PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — For much of the 1990s and 2000s, The Honda Classic was known as the girl who didn’t get asked to the prom.
The reasons were plentiful and difficult to argue with. The event lacked an identity, bumping around from Weston Hills Golf and Country Club (1992-95), TPC Eagle Trace (1996), TPC at Heron Bay (1997-2002) and Country Club at Mirasol (2003-06). It also had a traditionally awkward spot on the PGA Tour calendar, playing second fiddle to higher-profile events at Doral, Bay Hill and TPC Sawgrass on the Florida swing.
With the move to the Champion Course at PGA National, times have changed. Since 2007, the club has served as host with a prominent closing stretch dubbed “The Bear Trap” that has added to tournament lore.
That history will continue to be written. The Honda Classic and PGA National announced a five-year extension Wednesday, keeping the thriving event in its most successful location.
“PGA National is just the perfect home for the Honda Classic,” said Joe Steranka, president of Children’s Healthcare Charity, the Honda Classic host organization. “The phenomenal success the tournament has enjoyed since it moved here is a reflection of an extraordinary golf course and world-class service experience for PGA Tour players and their families, fans and sponsors.”
Attendance has grown from less than 100,000 in 2007 to more than 200,000 in 2016. Charitable contributions have also increased, from $430,000 in 2007 to $3.2 million.
Although the event has a slightly subdued feeling this year with the absence of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods – both had planned on playing before injuries sidelined them – the Honda Classic has consistently attracted the best players in the world over the past decade.
Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Russell Knox and Sergio García highlight this year’s field.