Rory McIlroy (pictured) will be looking to get his season back on track in the Honda Classic on the US PGA Tour. He is the defending champion and may now be feeling a certain amount of pressure after missing the cut in his only other stroke play event this season and losing in the first round of the Accenture Match Play.
McIlroy has signed a lucrative deal to use Nike clubs and it must be said his form with the new equipment has been well below his usual standards. If McIlroy fails to figure this week he will be criticised even more for taking the Nike millions and adopting new gear that appears to be undermining his ability.
The Irishman is the second most likely winner after Tiger Woods. The former world number one finished two shots behind McIlroy last year but missed the event in the previous five years. However, Woods does have a decent skills profile for PGA National Champions host course at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida.
The Honda Classic is in the first week of the Florida Swing and is characterised by grainy Bermuda grass greens. It use to be played on various other courses in the area but for the last 6 years it has been played at the well-regarded PGA National.
It has a slot between two World Golf Championship events and the locality is a popular for setting up home with many leading golfers, including McIlroy, Woods, Lee Westwood, Charl Schwartzel and Dustin Johnson.
The Champions Course is primarily a test of course management and shot-making. There hasn’t been one rookie in the top 10 over the last two years. Only one American has won in the last six years and last year the front four contenders finished in the top 5.