2018 The Honda Classic Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Adios West Coast and hello Florida Swing (and hooray for EST tee times for early morning score checking purposes!).  Ah yes, I can smell the Bermuda and crocodiles all the way up here in cold and snowy SoDak.  The PGA Tour’s Florida Swing used to be Bay Hill and Doral, and then everything else. Now, with a venerable host course and perfect timing in the schedule allowing for stacked fields each year, The Honda Classic has become one of the main attractions in the Florida swing.

“The Honda” is held at PGA National Resort & Spa on the Champion Course, a ball-striker’s delight of a track, sitting at 7,140 yards and a par 70.  It’s definitely one of those events where an even par round actually means something, especially if (and most likely when) the wind blows.  In fact, any player who shot even par or better for the week has finished top 20 or better in seven of the past nine years.  Major-like venue, you betcha.  Word is that Johnny Miller already had to already change undershirts three times this morning due to excessive sweating just thinking about the carnage.

My picks last week at the Genesis Open all made the weekend, but weren’t overly stellar.  Jordan Spieth as my Lockzilla lead the week and finished t-9th, while Semi-Flier Matt Kuchar finished t-26th and my Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week Charles Howell III was t-37th.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Spieth t-9th)

Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler
– Not going to overthink this one here.  Defending champ, in solid form, ’nuff said.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Kuchar t-26th)

Jason Dufner
Jason Dufner
– The Duf is a career 8 for 8 here at The Honda with half of those going for top 20 finishes.  He enters in solid form this year as well and in fact hasn’t missed a cut since last June at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.  Not saying I expect him to win this week, but he’s consistent enough that he’ll be hanging around at the least on the weekend.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Fleetwood t-37th)

Alex Noren
Alex Noren
– No question that the Swede has been on a tear lately and that he has some big things ahead in the next few years, but color me more than just a little bit skeptical that he can continue to carry this current form from coast-to-coast, week-to-week on new courses and different grasses (oh yeah, and against stacked fields, too).  Stay away from the golfer with the most blistered hands I’ve ever seen this week and thank me later.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: Howell III t-37th)

Harris English
Harris English
– Started 2018 with 3 made cuts, including a back-to-back of t-11th at the CareerBuilder and t-8th at Torrey Pines, only to scuffle into missed cuts the past two weeks.  The latter is what I’m leaning on to scare off others this week while I pounce, as the 28-year-old has some bright potential ahead of him on Tour.  Finished t-18th here in 2012 when he went into the back 9 on Sunday with a chance to win, only to balloon to a final round 77.  No doubt that still leaves him an appetite for revenge here.  Harris English is your Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week!

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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