The Honda Classic: Golf Picks, Profiles, Betting Odds

The tour heads to PGA National this week, and a weaker field shoots for birdies with just 3 of the top-25 players in the world teeing it up in the Honda Classic. The tour schedule is such that players need to take a break somewhere, and coming off a strong stretch of tournaments including the big money PLAYERS Championship last week, this is a good breather for many top pros with the WGC Match Play next week and The Masters less than a month away.

You can view my initial Honda Classic preview at TheLines, where sports betting news and information you can bet on is available without any costs, subscriptions or tout talk. This week’s power rankings lack the biggest names, but defending champion Sungjae Im (+1400) joins Daniel Berger (+1100) at the top of the odds board and top-4 in the power rankings along with Joaquin Niemann (+2000).

Update: Wednesday, March 17. Betting favorite Daniel Berger withdraws.

Honda Classic Odds

Last week, we nailed a betting winner on Justin Thomas, who was also a ‘Fairway Favorite’ in our PLAYERS Championship tournament picks and a top play match-up winner over Viktor Hovland (cut). The tournament match-ups on these pages are now 7-2 since the start of the Farmers Insurance Open back in January.

Read more Honda Classic coverage at TheLines, and also below. I’ll add more tournament match-up picks and ‘Fairway Favorites and Longshots’ prior to the tournament starting Thursday. Also hope to add Golfers to Watch, which are longer shots to bet to win and top finishing position. Last week we included Corey Connors and Abraham Ancer, who finished 7th and T22 respectively at odds of +7500 or greater.

Top finishers last year returning in 2021:

  • Sungjae Im (Win)
  • MacKenzie Hughes (2)
  • Daniel Berger (T4)
  • Lee Westwood (T4)
  • Byeong Hun An (T4)
  • Russell Henley (T8)
  • Gary Woodland (T8)
  • Cameron Davis (T8)

Update: Betting information from BetMGM.

Highest Bet Golfers to Win Tournament:

  1. Lee Westwood (+2000) 10.3%
  2. Talor Gooch (+3300) 6.7%
  3. Joaquin Niemann (+1800) 5.3%
  4. Daniel Berger (+1000) 4.6%)
  5. Shane Lowry (+2500)  4.1%)

 Highest Handle% to Win Tournament: 

  1. Lee Westwood (+2000) 11.3%
  2. Talor Gooch (+3300) 11.2%
  3. Joaquin Niemann (+1800) 9.0%
  4. Shane Lowry (+2500) 6.5%
  5. Daniel Berger & Sungjae Im 4.0%

COURSE AND TOURNAMENT INFORMATION

  • Course: PGA National (Champions Course)
  • Location: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Date: March 18-21, 2021
  • Par: 70 / Yardage 7,125
  • Purse: $7 Million / Winner $1.26 M
  • Fairways/Rough: Bermudagrass and rough overseed with ryegrass
  • Greens: : Bermudagrass
  • TV/Online: Golf Channel, NBC (Sat/Sun), PGA Tour Live
  • Twitter & Hashtag: @TheHondaClassic
  • Defending Champion: Sungjae Im

Honda ClassicThe Champions Course was designed by George and Tom Fazio in 1981 and has been renovated multiple times by Jack Nicklaus – most recently in 2018. The Golden Bear’s tracks are on the course with the signature holes known as  the ‘Bear Trap’ from 15-17. It starts with a short-iron par 3 with water up front on the right. No. 16 is a par 4 dogleg over water while No. 17 is another short par 3 with water right. A long par 5 on the closing hole makes for a great birdie opportunity to finish. There is water in play on 13 holes on the Champions course.

Accuracy from the tee is rewarded at PGA National, where a straight forward fairways-and-greens approach is rewarded. The course often plays in windy conditions and is among the hardest on tour. That was the case in 2020, as PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Sungae Im won by 1-shot with a 6-under par total. Just 16 players finished under par. The scoring average of the field at PGA National in 2019 was 71.02, making it the 5th hardest course to score on in 2019. In 2018 it played to a 72.30 average and was ranked second hardest. Those two par 3s played as two of the five toughest holes in 2020 with both yielding between 15-19% bogeys. The par 4s at holes 6, 10 and 11 were the three hardest stroke average holes in the 2020 event.   

Key Stats

Approach play and Ball Striking are strokes gained stats to include with more weight, and noted accuracy off the tee and ability to avoid water and hazards will keep you active. Par 4 scoring and more review ahead as the players take aim at the Par 70 course.

Data Golf’s comp courses include: Grand Reserve CC, TPC Louisiana, TPC Summerlin, TPC San Antonio, Ridgewood CC and Waialae CC, where Russell Henley has won and Daniel Berger has finished well. Many of those courses require similar balanced weight of OTT, APP, ARG, and Putting to contend with varying degrees of scoring difficulty and PGA National usually having more wind in play.

Fairway’s Favorites: Sungjae Im, Shane Lowry, Russell Henley, Brendan Steele
Fairway’s Longshots: Cameron Davis (+4500), Matt Wallace (+6600), Patton Kizzire (+8500), Henrik Norlander (+9500)

Tournament Match-ups: Matt Wallace (-130) over Martin Kaymer (BetMGM)

Following the Honda Classic, the top players will play in the World Golf Championships – Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club in Texas.

Author: FairwayJay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports and betting analyst providing insight and information you can bet on for nearly two decades from Las Vegas. His work, writing and content is provided to various sites and leading sources. Follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay