Jan 24, 2014; La Jolla, CA, USA; Tiger Woods tees off on the twelfth hole on the North Course during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

PGA Tour: Welcome To Florida, The Honda Golf Classic and the Bear Trap

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There is a reason that when the PGA Tour moves on to Florida and the Honda Classic, many names that you have seen in the standings every week during the West Coast Swing have disappeared. The fields get stronger, and the golf courses get tougher. Case in point PGA National, the 7241 yard par 70 layout at Palm Beach Gardens was designed and built by George and Tom Fazio in 1981 and specifically commissioned to host major championship golf.

The course was redesigned in 1990 by Jack Nicklaus and the Bear Trap at the 15, 16, 17th holes was added to  provide a genuine test, and some dramatics for professional golfers wanting to win a golf tournament. The Honda Classic came to town in 2007.

As the first in a series of tournaments that lead up to the Masters in April. The Honda Classic traditionally marks the return of most of the top International players to PGA competition and can offer some star-studded fields. In 2013, Michael Thompson outlasted the strong field, the wind, and the Rory McIlroy dramatics to pick up his first PGA Tour win.

A list of who-is-who in World-Wide Professional Golf will be in the field this week. We haven’t seen the World Number one player, Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour since Torrey Pines, and number two, Adam Scott has been missing in action since the Sony Open in Hawaii. Both will be in the field this week.

2013 US Open Champion, Justin Rose has withdrawn from the event due to continued problems with his shoulder. Rose was eliminated early from the Accenture Match Play Championship last week, and looked to be struggling with his shoulder. There is no indication if the worlds 6th ranked player will return to action.

Also missing from the field this week is Fed Ex Cup points leader, Jimmy Walker, and last week’s Match-Play Champion, Jason Day. I’m guessing, Jason Day is busy spending some of that $1.5 Million Dollar prize money he won at Dove Mountain, and recovering from the 41-hole marathon he played on Sunday afternoon.

Heeee’s Baaack!! Last year, 2012 Honda Classic Champ, Rory McIlroy walked of the course on Friday afternoon citing problems with a toothache. He walked off the golf course after hitting a couple of balls in the water, and left the property.

The young Ulstermen was in the middle of an equipment change, a new romance, and spent a large portion of the 2013 golf season trying to recover a golf game and career that won almost everything in golf during the 2012 season.

McIlroy turned the corner in December when he came from four strokes back at the Australian Open to beat Adam Scott for his one, and only win during the 2013 season.

The 2014 season has been pretty good to Rory McIlroy. Most of his starts this year have come on the European Tour where he finished in second place in a tie with Phil Mickelson at Abu Dhabi. He went to Dubai for the Omega desert classic the following week and finished T 9.

Rory has had two WGC appearances this season, and finished T 6 at the HSBC in Shanghai, and was ousted in the second round last week in Arizona. He has dropped to eighth in World Rankings, 104th in FedEx Cup points, and ranked 18th in The Race To Dubai.

Source: PGATour.com EuropeanTour.com

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Tags: Golf PGA Phil Mickelson Rory McIlroy The Honda Classic Tiger Woods

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