All good things must come to an end and it did last week at Riviera.  While I did not have Joaquin Niemann in my playbook, I did have six players make the Top 20 at the Genesis.  I’m actually pretty upset with myself because I’ve been pushing Niemann on you all for years now and of course this is the week he goes wire to wire.  There is nothing but upside with this 24 year old and I can’t wait to see what he does next.  You have to feel good for the future of the PGA Tour when you see that that top four finishes at this weekend’s Genesis were 25 years old or younger.  We will now turn the page and head to Florida for the Honda Classic.      

PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida has played host to the Honda Classic since 2007.  That means you can ignore everything that happened prior to that year.  The winning score has been anywhere between five under to 13 under par but seven of the last nine winners have failed to reach double digits under par.  The course is a Par 70 and is not long, measuring out 7,140 yards but man it can crush your soul.  It is ranked as the third hardest course on the PGA Tour schedule.  There is water all over the course with a total of 15 holes featured.  We’ve also got extremely narrow fairways and bunkers everywhere.  Oh and did I mention there is a stretch of holes affectionately called “The Bear Trap”?  Yea, we will get into all of this.  

These players will miss fairways and greens, so scrambling a stat I’ll be targeting heavily this week.  Distance is not an advantage this week as this course forces players to lay up a lot.  You should be looking to target strong mid and long iron players which means Strokes Gained: Approach per usual.  The last thing to worry about at PGA National is the wind.  I have looked at the forecast and winds looks to be pretty calm staying between 8-12 mph throughout the weekend.  Be prepared for these players to be humbled this weekend.  This is a course where you fade the chalk because no one is safe on a track like this one.  That’s another reason why you don’t see a great field because they don’t want to be humbled on this course.  We will see a lot of bogeys this weekend but it’s the players that avoid the big numbers that will come out on top this weekend.  

You heard me mention earlier, “The Bear Trap” and I would not be doing my job if I did not mention this stretch of holes.  The Par-3 15th, Par-4 16th and Par-3 17th was given this nickname because water comes into play on almost every full shot.  Starting with the Par 3 15th, that is a full shot over water into a diagonal green. If you hit in the sand behind the green, it's a tricky up and down with the green sloping towards the water. The 16th is a Par 4 which forces these golfers to play iron off the tee onto the fairway. Then a second shot over water into a slightly elevated green. Then we've got another Par 3 on the 17th which is 190 yards completely over water into a small green. These holes are not to be messed with as they are all three ranked on the PGA Tour’s 50 toughest holes.  These players will be humbled this weekend and it's nice to see every once in awhile.  Bogeys are going to happen this weekend but what these players have to avoid are the blow up holes which can happen very easily and at any time.

We’re looking for ball strikers this weekend!  As always, I wish you all the best of luck and make sure you follow me on Twitter @Drew_Phelps83.  Please feel free to tweet me throughout the weekend about the tournament.  Let’s all win big!

MY ONE AND DONE PLAY: Billy Horschel


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