4 players to watch at the Honda Classic

Tyrrell Hatton

The West Coast Swing is done and dusted for another year and this week, the world’s best players head east to Florida for the Honda Classic.

Since 2007, the event has been hosted at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens and has, surprisingly, only produced four American winners in the 11 stagings in that time.

Among the non-American champions are Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Adam Scott – but will that trend continue this week? We've taken a look at who you should be keeping your eyes on...

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler – 9/1

Fowler was imperious in clinching the Honda Classic title last year. He took a four-shot lead into the final round – to date one of only two occasions that Fowler has managed to convert a 54-hole lead – and, such was his dominance, even a one-over-par final round saw him win by four. But the American’s win was far from a one-off, with top 15 finishes in the event in 2012, 2013 and 2016.

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Rory Mc Ilroy

Rory McIlroy – 11/1

After starting his calendar year with a lot of promise following strong displays at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship (T3) and Omega Dubai Desert Classic (2), Rory has found things tricky Stateside, missing the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and never really threatening in a T20 finish at the Genesis Open. Back home in Florida, at a tournament he won in 2012, you can expect McIlroy to hit the ground running as the countdown continues towards his fourth attempt at clinching the career grand slam at Augusta National in six weeks’ time.

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Tyrrell Hatton1

Tyrrell Hatton – 28/1

Not many players can match the sensational form Hatton has shown in his most recent ten starts. With two wins, six top tens and having never finished outside the top 20, Hatton is rightly situated well inside the world’s top 20. The Honda Classic marks his first PGA Tour start of the season and, at PGA National last year, the 26-year-old finished T4 – to date his joint-best finish in the States.

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Graeme Mc Dowell

Graeme McDowell – 66/1

G-Mac showed glimpses of being back to his best after heading out in the penultimate group at the Genesis Open last week and, while his performance at Riviera ultimately ended in disappointment – finishing T26 – there were plenty of positives and PGA National is a venue he has performed well at in recent years. In the past seven years, he’s finished outside the top 15 just twice, with his best finish fifth in 2016.

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Footnote: Tiger Woods is making his first back-to-back starts on the PGA Tour since August 2015 after committing to the Honda Classic shortly before missing the cut at the Genesis Open. Woods has played in the event just three times, finishing runner-up in 2012, T37 in 2013 and withdrawing in 2014.

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