Jack Nicklaus seems like the perfect person to diagnose Tiger Woods’ golf problems.
The Golden Bear is the only one ahead of Woods on the all-time majors wins list. But that hasn’t given Nicklaus a better feel for Woods’ struggles than anyone else.
“I’m a bit puzzled by it,” Nicklaus told NBC at the Honda Classic on Sunday. “I’ve seen Tiger a little bit in the last several months, but he looked great. Physically, he looks fantastic. Mentally, he’s talking. He sounded great.
“Then he goes and plays and he either physically can’t make it — maybe mentally and physically they work together. I don’t really know. I’m not sure if anyone knows. It’s sad to me because he’s such a great talent. He’s a good kid. He’s got so much ability. I’m sad to see it happen to him. I hope he gets it corrected.”
Woods once appeared destined to break — and possibly shatter — Nicklaus’ career mark of 18 majors.
Woods was 32 when he captured major No. 14, claiming the 2008 U.S. Open after a 19-hole playoff thriller with Rocco Mediate. Nicklaus got his 14th at age 35, a two-stroke victory at the 1975 PGA Championship.
But Woods hasn’t added to his major collection since.
He went from August 2015 to January without playing due to back issues, then promptly missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. Back spasms forced him to withdraw after one round at the Dubai Desert Classic and kept him out of the Genesis Open, the Honda Classic and even a scheduled press conference.
“That is the biggest puzzle to me that I know,” Nicklaus said. “I just don’t know where he is and where his mind is.”
PGA Tour rookie C.T. Pan hit a wild second shot on No. 18 that hooked left of the green and struck a spectator in the head.
There was blood on the spectator’s head and shirt and he received some minor treatment from Palm Beach Gardens Fire Department officers on site. The man, who did not want to give his name to a Palm Beach Post photographer, received a golf ball with Pan’s phone number on it as an apology.
“Hit a spectator on 18 today and watched him fall,” Pan wrote on his Twitter feed. “Worst feeling I have ever had. Hopefully he is fine.”
After The Post originally reported Pan gave the fan a signed ball, Pan tweeted: “It wasn’t a signed ball. I put my number on the ball in case needs anything I can help.”
A tweeter called Pan a derogatory name, to which he replied: “FYI, I already ordered some shirts for him before you (called me a name).”
Clearly Pan was rattled after the accident, but he kept his focus to birdie the hole with a 28-foot putt. His opening scores of 66 and 68 have the former University of Washington golfer near the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend. He has two wins on the Canadian PGA Tour and in 2013 was No. 1 in the world amateur rankings.
A fan at the Honda Classic was hit in the head by another errant shot back in 2014. That fan, Edwin Curtis of Palm Beach Gardens, was left with a large welt on the left side of his head courtesy of a George McNeill shot, also on the 18th hole.
You probably already know that the Honda Classic takes place at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.
No doubt you also know that Palm Beach County’s biggest tournament hasn’t always taken place there. It began as Jackie Gleason’s Inverrary Classic in Lauderhill in 1972, moved to Coral Springs from 1984-91, was held in Weston from 1992-95, and came back to two different courses in Coral Springs until 2002… all before finally coming to Palm Beach Gardens, starting at the Country Club at Mirasol and then heading to PGA National in 2007.
But did you know that 40 others have won the title, including just four who have multiple wins: Jack Nicklaus (1977 and ’78), Johnny Miller (1980 and ’83), Mark Calcavecchia (1987 and ’98) and Padraig Harrington (2005 and ’15)?
Along those lines, here are six other lesser known facts about the Honda Classic.
1. Straight cash, homey
The winner of the debut Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic back in ’72 was Tom Weiskopf, a 16-time winner on the PGA Tour. Weiskopf took home $52,000 for his win, which at the time was more than double the winner’s purse at the Masters (just 25 large).
Per the Honda Classic website, the total purse for this year’s tourney is $6.4 million, with the winner claiming $1.152 million. That’s a total increase of more than 2,115 percent over 45 years.
2. Car-rying on the tradition
Before Honda became the title sponsor of the tournament in 1982, other companies held that honor.
The year before, it was American Motors Corporation (AMC) that supported the tournament. AMC is famous – or infamous, as the case may be – for producing, among many other cars, the Gremlin, the AMC Pacer and, more recently, the Jeep Cherokee.
3. From caddy to champion
Back in 1987, with the tournament at the TPC at Eagle Trace, 26-year-old Mark Calcavecchia, now of Palm Beach Gardens, won his first Honda Classic title, his second of 13 career PGA Tour victories.
Amazingly, Calcavecchia had worked the Honda as a caddy only the year before.
And as was mentioned before, Calc went on to win the Honda again in 1998.
4. Holing out on 18
Looking for the single best shot in Honda Classic history? I’m here for you.
On Sunday of the 1992 tournament in Weston, Corey Pavin trailed Fred Couples for the lead by two strokes on the 18th hole. Then, from 136 yards out, Pavin hit this shot with an 8-iron:
Pavin holed out for an eagle to force a sudden-death playoff, which he won with a birdie on the second extra hole.
Any huge sporting event like the Honda Classic will have a multitude of sponsors involved. Honda, perhaps obviously, is the title sponsor, but there are many, many more.
The Honda is all about fun, so it only serves to reason that this year’s tourney has not only an official beer (Michelob Ultra) and wine (Treasury Wine), but an official rum (Gosling’s) and vodka (Tito’s Handmade Vodka), as well.
There’s an official credit card (PGA Tour MasterCard), an official sunscreen (Image Skincare) and even an official provider of first aid (Jupiter Medical Center).
Long story short, if you’re planning on buying a ton of beer, wine and booze with your credit card, getting sick and needing some medical attention, the Honda Classic has you covered.
The organization’s goal is to “provide families access to world-class pediatric healthcare” and earlier this month pledged $60 million to the Miami Children’s Health System. With the donation, Miami Children’s Hospital and its outpatient centers will bear the “Nicklaus Children’s Hospital” name beginning in March.
Yes, it’s loads of fun for golf fans, but the tournament is also doing loads of good in the community.
Below is the official list of PGA TOUR professionals and international players who are scheduled to compete in the 2017 Honda Classic.
Please note this list represents early commitments and that the field is subject to change.
Steven Alker, New Zealand
Robert Allenby, Melbourne, Australia
Byeong Hun An, South Korea
Ryan Armour, United States
Blayne Barber, Auburn, AL
Ricky Barnes, Phoenix, AZ
Daniel Berger, Jupiter, FL
Zac Blair, Saint George, UT
Ryan Blaum, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Jason Bohn, Acworth, GA
Steven Bowditch, Australia
Dominic Bozzelli, Pittsford, NY
Ryan Brehm, Mount Pleasant, MI
Scott Brown, Aiken, SC
Chad Campbell, Andrews, TX
Brian Campbell, Irvine, CA
Miguel Angel Carballo, Argentina
Paul Casey, Surrey, England
Alex Cejka, Germany
Greg Chalmers, Sydney, AUS
Stewart Cink, Duluth, GA
Chad Collins, Cloverdale, IN
Ben Crane, Portland, OR
Jon Curran, Jupiter, FL
Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis, CA
Graham DeLaet, Weyburn, SK, Canada
Luke Donald, High Wycombe, England
Brett Drewitt, Inverell, AUS
Jason Dufner, Auburn, AL
Ken Duke, Stuart, FL
Matt Every, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Derek Fathauer, Jupiter, FL
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Spain
Martin Flores, United States
Rickie Fowler, United States
Brad Fritsch, Canada
Sergio Garcia, Castellon, Spain
Robert Garrigus, United States
Brian Gay, United States
Lucas Glover, Sea Island, GA
Fabian Gomez, Chaco, Argentina
Andres Gonzales, United States
Retief Goosen, Polokwane, South Africa
Cody Gribble, Dallas, TX
Emiliano Grillo, Argentina
Brandon Hagy, United States
Brian Harman, St. Simons Island, GA
Padraig Harrington, Dublin, Ireland
Tyrrell Hatton, England
David Hearn, Brantford, ON, Canada
Russell Henley, Kiawah Island, SC
Jim Herman, Palm City, FL
Morgan Hoffmann, Wyckoff, NJ
Charles Howell III, Windermere, FL
Mark Hubbard, Denver, CO
Mackenzie Hughes, Charlotte, NC
John Huh, Dallas, TX
Billy Hurley III, United States
Hiroshi Iwata, Sendai, Japan
Freddie Jacobson, Gothenburg, Sweden
Zach Johnson, Cedar Rapids, IA
Sung Kang, Coppell, TX
Martin Kaymer, Mettmann, GER
Whee Kim, Seoul, South Korea
Si Woo Kim, Seoul, South Korea
Michael Kim, Houston, TX
Kevin Kisner, Aiken, SC
Patton Kizzire, Sea Island, GA
Soren Kjeldsen, Denmark
Colt Knost, Dallas, TX
Russell Knox, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Brooks Koepka, West Palm Beach, FL
Jason Kokrak, Warren, OH
Kelly Kraft, United States
Rick Lamb, South Bend, IN
