Feb 22, 2014; Marana, AZ, USA; Rickie Fowler reacts after putting out on the 17th hole during the fourth round of the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play Championship at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

PGA Golf: Honda Classic Featured Groups And TV Schedule

When The Honda Classic gets underway on Thursday morning at the beautiful PGA National Champions Golf Course it will have without a doubt, the strongest field of the season. They will be playing for a $6 Million Dollar purse with the winner pocketing $1.080 Million along with 500 FedEx Points.

The two marquee names missing from the starting lineup this week are 2013 US Open Champion, Justin Rose. Rose has withdrawn after experiencing further pain in the shoulder he has been trying to rehab since the end of the 2013 season. 2014 FedEx Cup points leader, Jimmy Walker is taking a break after three wins in the early going.

The television coverage will begin on The Golf Channel on Thursday and Friday afternoons starting at 2 PM Eastern Time and follow some very interesting pairings in the first two rounds. TGC will follow the featured groups until 6 PM. The Saturday and Sunday broadcasts will be from 1-3 PM Eastern, with NBC taking over at 3PM until completion of the rounds.

Live Video feeds are available at PGATour.com and will feature all players passing the par five 3rd hole, the par three 15th hole, and the par five 18th hole. This live feed will start at 8 AM on Thursday and Friday, and 9 AM for the weekend.

Adam Scott-Billy Horschel-Rory McILroy

Rd. 1: 12:25 p.m. off first tee
Rd. 2: 7:25 a.m. off 10th tee

This will be the first start for the 2013 Masters Champ since the Sony Open back in January. Adam Scott took some much-needed time off, and looks to come back fresh, and ready to play golf.  Scott hasn’t played this event since 2011 when he missed the cut, shooting 82 in the second round.

Both Billy Horschel, and Rory McIlroy were eliminated in the round at The Match Play Championships last week. Horschel was beaten by tournament winner, Jason Day. McIlroy was defeated in 19 holes by Harris English.

Rory McIlroy beat Tiger Woods here in 2012 to take over the Number One Ranking, but we all remember what happened last year when he walked off the course with dental problems. Rory has his game dialed back in for 2014, and I look for him to finish well this year, maybe even get a trip to victory circle. His driver is finding a lot of fairways, and will be determined by his putter this week.

Phil Mickelson-Graeme McDowell-Rickie Fowler

Rd. 1: 12:25 p.m. off first tee
Rd. 2: 7:35 a.m. off 10th tee

This is a must watch group. Both Fowler, and McDowell played well at The Accenture last weekend with Fowler losing in the semi-final to Jason Day, and beating out Ernie Els for third place. Graeme McDowell made three nice comebacks to stay alive but lost to Victor Dubuisson on Saturday.

I liked what I saw from Rickie Fowler last week and just hope he has some gas in the tank after the marathon at Dove Mountain. His driver is working well, and if he can get to Palm Beach with some energy, and his putter working, can be a factor in the Honda.

Phil Mickelson hasn’t played this event since 2002, but added it this year to his schedule because he took the week of for the Northern Trust to spend Spring Break with his kids.

Henrik Stenson-Sergio Garcia-Luke Donald

Rd. 1: 7:25 a.m. off 10th tee
Rd. 2: 12:25 p.m. off first tee

The 2013 FedEx Cup, and Race To Dubai Champion has had a rough spring, and will be looking to get on-track at The Honda Classic. He wants to be ready for the Masters, and I know he has his eye on the Ryder Cup, so this is the time to get going.

Sergio Garcia made the Sweet 16 last week, but lost to Rickie Fowler on Saturday after a quirky situation at the 7th hole where he gave Fowler a 17 foot putt. He lost the next hole, and the match. The Spaniard is on a mission to improve his image here in the US, and could well be a factor on Sunday. Let’s hope he get’s paired with Tiger in the later rounds, and we will find out if his new persona is working.

Luke Donald won this event in 2006, and has been working in the off-season to find some additional distance off the tee. He will need it if he wants to compete against this field.

Zach Johnson-Tiger Woods-Keegan Bradley

Rd. 1: 7:35 a.m. off 10th tee
Rd. 2: 12:25 p.m. off first tee

Before taking a break, Zach Johnson was the second hottest player on the tour behind Jimmy Walker with three top tens in the early going that included a win in Hawaii. And let’s not forget what we saw the last time he played with Tiger at Sherwood Forest. In his first appearance since taking a break, Zach and Keegan Bradley were ousted in the first round at Dove Mountain last week.

We haven’t seen Tiger on the PGA Tour since The Farmers Insurance Open. He has not finished in the top ten all year,  has never won on this golf course, and has never won this event. It’s one of the few venues in the country he has never found success. Last year Tiger Woods got a putting tip at The Honda from Steve Stricker that he took to Doral the following week and beat Steve for his second win of the year.

Source: PGATour.com

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