Are you pumped up for the Honda Classic? You should be.
Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, makes his 2014-2015 PGA Tour debut when play gets underway Thursday at the PGA National Golf Club. The 25-year-old is coming off a record breaking win earlier this month at the Dubai Desert Classic.
If that’s not reason enough to be excited, here’s another reason. The Honda Classic means that the Masters is only six weeks away. Maybe that means some warmer weather is also around the corner.
Back to the Honda Classic. The tournament, held annually since 1972, has actually become one of the premier events of the early PGA schedule.
Here’s a list of 10 little known facts to get you ready for this week’s action:
1. The Honda Classic was founded in 1972 as the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic.
2. Tom Weiskopf won the inaugural event by one stroke over Jack Nicklaus. He took home $52,000.
3. Russell Henley won last year and took home $1,080,000.
4. Only three men have won the Honda Classic three times – Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Mark Calcavecchia.
5. When Calcavecchia won his first title in 1987, it came one year after he was a caddie at the tournament (for Ken Green).
6. Henley, the defending champion, won over arguably the strongest field in the history of the tournament. 8 of the world top 10 participated in 2014.
7. The 1993 Honda Classic, won by Fred Couples, was shortened to three rounds due to a devastating Saturday windstorm.
8. The first non American to win the Honda Classic was Nick Price in 1994. Price was born in South Africa and is a current citizen of Zimbabwe.
9. The primary beneficiary of the Honda Classic is the Jack Nicklaus Children’s Healthcare Charity, which is chaired by Jack’s wife, Barbara.
10. After McIlroy won in 2012, he became the second youngest golfer in history to be ranked No. 1 in the world.