2023 Honda Classic: Top 10 Power Rankings at PGA National

The Honda Classic, PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens,Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
The Honda Classic, PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens,Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pro golf will be back to California this summer for the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club, but the PGA Tour’s West Coast swing is in the books.

We’re now onto a multi-week jaunt through Florida starting with the Honda Classic.

It’s an event dating back to 1972 that’s been held at its current venue, PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, since 2007.

The Honda Classic plays as one of the toughest tests on the PGA Tour.

For a variety of reasons. Like most Florida courses, it’s often windy. There’s usually rain during at least some point in the event and water lurks around many corners.

The course is infamous for the “Bear Trap” closing stretch of holes 16-18 where thousands of wayward shots have gone to a watery grave in past years.

The course measures 7,261 yards for a par 70. Length is not a huge advantage this week as fairway woods and irons are the common play on many par-4s and par-5s. It’s all about finding the fairway however you can to avoid hazards around the green and avoid approaching from the long Bermuda rough.

The greens tend to not be too difficult to roll putts in on, especially for guys based in the Southeast U.S. used to Bermuda.

This year’s field is as weak as this tournament’s seen in years.

Only eight of the top 50 from the Official World Golf Rankings are playing the Honda Classic. Sungjae Im is the highest among them at No. 18.

It’s in a tough spot on the schedule with back-to-back designated events coming right before and another one to immediately follow at next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The cash and the stakes aren’t as high as they were in recent weeks in Scottsdale and Los Angeles, but the Honda Classic is still a worthwhile watch.

It’s fun to watch the game’s best have to struggle to make par and be tested on a tough layout. It’s going to be hot and humid this week but little to no rain is expected. It could get windy but doesn’t look like it will be too out of control.

That’s enough of an intro. Let’s get down to the top 10 players to get it done at PGA National:

Honda Classic, PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Bear Trap, PGA Tour
Min Woo Lee, 150th Open Championship, St. Andrews, Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports /

Min Woo Lee is making his Honda Classic debut this week on a sponsor exemption.

The Aussie and brother to LPGA star Minjee Lee is used to playing new venues all over the world. He’s found success on the Australasian Tour, Asian Tour, DP World Tour, etc.

Now it’s time to show well stateside.

Lee’s teed it up twice in 2023, both on the DP World Tour’s Middle-East swing. He took T-2nd at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship where he was just a shot behind Victor Perez. Lee also was T-13th at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic where he finished ahead of names like Rasmus and Nicolai Hojgaard, Perez, Tyrrell Hatton, etc.

In 2022, Lee struggled early on with one top-10 in his first 20 starts. His fortune turned late in the year when a solo third at the Acciona Open de Espana Presented by Madrid sparked a run of eight straight top-13s. Six were top-fives.

He also took T-21st at last year’s Open Championship.

The 24-year-old has two-career DP World Tour wins at the 2020 ISPS Handa Vic Open and the 2021 abrdn Scottish Open.

Lee can wallop the ball. He was sixth on the DP World Tour last year in driving distance (322.07). He was also fifth in fewest putts per round (28.14)

The next step in Lee’s young career is playing well on the PGA Tour. He was unable to earn his card through Korn Ferry Tour Finals last year, but he can redeem himself by going low at PGA National.