)|
Its predecessor, the National Airlines Open Invitational, ran for just three seasons (1969–71); all at the Country Club of Miami in Hialeah in late March. The Gleason tournament replaced it on the schedule a month earlier in 1972 at the Inverrary Country Club (East course) in Lauderhill, it was among the richest events on tour with an inaugural purse of $260,000 and a $52,000 winner's share. The regular event was not played in 1976, as Inverrary hosted the Tournament Players Championship in late February, won by Jack Nicklaus. Gleason's nine-year affiliation ended after 1980, but the event continued at Inverrary through 1983. It moved to the TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs in 1984 for eight editions.
From 1992 to 1995, the event was held at the Weston Hills Golf & Country Club in Weston. It then returned to Coral Springs, first at the TPC at Eagle Trace in 1996 and then at the TPC at Heron Bay from 1997 to 2002. In 2003, the event moved to Palm Beach Gardens, first at the Country Club at Mirasol through 2006, then began its current run at PGA National Golf Club's Champion Course in 2007.
Since 2007, the tournament's main beneficiary is the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation, chaired by Barbara Nicklaus, wife of golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
Some celebrated players have won this tournament, including Nicklaus in 1977 and 1978, the only consecutive winner in its history. However, the tournament had acquired a reputation for struggling to attract the 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 regular PGA Tour events. The total purse was $6.4 million in 2017, with a top prize of $1.152 million (this can be contrasted to the total purse in 1981 of $300,000 (the equivalent of only $826,757 in 2018 dollars). The original winner's share of $52,000 in 1972 made it one of the richest stops on tour, greater than for any of the four majors; it was more than double that of the Masters, which had a first prize of $25,000 in 1972.
|2007–19||13||PGA National Golf Club
|Palm Beach Gardens||Florida|
|2003–06||4||Country Club at Mirasol|
|1997–2002||6||TPC at Heron Bay||Coral Springs|
|1996||1||TPC Eagle Trace|
|1992–95||4||Weston Hills Golf and C.C.||Weston|
|1984–91||8||TPC Eagle Trace||Coral Springs|
|1972–83||11||Inverrary Country Club
- No event in 1976, Inverrary hosted TPC.
Four men have won the tournament more than once.
- 2 wins
- Jack Nicklaus: 1977, 1978 (consecutive)^
- Johnny Miller: 1980, 1983
- Mark Calcavecchia: 1987, 1998
- Pádraig Harrington: 2005, 2015
^ Nicklaus also won the 1976 Tournament Players Championship at Inverrary, which displaced the event.
- 1972: Tom Weiskopf outdueled Jack Nicklaus by one shot to win the first edition.
- 1974: Leonard Thompson earned the first of his three PGA Tour wins, one shot ahead of Hale Irwin. After his victory, Thompson donated $10,000 of his winnings to the Boys Clubs of America.
- 1978: Jack Nicklaus birdies the last five holes to defeat Grier Jones by one shot, for his third consecutive win at Inverrary.
- 1980: Johnny Miller records his first tour win since the 1976 Open Championship, finishing two shots ahead of Bruce Lietzke and Charles Coody.
- 1986: Monday qualifier Kenny Knox wins by one-shot over Clarence Rose, Jodie Mudd, Andy Bean, and John Mahaffey in spite of shooting a third round 80.
- 1987: Mark Calcavecchia wins his first Honda Classic title. Only the year before he worked as a caddy at the tournament.
- 1990: John Huston wears three different pairs of shoes in practice and during the tournament, after the PGA declared his wedge-soled Weight-Rites illegal.
- 1991: Steve Pate shoots the worst last-round score by a PGA Tour tournament winner in ten years, a 75, but still holds on to win by three shots over Paul Azinger and Dan Halldorson.
- 1992: Corey Pavin defeats Fred Couples in a sudden-death playoff only after holing a 136-yard 8-iron shot for eagle on the 72nd hole to tie for the lead.
- 1996: Tim Herron becomes the first PGA Tour rookie in 13 years to win a tournament wire-to-wire. He defeats Mark McCumber by four shots.
- 2000: Dudley Hart birdies the last four holes to defeat J. P. Hayes and Kevin Wentworth by one shot.
- 2004: Thirty-eight-year-old PGA Tour rookie Todd Hamilton wins by one shot over Davis Love III. Hamilton would go on to win The Open Championship later that same year.
- 2007: Mark Wilson wins the biggest playoff in the history of the tournament. His birdie on the third hole of sudden death defeats José Cóceres. Camilo Villegas and Boo Weekley, the other participants in the four-man playoff, had been eliminated on the second playoff hole.
- 2012: Rory McIlroy wins and claims the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. Brian Harman shot a course record 61 in the second round.
- Treglown, Dick (February 28, 1972). "Weiskopf wins Gleason crown". Palm Beach Post. p. D1.
- "Weiskopf no longer the brat". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. February 28, 1972. p. 3B.
- Global firm IMG buys company that runs Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- "Golf: Masters". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). August 10, 1972. p. 4B.
- The Honda Classic – Winners – at golfobserver.com
- The Honda Classic – Winners – at PGATour.com
- "Weiskopf captures Inverrary golf title". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, Iowa. Associated Press. February 28, 1972. p. 10.
- "Leonard Thompson wins Inverrary Classic". Spartanburg Herald. (South Carolina). Associated Press. February 25, 1973. p. B1.
- "Nicklaus rally tops Jones". Morning Journal and Record. (Meriden, Connecticut). UPI. February 27, 1978. p. 10.
- Miller snaps slump with Inverrary golf win
- Longshot Knox Takes Honda Classic
- Former Caddy, Calcaveccia wins Honda Golf Classic
- Mayo, Michael (March 11, 1990). "Huston's Feats Incredible in 3rd Pair of Shoes, 28-Year-Old Leads Honda by 1". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
- Pate Fights Winds, Wins Honda Classic
- Eagle helps Pavin eventually win Honda Classic in playoff
- Herron shakes off rookie status in Honda Classic win
- Hart right at home
- Hamilton captures Honda Classic
- Wilson wins Honda Classic in playoff
- Rory McIlroy takes No. 1 spot
- Brian Harman flirts with golf history