This article is part of our Golf Picks series.
The Honda Classic Betting Preview
After spending five weeks on the West Coast, the PGA Tour will take up residency in the Sunshine State for the next month, and the Florida Swing will get underway with The Honda Classic.
This event followed THE PLAYERS Championship last year, but it was shuffled up in the rotation for 2022. We will not see the elite field that flocked to Riviera for last week's Genesis Invitational, as just four of the top 25 players in the Official Golf Ranking will tee it up this week. The list of players will be headlined by tournament favorite Sungjae Im, who checks in at 10-1 odds. Last year, Matt Jones, despite owning 70-1 odds to take home the trophy, picked up his second Tour victory and tied the largest margin of victory in this event with a five-stroke win over Brandon Hagy.
PGA National plays as one of the toughest courses on Tour in relation to par, with the winner here finishing 10-under or better just twice since 2013. A par-70 at just over 7,100 yards and with only two par-5s the course is not long, but trouble looms throughout with water in play on all but a few holes. A Jack Nicklaus re-design, PGA National is well-known for "The Bear Trap," a three-hole stretch on Nos. 15-17 that features a pair of treacherous par-3s over water. The wet stuff is also in play on the par-4 16th, both off the tee and on approach.
The winner led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green in each of the last four occurrences of this tournament, showing that players will need to excel at all facets of their game. I'll look for players that do well from 150-200 yards, with a lot of approach shots coming in that range.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 7:00 PM ET Tuesday.
The following five golfers, with a minimum of eight rounds played, have the lowest scoring average at PGA National since 2017.
This week's course history angle leads us to Fleetwood, who recorded a top-5 in both of his appearances in the event and held the 54-hole lead in 2020 before settling for a solo third. The oddsmakers are pricing him aggressively as the second choice at 14-1, which limits his value and makes him a more appealing option in DFS contests. Another golfer who has notched a pair of top-5s at PGA National is Glover, who did so most recently in 2019. His best finish during last year's Florida Swing also came here. Glover is off to a solid start in 2022, with only one missed cut and a T5 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Glover's solid iron play – he sits 32nd in SG: Approach this season – and accuracy off the tee will come in handy this week.
Bear HandlersCurrent Form
These players, on a per-round basis, gained the most strokes from tee to green over their last 20 rounds.
2020 champion Im is the lone player to appear on both lists, so we can see why the oddsmakers believe he is the most likely player to wind up in the winner's circle. Im followed up his win here with a top-10 finish last year and hasn't missed the cut in any of his three appearances. With three top-10 finishes in five events this year, Im will be a popular selection in one-and-done formats, and deservedly so. A bit further down the board is Vegas, who is listed at 40-1 and should welcome from the switch from poa annua to bermudagrass after struggling on the greens in California. Vegas is one of the best players on Tour when it comes to ball striking, gaining 1.1 strokes per round off the tee and on approach combined this season. Vegas' best finish here was a share for fourth in 2017, and chances are he will be in contention again if his short game cooperates.
Daniel Berger (16-1)
Berger followed up a missed cut in Phoenix last year with a win. Can he do that two years in a row? He lost in a playoff here in his rookie season, and the Jupiter resident knows the course very well. I feel like he comes in a bit under the radar having played a light schedule since the playoffs ended, and I consider him the best player in this field.
Brian Harman (40-1)
It's easy to forget how well Harman played last year when he went through an 11-tournament stretch with nine top-20 finishes. He showed some fatigue thereafter but has regrouped nicely, making all four of his cuts and notching two top-15s since the calendar flipped to 2022. Harman has had success on this track before, setting the course record with a 61 in 2012, a mark that was tied by Matt Jones last year.
Gary Woodland (65-1)
Woodland finished second in SG: Approach in each of his last two appearances at PGA National and also finished T2 back in 2017. He's another local resident who knows this place very well, and although his form has been mediocre at best, this is great value considering the strength of field.
K.H. Lee (5-1)
Lee feels overdue for a top-10, with his most recent one coming 14 starts ago. It's not like he hasn't come close, as he missed only one cut during that stretch and notched three top-20 results. Lee led the field in SG: Long Game – the combination of SG: Off-the-Tee and Approach – in the 2019 edition of this event.
Taylor Pendrith (7-1)
Pendrith has held his own in his first season on Tour, making over half of his cuts, recording a pair of top-25s and also posting a best finish of T5. He's quickly established himself as one of the longer hitters out there and uses his driving advantage to set up the rest of his game. Pendrith will be making his debut in this event, but we saw rookies emerge the past couple weeks in Sahith Theegala and Cameron Young, and Pendrith could add his name to that list.
Doc Redman (12-1)
Redman is finally showing some signs of life, finishing T25 at Torrey Pines last month and making three cuts in a row for the first time since last June. He gained strokes on approach in each of those events, so his prospects hinge on whether or not he can get going on and around the green. Redman has had his best results against weaker fields, and this is one of them.
Bezuidenhout is a good player to target on tougher courses, as he does a good job avoiding bogeys. Staying away from the big mistake will be key this week. Meanwhile, Moore is losing 0.4 shots per round on approach, and he is having some issues in the 150-200 yard range, which is a major cause for concern when he reaches the Bear Trap.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. While both players are trending downward, it's Reed that's more of a concern to me, as he ranks outside the top 200 in both SG: Off-the-Tee and Approach this season. Fowler's issues have come with his putter, which is much more correctable on a one-off basis. As the slight underdog, Fowler's is the side to be on.