Tournament:The Honda Classic
Date: Thurs.-Sun. February 27-March 2, 2014
Course: PGA National (Champions Course) Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
TV: Golf Channel
by Tim, PGA Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
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“OH BABY! I thought the only thing the French accomplished was inventing champagne and planting trees along the Champs Elysees (so the Germans can march in the shade!).” I was wrong—dead wrong! The PGA Tour boyz head to Florida after tearing it up last week in the desert at the Accenture (Arthur Anderson >> change your name; change your life) Match Play Championships. Little known French Golfer Victor Dubuisson showed the world the French DO have a little fight in them as Victor performed his closed eyes Ups-and-Downs better than a schizophrenic during Roll Call! Jason Day eventually won last week, but not before the foiling Frenchman gave his greatest Houdini performance taking the Finals Match to 23 holes. This week, the Honda Classic should bring a level of complacent normalcy back for viewers; boring us to tears and reminding us that The Masters is right around the corner! Let’s take a look at who might have a chance conquering the PGA National Champions Course layout and the “Clown Golf” Bear Trap (holes 15-17) that forever feeds Nicklaus’ ego! Let’s G-O!!
The Honda Classicis for the childrenaccording to the website! My Lord! Philanthropy should be done quietly, behind the scenes, instead of “Look at us! Look over HERE at us!” Anyway, the Honda DOES offer a few charities quietly. For example, the Honda has Robert Allenby, Scott Verplank, Mark Calcavecchia, and current Albanian President Bujar Nishani (pssst., not really) in the Field as a token to the charity “POP”—Past One’s Prime. Beyond charity and feel ‘good-ed-ness’, last week’s “Media Darling” Victor Dubuisson (pronounced “Marcel Marceau” or “Patek Philippe”your choice) will not be attending the tournament after his overnight popularity exploded. Victor has been taken by the PGA to parts-unknown and cautioned concerning, the Waffle House, texting, “Girls of the Night”, and the tempers of Swedish women. Victor (“Marcel”/”Patek”) is also being fitted for a brand new image courtesy of Nike right after a construction crew peels his skin tight pants off which he wore on Sunday! It’s “SHOWTIME” and “Let’s Make A Deal” all wrapped up into one media-friendly croissant. But there is a tournament going on and my job (sorta’) is to pick a winner sosoooo, let’s pick a winner!
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My top pick this week is Jason Daybut he’s not playing! Fowler has played very well this year posting a 55th place at the HSBC, a 33rd at the Humana, and missing three straight cuts before piping a 3rd at the Accenture (Arthur Anderson). Actually, that’s not a very good 2014 playing record! Rory McIlroy checked-out (quit) mid-round at last year’s Honda carrying a World Number 1 Ranking and a brand new Nike sponsorship around his neck while beating the crap out of his new Nike ball to the beat of 7 over after 8 holes in the second round. McIlroy—the 2012 Honda Champion—wasn’t going to make the cut, and after hitting his ball into the drink on his ninth hole, McIlroy simply quit saying he was “in a bad place mentally”. HA! Well, the PGA got hold of McIlroy and the story changed dramaticallyMcIlroy clarified why he quit claiming (lying), “I had a toothache” (to avoid PGA penalties and loss of face) like an 8 year-old before a big test. I wouldn’t put ten cents on McIlroy until he turns 40 and realizes the amount of damage he did in 2013 at the Honda by revealing his own, true, character. McIlroy—no chance—not on this track! I like guys such as: Tim Clark, Thomas Bjorn, Ben Crane, Charl Schwartzel, Henrik Stenson, Zach Johnson, Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk, Russell Henley, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer, Russell Knox, Throbjorn Oleson, Hideki Matsuyama, Carl Pettersson, Justin Rose (withdrew: medical), Nick Watney, Bo Van Pelt, Keegan Bradley, Louis Oosthuizen, and Ryan Palmer. These are the “Big Heart” players. These are the golfers worth watching. The golfers named (and a few more) will give 100% no matter where they stand on the Leader board. The players I named will keep grinding when other players have, long ago, packed it in (Mickelson). I also like these players I named because Jordan Spieth isn’t in the Field! Spieth is my EVERY SINGLE WEEK at least Top 10 “Go To” guy! Consider the guys coming up from hard lives? Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, in particular, grew up with absolutely NOTHING and understands what it is like to work hard! Angel Cabrera is another who has lived a tough life and will ALWAYS grind. But Cabrera isn’t playing well right nowwhich, when translated, means: Cabrera isn’t making birdies yet from 1 or 2 fairways over! Oosthuizen, Clark, Crane, Zach Johnson, these are the types of guys one can count on to give a full effort. When that “Full Effort” means making birdies instead of grinding out pars, wellthese are the guys no one can beat. That is why guys like Tiger, McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and the like irritate the crap out of me. They have it alland toss their fame and fortune into the wind as casually as if it were fireplace ashes after a broken date-night. I’m a competitor myself and I won’t/don’t tolerate a halfway effort (although the writing may bring objections) by anyone or any fellow competitor even though a person may have truckloads more talent than I have. The guys I named have talentmaybe not Rory, Tiger, or Justin type talentbut I know picking these guys is a solid choice because each has a real chance of augmenting their superior effort with spectacular play. That’s why I pick ’em Now let’s pick a winner.
Oosthuizen is coming alive this early “Spring” and WILL contend at Augusta. Johnson is flying high from early 2014 success (2 in a row) and this course isn’t too long for him to contend. I’m waiting for Kaymer to get in gearand once he does, “Watch Out!” Graeme McDowell has timed up the “Open Face Always” Driver swing and played exceptionally last week and at Pebble. Crane likes this course but is “iffy” because he seems to be putting like he’s wearing lead gloves. Stenson is going to have another big year and looks like a stoic Bill Belichick causing me to really pay attention to what numbers he throws up (that dude is serious!). Billy Horschel is always a solid pick, Chris Kirk will win again on Tour (my second favorite player on tour after Spieth!), Tim Clark is ALWAYS a threat, and Thomas Bjorn is more intense than a cloistered Monk taking confession the day before Easter!
Short Favorite: Graeme McDowell (22 Odds to 1 to Win)
It seems McDowell is serious about winning again and that means “Ouch” for everyone else. McDowellon his gameis as good as anyone in golf; let alone this Field.
Middle of the Road: Louis Oosthuizen (50 Odds to 1 to Win)
Louis can play although he has struggled with his game for about 8 months. I’ll bet he will work it out and compete this week.
Longshot: Martin Kaymer (100 Odds to 1 to Win)
Kaymer is a steady and spectacular Player. He finds his game and posts a low number then throws a 75 in there to finish mid-pack. At 100-1, Kaymer is a BARGAIN to finish in the Money!
Head to Head Matches *Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check out your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Keegan Bradley vs. Ricky Fowler (our pick to win: Keegan Bradley)
Fowler has cut his locks ala Johnny Depp. Unfortunately, Depp’s putter is hotter than Fowler’s and a good showing at the Accenture (Arthur Anderson) is nowhere near enough to make Fowler anything other than an “Also Ran”Bad Wedge Play=Bad Player and Fowler is not playing his wedges well at all (for about 18 months).
Phil Mickelson vs. Graeme McDowell (our pick to win: Graeme McDowell)
Mickelson plays golf for all the wrong reasons. The Duke of Filth could beat Mickelson right nowMickelson is injured. The only reason Mickelson is in this tournament (beside an appearance fee) is because he’s playing in a Member/Guest around Jupiter Island and feels left out when Tiger, Rory, and the rest of the upper crust creeps play in the 5th Major on the Island (you know, the battle between the country clubs). McDowell is focused on winning and should walk ALL OVER Mickelson!!!
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