Danny Lee, New Zealand
Spencer Levin, Elk Grove, CA
Nicholas Lindheim, Satellite Beach, FL
David Lingmerth, Tranas, Sweden
Luke List, Seal Beach, CA
Andrew Loupe, Baton Rouge, LA
Jamie Lovemark, San Diego, CA
Will MacKenzie, Jupiter, FL
Peter Malnati, Knoxville, TN
Steve Marino, Tequesta, FL
Graeme McDowell, Portrush, Northern Ireland
William McGirt, Spartanburg, SC
Francesco Molinari, Turin, Italy
Trey Mullinax, Birmingham, AL
Sebastian Munoz, Bogota, COL
Grayson Murray, Raleigh, NC
Seung-Yul Noh, Irving, TX
Sean O’Hair, Chads Ford, PA
Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa
Jeff Overton, Evansville, IN
Ryan Palmer, Colleyville, TX
Cheng Tsung Pan, Taiwan
Cameron Percy, Australia
John Peterson, United States
Carl Pettersson, Raleigh, NC
D.A. Points, United States
J.T. Poston, St. Simons Island, GA
Ian Poulter, Woburn, England
Seamus Power, Waterford, IRL
Jonathan Randolph, United States
Chez Reavie, United States
Kyle Reifers, Charlotte, NC
Tag Ridings, United States
Justin Rose, England
Rory Sabbatini, Durban, South Africa
Xander Schauffele, San Diego, CA
Ollie Schniederjans, Alpharetta, GA
Adam Scott, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
John Senden, Brisbane, Australia
Vijay Singh, Fiji Islands
Cameron Smith, Australia
J.J. Spaun, Los Angeles, CA
Kyle Stanley, Gig Harbor, WA
Brendan Steele, Idyllwild, CA
Brett Stegmaier, Vero Beach, FL
Robert Streb, Shawnee, KS
Brian Stuard, United States
Daniel Summerhays, Farmington, UT
Hudson Swafford, Sea Island, GA
Vaughn Taylor, United States
Justin Thomas, Goshen, KY
Michael Thompson, Sea Island, GA
Cameron Tringale, Laguna Niguel, CA
Kevin Tway, United States
Tyrone Van Aswegen, Johannesburg, South Africa
Harold Varner III, Gastonia, NC
Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuela
Camilo Villegas, Medellin, Columbia
Johnson Wagner, Charlotte, NC
Richy Werenski, Bluffton, SC
Tim Wilkinson, New Zealand
Danny Willett, Sheffield, England
Mark Wilson, Chicago, IL
Gary Woodland, Topeka, KS
Bobby Wyatt, Sea Island, GA
Below is a complete schedule of the activities and special events the week of The Honda Classic.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16
7 – 10 p.m.: Kick off Party
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20
12:30 – 5 p.m.: The Honda Classic Pro-Am (Champion Course)
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21
All day: PGA TOUR Professionals Practice Rounds (Champion Course)
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Executive Women’s Day
4 p.m.: Junior Clinic with PGA TOUR Professionals Emiliano Grillo and Bryson Dechambeau
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22
All Day: The Honda Classic Cares Pro-Am presented by Tire Kingdom (Champion Course)
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23
7 a.m.: The Honda Classic – First Round Begins – Pairings & Tee Times
6 – 10 p.m.: Kenny G Community Concert courtesy of American Honda, opening with Taylor Norris (Michelob ULTRA Terrace)
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24 7 a.m.: The Honda Classic – Second Round Begins – Pairings & Tee Times
6 – 10 p.m.: After Play Concert Featuring Fusion (Michelob ULTRA Terrace)
7:30 p.m.: Tire Kingdom Fireworks Spectacular
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25
8 a.m.: Honda Classic Saturday Pro-Am (PGA National Resort & Spa – Palmer Course)
9 a.m.: The Honda Classic – Third Round Begins – Pairings & Tee Times
12 – 8 p.m.: Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Kids Zone – Honda Pavilion
6 – 10 p.m.: Goslings After Play Concert featuring Entourage (Michelob ULTRA Terrace)
7:30 p.m.: Tire Kingdom Fireworks Spectacular
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26
9 a.m.: The Honda Classic – Final Round – Pairings & Tee Times
6 p.m.: Awards Ceremony – 18th Green
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27
8 a.m.: The First Tee of the Palm Beaches Invitational
1 p.m.: Gosling’s Dark ‘n Stormy Invitational
“Jason is resting comfortably and in good spirits,” his agent, Justin Richmond, said in a statement. “He is scheduled to have more tests this weekend. We know he appreciates the concern from so many people in the PGA Tour family who have reached out.”
