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‘Dawgs on Tour: Prelude to a Civic Event

It’s the start of the Florida Swing. The PGA Tour has left the wrong coast for the right one, and hangs out in The Peninsula of Hell for a while. Read on to see who is playing in this week’s Honda Classic.

The Honda Classic - Final Round
3 years removed, ‘bout time for some more of this.
Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Tournament: Honda Classic, February 23-26, 2017

Course: PGA National (Champion), 7,140 yards, par 70.

Purse: $6,400,000

Defending Champion: Adam Scott. Scott came in hot, and left with a 1 stroke victory over Sergio Garcia. This was Scott’s first win using a more traditional length putter and stroke (the USGA/R&A ban on “anchored” putting strokes having gone into effect just a few weeks before).

Fun Fact: Holes 15-17 are known as “The Bear Trap”, due to the difficulty of the holes in the face of normal Florida breezes and lots of water. There is actually a statue of a large angry, amorous, disease-ridden bear right at #15 to greet the players. The “bear” is because Jack Nicklaus (aka “Golden Bear”) redesigned the course several years ago.

Television: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6:30 p.m. (CBS). **Caveat: I’m not positive these are the correct times, but for a “normal” PGA Tour event, this is the typical schedule and networks. It might actually be NBC this week - I dunno.

Former 'Dawgs in the Field (Five): Brian Harman, Harris English, Hudson Swafford, Kevin Kisner, Russell Henley.

Ima gunna keep this one short, as a few personal items have kept me from my normal appointed rounds (pun-ny). If you can tell from the article title, I’m just going all stream of consciousness here.

But the Tour players are certainly giving this course their full attention. I’ve mentioned above “The Bear Trap”, but there are some difficult stretches elsewhere on the course. Specifically 5-7, which are a very difficult par four sandwiched by 200+ yard par threes. The course has always had a good reputation, having hosted a Ryder Cup in the 80’s, and at least one major (the 1987 PGA Championship). But it had grown stale, and the PGA Tour left, until Jack Nicklaus came in and gave it some longer teeth.

As you can see above, we have five UGA alums entered, and it’s a mixed bag. Kisner is probably playing the best, but Harman has been very steady. Swafford won his first Tour event a few weeks ago, but missed his last 2 cuts. Henley is all over the place, but is only 3 years removed from winning this very tourney on this very course. Any of these guys can make noise, but the field is pretty strong and a lot of Europeans play here because it’s the first time the PGA Tour is in the Eastern Time Zone, which is a lot easier travel from Heathrow or other cities across the pond.

The UGA men’s golf team finished their first tournament of 2017 this week, capturing a 2nd place finish at The Puerto Rico Classic. Clemson lapped the field, but at least we finished ahead of third place Georgia Tech (who themselves have a lot of Tour pros at the moment). Tye Waller paced the Bulldogs with a 7th place individual finish, but our normally stalwart seniors (Greyson Sigg and Jaime Lopez Rivarola) did not do much to contribute.

Any questions on this week or on whatever, just drop them in the comments below.

And as always….