Tag Archives: Tiger Woods

The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa

Tiger Woods in his first Honda Classic appearance since 2014 placed just outside the top ten, but proved he was still the biggest draw in golf. When was the last time crowds gathered 10 deep for a golfer ranked 544th in the world?

Tiger Woods at The Honda Classic 2018
Tiger Woods at 2018 Honda Classic photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Perfect Florida weather and the Tiger Woods factor helped the 2018 Honda Classic shatter all previous attendance records.

The Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens is the first stop on the PGA tour’s annual Florida swing. Designed by Tom and George Fazio for major tournament play,  Jack Nicklaus redesigned The Champion course in 1990, creating the now famous stretch of finishing holes 15, 16 and 17, called the Bear Trap.

Fifteen is a 179 yard par three, Sixteen is a 434 yard par four and Seventeen is a 172 yard par three. Describing the challenge of the Bear Trap, Nicklaus said,

It’s not about length, it’s about precision.

If you bail out into the left bunker to avoid the water right on 17, only a deft touch will keep your ball on a green sloping severely downhill into the water. If the wind is up and the rough is long, tour players will be happy to take par and move on.

Playing the challenging Bear Trap at PGA National is must on any avid golfer’s bucket list. And if your game needs a tune-up before tackling the Bear Trap, the on-site David Leadbetter Academy at PGA National can help.

PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
PGA National Resort & Spa photo credit: John Cameron

Golf Digest put The Champion at PGA National on their list for best buddies golf destinations in 2013 and the recent 100 million dollar renovation puts PGA National at the top of première golf resort destinations in Florida.

If you can’t book a tee time on The Champion, try the new Fazio course. Tom Fazio II took the existing Haig course and modernized the layout, reconfiguring the tee boxes and bunkers and enlarging the greens, now grassed with TifEagle.

PGA tour pro Bruce Zabriski plays The Fazio
PGA tour pro Bruce Zabriski plays The Fazio photo credit: Sherel Purcell

After your round at one of the PGA National’s five golf courses, check out their signature restaurant Ironwood, a 2012 Wine Spectator  Award of Excellence winner.

Waters of the World PGA National Resort & Spa
Waters of the World PGA National Resort & Spa photo credit: Sherel Purcell

The resort offerings also include a health and racquet club and the “Waters of the World” outdoor mineral pools, – part of the 40,000 square foot European spa.

Travel Planner

  • The Honda Classic    Feb. 27 – Mar.1 2020
  • PGA National Resort  & Spa   400 Ave of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418   561.627. 2000
  • The Leadbetter Golf Academy PGA National

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The Players Championship

When The Players Championship first moved to Ponte Vedra in 1982, Pete Dye’s Stadium course wasn’t an instant hit with the players. When then asked if  TPC Sawgrass suited his playing style, Jack Nicklaus quipped,

“No, I’ve never been very good at stopping a 5-iron on the hood of a car.”

Dye returned to tweak the course, softening the rock hard and lightning fast greens and replacing several bunkers. After the changes, TPC Sawgrass became far more playable.

Every year, the best golfers in the world return to Ponte Vedra Beach for The Players Championship, now considered the unofficial 5th major by golf writers and players alike.

Memorable moments from The Players include Rickie Fowler’s three birdies on 17 for his first Players win in 2015, Hal Sutton’s “Be the right club today” 6 iron into the eighteenth for a 1 shot win over Tiger Woods in 2000 and Tiger Woods “Better than most” 60-foot putt on the island green at 17 for his first Players title in 2001.

If you’re hungry, stop by Nineteen in the clubhouse for lunch.  And don’t miss seeing the Champions clubs. Every year since the inaugural Players Championship in 1974, the TPC Champion has donated a  club from their winning bag to a collection on permanent display in the TPC clubhouse.

Where to Stay

If you want to watch the PGA Tour tee it up at The Players, stay where the pros do, at the updated Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa.  

Lobby of Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa
Lobby of Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa

The lobby provides a beautiful and expansive golf course vista with indoor /outdoor bar seating. You can even see the 13th tee box of the TPC Stadium course from the hotel.

Mini 17th island green at Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa
Mini 17th island green at Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa

Sawgrass Marriott has created a mini-replica of the 17th hole at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for guests to test their game. While only 65 yards away, if you can land a ball on this postage size green, you belong on the PGA tour.

Open for both breakfast and dinner, the Marriott’s signature restaurant, Vernon’s specializes in innovative dishes with a local flair. The many breakfast buffet options include a custom omelette station.

There’s also an onsite spa and a private beach club to relax on Florida’s Northeast sandy coast. The restaurant 619 Ocean View at the beach club is a short shuttle away from the hotel. The hotel also offers guests a complimentary shuttle to the TPC Valley and Stadium course. If you like, you can have your clubs sent over from the hotel.

Starting in 2019, THE PLAYERS Championship is moving from the month of May back to March, its previous position on the calendar as part of the Florida Swing. The TOUR’s signature event at TPC Sawgrass had been held in March until 2007 when it moved to May.

If golfing TPC Sawgrass is on your bucket list, please note the course is closed for prep one month prior to the tournament.

THE PLAYERS Championship
March 12 – 15, 2020
TPC Sawgrass, 110 Championship Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

The Players Clubhouse front room

TPC Sawgrass Champions framed watercolors

The Players locker room at TPC Sawgrass

Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino photos at TPC Sawgrass

The Champions Clubs at TPC Sawgrass

TPC Champion's clubs

The Player's Trophy