It is Jon Rahm’s world and we are all just living in it.  We haven’t seen a run like this since Scottie Scheffler between the Waste Management and the Masters last year.  The man has won three of his first five starts of the 2023 calendar year.  He has moved back into the top spot in the official world golf rankings with his win at Riviera.  Max Homa had another fantastic weekend in California finishing second.  He actually claimed the lead on the back nine but wasn’t able to fend off Rahm’s late run.  The leaderboard was full of top tier talent like Patrick Cantlay, Will Zalatoris, Collin Morikawa, Jason Day, Gary Woodland, Scottie Scheffler, Shane Lowry, Justin Thomas, and Tony Finau all finished inside the Top 20.  That’s what we hope to see in this “Designated Events” on the PGA Tour schedule.  All those top guys will return to action at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in a couple weeks.  This week the PGA Tour leaves the west coast and heads west to Florida for the Honda Classic.    

PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida has played host to the Honda Classic since 2007.  That means you can ignore everything that happened prior to that year.  The winning score has been anywhere between five under to 13 under par but seven of the last 10 winners have failed to reach double digits under par.  The course is a Par 70 and reaches 7,140 yards.  While it is short, it can truly crush your soul.  It is consistently ranked inside the Top 50 toughest courses on the PGA Tour schedule.  There are 15 holes on this course that feature water hazards.  PGA National also has extremely narrow fairways and bunkers everywhere.  Oh and did I mention there is a stretch of holes affectionately called “The Bear Trap”?  Yea, we will get into all of this.  

These players will miss fairways and greens, very similar to last week at Riviera and that means scrambling will be important.  Distance is not an advantage this week as this course forces players to play smart and lay up.  You should be looking to target strong mid and long iron players which means Strokes Gained: Approach per usual.  The last thing to worry about at PGA National is the wind.  The forecast has winds relatively calm staying between 8-12 mph throughout the weekend.  This is a course where you fade the chalk because no one is safe on a track like this one.  That’s another reason why you don’t see a great field because these players have big egos and don’t want to be embarrassed by the course.  We will see a lot of bogeys this weekend but it’s the players that avoid the big numbers that will come out on top this weekend.  

You heard me mention earlier, “The Bear Trap” and I would not be doing my job if I did not mention this stretch of holes.  The Par-3 15th, Par-4 16th and Par-3 17th was given this nickname because water comes into play on almost every full shot.  Starting with the Par 3 15th, that is a full shot over water into a diagonal green. If you hit in the sand behind the green, it's a tricky up and down with the green sloping towards the water. The 16th is a Par 4 which forces these golfers to play iron off the tee onto the fairway. Then a second shot over water into a slightly elevated green. Then we've got another Par 3 on the 17th which is 190 yards completely over water into a small green. These holes are not to be messed with as they are all three ranked on the PGA Tour’s 50 toughest holes.  The goal is to get out of this stretch at even par, if your player has done that, you should feel good.  

Defending champion Sepp Straka returns to defend his title against a very lackluster field in Florida.  This is not one of the “designated events'' which requires the Top 20 PIP players to participate.  The highest ranked players in the world golf rankings are Sungjae Im at number 18 and Billy Horschel at number 19.  I counted just 18 players that are inside the Top 100 in the world scheduled to play this weekend.  There will be a lot of good young talent playing this weekend like Pierceson Coody, former number one amateur in the world.  He has won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour since turning pro back in June.  Andrew Kozan grew up in West Palm and grew up going to this event.  This is a week where you fade the chalk because anything can happen.  You should not be playing a big portion of your bankroll with so many untrustworthy golfers.  

We’re looking for ball strikers this weekend!  As always, I wish you all the best of luck and make sure you follow me on Twitter @Drew_Phelps83.  Please feel free to tweet me or hit me up in the discord chat.  Let’s all win big!