Honda Classic Preview: Who To Watch & How to Watch

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As Rickie Fowler returns to defend his Honda Classic title we take a look at who to watch, and how to watch this week on the PGA Tour.

Defending Champion Rickie Fowler heads back to the opening event of the Florida swing at PGA National with a solid record (a win and T6 in his last two starts here) as Tiger Woods will tee up in back-to-back tournaments. 

Woods missed the cut at last week's Genesis Open, put down to too many miscued tee shots and three three-putts on the back-nine of his second round. But with Riviera being just his third tournament back since a fourth back surgey, Woods committed to the Honda Classic after acknowledging he needs some more tournament reps under his belt. 

McIlroy, also in the field this week, played with Tiger for his first two rounds and gave an encouraging analysis of Woods' return, saying: "He's very close. Give him a little bit of time. He's still figuring a few things about with equipment, sort of in between drivers and whatever, but he's close."

How to watch

Thursday:
Featured Groups: Live PGA Tour, Sky Sports Main Event (14:00), Sky Sports Golf (14:00)
Full Coverage Sky Sports Golf (20:00) 

Friday:
Featured Groups: Live PGA Tour, Sky Sports Main Event (14:00), Sky Sports Golf (14:00)
Full Coverage Sky Sports Golf (20:00)  

Saturday:
Sky Sports Golf (18:00), Sky Sports Main Event (21:45) 

Sunday:
Sky Sports Golf (18:00) 

Who to watch: The field

Past Champions in the field: Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Padraig Harrington, Russell Henley, Michael Thompson, Rory McIlroy, Rory Sabbatini, Camilo Villegas and Luke Donald. 

Rickie Fowler: Defending champion here this week, and has a good record at the Honda Classic with three top 10s in his last six appearances. Was T11 in his last start at the Phoenix Open, and despite a MC at Torrey Pines, Fowler was T4 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and won the Hero World Challenge prior to that. Ranked 1st for par 3 and par 4 scoring average, 3rd for SG around the green and 1st for scrambling. 

Paul Casey: Casey still hasn't missed since the 2017 Sony Open, and despite a T49 last week he’s still had four top-10 finishes in his last seven starts.. Still looking for his second PGA Tour victory, and has gone T11-T43-T3 here the last three years. Ranked 4th for Strokes Gained tee to green and 1st for sand saves. 

Tommy Fleetwood: His first appearance in the Honda Classic, and is coming from a respectable T37 in his first US Start this year at last week’s Genesis Open. Prior to that he had four successive top 10s that included a successful defense of his Abu Dhabi title, so he’s definitely a good bet this week.

Justin Thomas: The highest ranked player in the field. Started his season by winning the first ever CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, and has since gone 11th-T22-T14-T17, followed by a T9 at the Genesis Open. Missed the cut last year but was T3 in 2016. Ranked in the top on tour for driving distance, birdie average and putting average. 

Rory McIlroy: T20 last week after a MC in his first 2018 PGA Tour outing, but given he went T3-2nd in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, a good outside bet this week. Champion here in 2012 and runner up in 2014, but since then has missed two cuts.

Alex Noren: Followed up his play-off defeat to Jason Day with a T21 at Torrey Pines and T16 at Riviera. Hasn't finished worse than T21 in his last four appearances, but this is his first start here.

Sergio Garcia: Garcia is teeing up in the USA for the first time in 2018 but has a strong record at the Honda Classic, finishing 2nd in 2016 and T8 in 2014. Has two wins in his last six starts, having last posted a T32 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the end of January.

Brian Harman: Harman skipped the Genesis Open last week following his MC at Torrey Pines, but with four top 10s in his last six starts we reckon he’s one to watch this week. Was T14 here in 2017, 2nd in 2016 and T8 in 2014, so PGA National clearly is a course that suits his game. Ranked 6th on tour for scoring average, 4th for GIR and 9th in total SG. 

Tyrell Hatton: Finished T3 in his last start in Dubai, T15 in Abu Dhabi the week before and hasn’t finished outside of the top 20 in his last 10 starts (which includes back-to-back victories on the European Tour). T4 at the Honda Classic last year in his first outing.