“The 42-year-old golfer had a stent inserted Saturday for what he says was 99 percent blockage of a major artery. In a text exchange with [NBC Sports], Bohn says the blockage was in his left anterior descending artery — known as the ‘widow maker’ because it could lead to a major heart attack.”
Bohn, a Pennsylvania native who now resides in Atlanta, experienced chest pains Friday after finishing his second round at PGA National. According to Honda Classic officials, he sought the assistance of an on-site medic and was advised to take an ambulance to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center for further testing.
There, he was diagnosed with a mild heart attack, though he was considered stable.
According to a tournament statement, his in-laws are with him, while his wife is home with their children.
Though he was forced to withdraw from the Honda Classic, Bohn had made the cut, shooting rounds of 71-72 to put himself at 3 over par heading into the weekend.
McIlroy, a part-time Palm Beach Gardens resident, offset four birdies with a double bogey, triple-bogey and bogey on his way to a 2-over 72 Friday and missed the cut for the second straight year. McIlroy uncharacteristically declined media requests for interviews after his round.
McIlroy has failed to reach the final 36 holes of only four tournaments in the past five years, three of which have been in the Honda Classic. He shot 73-74-147 in the first two rounds last year to miss the cut, and also withdrew midway through the second round of the 2013 Honda, later blaming the decision on a toothache.
McIlroy won the Honda Classic in 2013 and tied for second after reaching a four-man playoff in 2014. His only other missed cut in the past four years came at the 2013 British Open.
McIlroy, who also shot a 72 Thursday, was 5-over on two par-3 holes Friday. His tee shot on No. 15 found the water, resulting in a double-bogey. On No. 5, his approach from 30 feet from the pin rolled down a hill and also wound up in the water. After taking a drop, he chipped on and two-putted for triple-bogey.
Former Dwyer High student Daniel Berger, who finished second last year, also missed the cut.
The 17th hole on the Champion course at PGA National is the final hole of the notoriously challenging three-hole section known as the Bear Trap. Those three holes have claimed many victims over the years.
But not Alex Cejka on Day 1 of the 2016 Honda Classic.
Cejka aced the 177-yard par 3 in the glorious afternoon sunlight, setting off a roar from the crowd surrounding the small green.
Despite the late hole-in-one, the first round was an up-and-down affair for Cejka, who hovered around the projected cut line and stands at 1-over-par after an eagle-birdie finish to his day. Check out the full leaderboard here.
The 17th is a par 3 that has been lengthened to 190 yards over the water and into a very small green that is bunkered left. This is a par 3 that will present a lot of problems; it always has in the past.
Welcome to the 2016 Honda Classic from the Champion course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens!
We at The Palm Beach Post will be here all day long with scores, news, updates and more from Thursday’s Round 1 of the tournament.
2:50 p.m.: Through eight holes, stars Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler have moved into first place and a tie for second, respectively. Garcia is currently four under par, while Fowler is a stroke behind him.
1:35 p.m.: Shane Lowry finishes his first round with a birdie and an eagle on Holes 17 and 18. He is tied for first with George McNeill at three-under 67
1:20 p.m.: Phil Mickelson wraps up his first round with a score of 1-under 69, good for a tie for sixth.
12:10 p.m.: George McNeill made a par putt on the 18th hole to cap off a steady 3-under-par opening round, good for the clubhouse lead. McNeill had six birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey on the par-4 11th. David Lingmerth, Ricky Barnes and Cardinal Newman High product Brooks Koepka are tied for second, one shot back. Phil Mickelson is in a large group two back.
11:52 a.m.: George McNeill has moved into a tie with David Lingmerth atop the leaderboard at 3-under par. McNeill has completed 17 holes and is trying to become the first clubhouse leader of the week. Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka are tied for second, one shot back.
11:30 a.m.: David Lingmerth continues to lead at 3 under through 12 holes on his round. He is being chased by a pack of four golfers at 2 under, including Phil Mickelson and Cardinal Newman product Brooks Koepka (through 12 holes) and Ricky Barnes (10 holes). Jupiter resident Ernie Els is at 1 under. Nicholas Thompson is at 10 over through 17 holes.
