The Honda Classic 2017 Preview

The Honda Classic Betting Preview

Our golf scribe takes a look at this week's PGA Tour event, the Honda Classic. 


The PGA Tour makes the move from West Coast to East Coast this weekend as the Honda Classic heralds the start of the Florida Swing. The Honda Classic, initially called the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic, will test players to their limit, with the exposed fairways and greens reducing the course to Links-esque conditions when the wind rises. Many of the PGA tour’s top players are taking some time off with the WGC event next week, leaving a markedly different complexion to the betting spread. Without any of the real heavyweights, players at the top end of the betting spectrum offer far more value this week.

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I shouldn’t take too much credit for spotting Dustin Johnson last week, but that choice coupled with my Brett Rumford ‘Hail Mary’ should indicate that I’ve turned the tide somewhat. This course will punish any silly errors, with water in play on 13 holes. It is a heavily bunkered course and is exemplified in the stretch of holes 15 to 17: known lovingly as the Bear Trap. That stretch of horror is somewhat ameliorated by a reachable par five 18th, ensuring the possibility of a grandstand finish this week.

Adam Scott’s victory last year over Sergio Garcia was a real condensation of what this tournament is about. The cream certainly does seem to rise to the top here, with four of the last ten winners being major champions - with Y.E Yang going on to win a major following success here. This week will allow many of the European Tour regulars the chance to fine-tune their game ahead of what is sure to be a blistering WGC Mexico next week.

The Honda Classic | Thursday 23 February - Sunday 26 February |  PGA National Champions Course

Past Winners
2016: Adam Scott (-9) | 2015: Padraig Harrington (-6)*playoff | 2014: Russell Henley (-8)*playoff | 2013: Michael Thompson (-9) | 2012: Rory McIllroy (-12)

To Win Outright
Adam Scott 12/1 | Sergio Garcia 18/1 | Rickie Fowler 18/1 | Justin Thomas 18/1 | Louis Oosthuizen 30/1

Value Bets

Louis Oosthuizen - To Win  30/1 & To Place 13/2
This one is purely based on form. The former Open Champion clearly possesses the game that can conquer an exposed course, regularly in contention on the hallowed courses that host the Open. He has also picked up top 5 finishes in his last 2 starts. His 3rd place finish at the Phoenix Open saw a 4th round surge up the leaderboard that indicated his persistent back issues may have subsided. He then followed that up with a tie for 2nd in the experimental stroke play/match play hybrid thing that they had in Perth last week. He is perennially one of the best strikers of the ball anywhere and will benefit from a slightly eviscerated field.

Russell Knox - To Win 30/1 & To Place 13/2
The 2014 runner-up seems an absolute steal at 30/1. He followed that up with a 3rd placed finish the following year, while hanging around the fringes for a 26th placed finish last season. On all those occasions his pin-point accuracy from the fairway put him in excellent positions to make birdies. He is based in Florida, attending Jacksonville University before buying a home in the area. He has also enhanced his reputation in the last 12 months, adding a second PGA title before duelling valiantly with Rory in the Irish Open. His 2nd place finish at the Heritage also serves to underline his abilities on similar courses.

Zach Johnson - To Win 35/1 & To Place 15/2
This is one of those where gut comes into play. Because, ultimately, Johnson has zero course form going into this event.  n four starts he has finished 30-33-MC-MC. This is perhaps why the two-time major winner is not a slightly shorter price. But the Open Winner is one of the best - if not the best - players in the field when the wind picks up. His links proficiency and ability to hit the ball at lower trajectories could come in handy this week, as could those putting abilities. Prior to Scott last year, the six previous winners all ranked inside the top 15 for Total Putts. Johnson has a deft touch and I think he will finally decrypt this course this week.

The Man to Beat
Kevin Kisner - To Win 45/1 & To Place 19/2
After a breakthrough year in 2015, it was perhaps not that surprising that Kisner went through a lull last season. The self-confessed Bermuda specialist shows a distinct preference for East Coast golf. In 2015 he was runner-up at the Heritage and Players, before capturing the title at Sea Island, clearly demonstrating his aptitude for East Coast golf. He has started well this year, with a 4th at the Sony Open and a 10th at Pebble Beach. Form at the Sony Open correlates well for the Honda Classic, with Ernie Els, Mark Wilson and Russell Henley winning both tournaments. Kisner seems an excellent choice in a field lacking some of the heavyweight icons of the sport.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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