This Week in Golf — Feb. 26-Mar. 1

National Resort & Spa (Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – The PGA
Tour is back on the east coast for the Honda Classic this week after a seven-
week stretch out west that also included two trips to Hawaii.

Last year, Russell Henley made birdie on the first hole in a four-way playoff
to defeat Rory McIlroy, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox. The win was Henley’s
second on the PGA Tour, with his first one coming at the Sony Open in Hawaii
back in 2013.

McIlroy was looking to go wire-to-wire for the win as he held the outright
lead after each of the first three rounds, but he struggled to a 4-over 74 on
the final day. McIlroy missed an 11-foot eagle putt for the win on the 72nd
hole and he settled for birdie and a spot in the playoff.

Henley also struggled in the final round with a 2-over 72, including a late
double-bogey that wound up hurting him in regulation, but he was able to come
through in the playoff. Palmer shot a final-round, 1-under 69, while Knox
carded a 71. All four finished 72 holes deadlocked at 8-under-par 272.

All four players will be back in action again this week, including McIlroy,
who will be making his first appearance on the PGA Tour this season.

The world’s No. 1 player has played in just two events all year on the
European Tour at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the Omega Dubai
Desert Classic. McIlroy went on to win in Dubai and finished runner-up in Abu

Tiger Woods, who was originally supposed to play in this week’s tournament,
has taken an indefinite leave to work on his game and he will not be

Fifteen of the top-23 players in the world will be in attendance, with McIlroy
(1), Sergio Garcia (6), Justin Rose (8) and Martin Kaymer (10) the players
inside the top 10.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds of this event and NBC will
also have coverage over the weekend.

The PGA Tour has two events next week. It will link up with the European Tour
for the WGC-Cadillac Championship, where Patrick Reed won by two shots last
year. The Puerto Rico Open will also be contested. Chesson Hadley went on to
win by two as well last season.


JOBURG OPEN, Royal Johannesburg/Kensington Golf Club (East/West Courses),
Johannesburg, South Africa – The European Tour is back in South Africa for
the fourth time this season as George Coetzee looks to successfully defend his
title at the Joburg Open this week.

Coetzee came from four back on the final day with a huge 6-under 66 to win by
three shots on his home soil. Coetzee went 65-68-69-63 in his four rounds and
finished the week at 19-under-par 268, three ahead of Justin Walters, Jin
Jeong and Tyrrell Hatton.

The victory was the first of Coetzee’s career on the European Tour and he has
not won since. He will be back in action this week looking for that second

The last time the European Tour was in South Africa was in early January for
the South African Open Championship, where Andy Sullivan defeated Charl
Schwartzel in a playoff. Sullivan is in the field this week, while Schwartzel
is playing at the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic.

Also in the field is Darren Clarke, who was just recently appointed as the
2016 European Ryder Cup captain last week. Clarke is a 14-time winner on tour,
with his last victory being his biggest at the 2011 British Open.

Golf Channel will have coverage off all four rounds of this week’s event.

The European Tour will also have two events next week. Along with the WGC-
Cadillac Championship in Florida, it will also be back in South Africa for the
Africa Open, where Thomas Aiken defeated Oliver Fisher in a playoff for his
third career victory.


HONDA LPGA THAILAND, Siam Country Club (Pattaya Old Course), Chonburi,
Thailand – After spending a week in Australia, the LPGA Tour heads north this
week for the Honda LPGA Thailand, the fourth event of the 2015 season.

Last year, Anna Nordqvist shot a 4-under 68 in the final round to hold off a
surging Inbee Park and win by two strokes. While Nordqvist had a solid last
day, Park carded a 6-under 66, but she came up a bit short.

Nordqvist, who finished the week at 15-under 273, has four career victories on
the LPGA Tour. The win at this event was her third and she picked up her
fourth one month later at the Kia Classic.

Nordqvist will be back in the field this week along with Park, who will serve
as the highest ranked player in the world at No. 2 with last week’s ISPS Handa
Women’s Australian Open winner and world No. 1 Lydia Ko not playing in this

Ko is the only player inside the top 10 who will not be playing. It is a small
field this week consisting of only 70 players.

Golf Channel will have early morning coverage of all four rounds.

The LPGA Tour will remain in southeast Asia next week for the HSBC Women’s
Champions in Singapore, where Paula Creamer defeated Azahara Munoz last year
after making an incredible, long eagle putt on the second playoff hole for her
10th career victory on tour.