11:15 a.m.: Phil Mickelson suffered a bogey on the par-4 second hole, his 11th hole of the day, to fall into a tie for second, one shot behind leader David Lingmerth. Mickelson is tied with Cardinal Newman High product Brooks Koepka, Ricky Barnes and George McNeill.
10:56 a.m.: Phil Mickelson and David Lingmerth continue to lead the tournament at 3 under. Palm Beach Gardens resident Brooks Koepka has birdied three straight holes (17, 18 and 1) to move to 2 under.
10:40 a.m.: Phil Mickelson and David Lingmerth are tied for the lead at 3 under. Mickelson, who started on the back nine, birdied the par-5 18th hole to complete his first nine holes with four birdies and a bogey. He began the front nine with a par. Lingmerth was playing the front nine while Mickelson was on the back and like Lefty he birdied his last hole before making the turn.
10:25 a.m.. Ricky Barnes’ solo hold on the lead was short. He bogeyed the sixth hole and is now in a seven-way tie for first at 2 under with Sean O’Hair, Brendon de Jonge, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson, David Lingmerth and Paul Casey.
10:15 am.: Ricky Barnes has sole possession of the lead at 3 under through five holes after George McNeill suffered a double-bogey at the par-4 11th hole to fall to 1 under. Phil Mickelson, who started on the back nine, is playing No. 18 and is at 2 under, locked in a seven-way tie for second.
10 a.m.: Ricky Barnes (through five holes) and George McNeill (through 10) continue to share the lead at 3 under par. Phil Mickelson is at 2 under through eight holes. He started on the back nine. Six golfers are tied at 2 under, including Sean O’Hair, Brendon de Jonge, David Lingmerth, Robert Streb and Paul Casey.
9:55 a.m.: Ricky Barnes has birdied the par 3 fifth hole to move into a tie for the lead with George McNeill at 3 under.
9:50 a.m.: George McNeill continues to lead at 3 under par as he plays his 10th hole of the day. There is a six-way tie for second that includes Phil Mickelson, Brendon de Jonge, David Lingmerth, Robert Streb, Paul Casey and Ricky Barnes. Several stars are over par early, including Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and Adam Scott, all at 1 over. Jonas Blixt, who was among the leaders early, has fallen to 3 over after back-to-back bogies at 10 and 11.
9:34 a.m.: George McNeill has made the turn at 3 under and leads a group of seven golfers, including Phil Mickelson, by one shot. McNeill ran off a string of birdies at Nos. 3-5, bogeyed No. 6 but then made his birdie putt at No. 9 to move out front.
9:24 a.m.: Phil Mickelson started the Bear Trap with a birdie and Shane Lowry bogeyed the par-3 seventh hole, helping create a logjam at 2 under in the Honda Classic. Mickelson and Lowry are tied with George McNeill, Jason Dufner, Russell Knox and David Lingmerth. After making a birdie on two of his first three holes, Mickelson, who started on the back nine, bogeyed the 14th but rebounded with a birdie at No. 15 to get to 2 under.
9 a.m.: Shane Lowry is at the top of the leaderboard after a birdie on the fourth hole has him at 3 under. George McNeill, Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson and Russell Knox are at 2 under.
8 a.m.: There is a six-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the Honda Classic this morning. Phil Mickelson birdied his first hole and is tied with Cameron Tringale, George McNeill, Daniel Summerhays, Emiliano Grillo and Branden Grace at 1 under.
7:30 a.m.: Daniel Summerhays birdies his first hole to take the lead at the 2016 Honda Classic
7:15 a.m.: Jonas Blixt and Sean O’Hair are at even par through the two holes. Hudson Swafford rebounds from his opening double-bogey to post the first birdie of the tournament.
7 a.m.: The first scores are in from round one of the Honda Classic. Jonas Blixt and Sean O’Hair par their first holes. Blixt went off the first tee, O’Hair off the 10th. Hudson Swafford and Chad Collins double-bogey their first holes.
6 a.m.: Here are the groups and tee times for Rounds 1 and 2. Remember, things get started pretty early both days: The first groups tee off at 6:45 a.m. But they’re long days, since the final groups don’t get out on the course until 1:35 p.m.
Please stick with us as we’ll be updating this post all day with news from on and off the course. And you can always keep track of the updated leaderboard.