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PGA Tour Preview: The Honda Classic

This week's PGA Tour offering sees an impressive field hit the fairways of PGA National for The Honda Classic, the always enthralling starter's gun to Florida-based events immediately proceeding the 'West Coast Swing'.

The 2017 champion Rickie Fowler will defend his title against a strong field boasting ten of the top-25 players in the game, according to the most recent Official World Golf Rankings.

Catch the highlights of Rickie's 2017 win below:

Here's our preview to help get you ready for the four days of play in West Palm Beach.

The Venue

Course: PGA National Resort & Spa
Length: 7,110 yards
Par: 70

This Tom and George Fazio design was originally sculpted for major tournament play and has been the annual home of The Honda Classic since 2007.

Redesigned most recently by Jack Nicklaus in 2014, the Champion Course is sure to provide a stern test for those in the field this week and the last man standing on Sunday will have earned his stripes.

The course is most famous for the 'Bear Trap', famed throughout golf as one of the toughest three-hole stretches in the entire game. Holes 15, 16 and 17 require the utmost precision with peril awaiting almost every shot.

The Field

Rickie Fowler will defend the title he won last year by four clear strokes and needs to overcome some stiff competition if he is to prevail.

Tiger Woods will play in back-to-back tournaments for the first time since the 2014-15 PGA Tour season. Coming off the back of a missed cut at Riviera Country Club he will be looking to take a step in the right direction this week in Florida with little over 40 days remaining before the major season gets underway on April 5th at Augusta National.

Rory McIlroy makes it three starts in as many weeks on the PGA Tour with his appearance at PGA National. The Northern Irishman followed up a missed cut at the AT&T Pro-Am with a top-20 at last week's Genesis Open.

Catch Rory holing out from the bunker during last week's tournament:

Justin Thomas will be looking to kick-start an otherwise fruitless 2018 at this week's event. It would take a sterling effort for the 2017 PGA champion to surpass his five wins last season, but we expect that he will capture an eighth professional win before too long.

Patton Kizzire remains top of the FedEx Cup points list and tees it up this week's event, while Tony Finau climbed ten places in standings after a strong showing last week.

Who wins it?

Obvious Contender: Rory McIlroy

A win will come for Rory sooner rather than later and there's plenty to suggest he has it in his locker to take the spoils this week.

He's won at PGA National before (back in 2012) and lost in a playoff back in 2014. Allied to that, he has 13 top-25 placings in Florida-based tournaments in the last five years. The former world number one obviously likes the sunshine!

Worth a look: Gary Woodland

Despite missing the cut last time out at the AT&T Pro-Am, Gary Woodland has enjoyed a strong start to 2018. The playoff win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open was his most prestigious professional win to date and he is clearly a player in the form of his life. We expect a strong showing.

Who do you think will win in Florida this week? How will Tiger fare? Let us know below.

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