Adam Scott, who outlasted Sergio Garcia in the final round to win the 2016 Honda Classic, will return to defend his title in the 2017 edition of the PGA TOUR event which will be held February 20-26 at PGA National Resort & Spa.
Scott is ranked No. 7 in the Official World Golf Ranking, a status cemented by his victory at The Honda followed by a win at the Cadillac Championship at Doral last March. He will be challenged by a world class field that already includes Tiger Woods as well as Masters champion Danny Willett, Paul Casey, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Zach Johnson, two-time Honda champion (2005 and 2015) Padraig Harrington, 2014 Honda champion Russell Henley, 2006 Honda champion Luke Donald, 2011 Honda champion Rory Sabbatini, 1997 Honda champion Stuart Appleby, Stewart Cink, Jason Dufner, Retief Goosen, and Graeme McDowell.
Scott won the 2016 Honda Classic by fighting to an even par 70 on Sunday as he and Garcia dueled the entire round. A noteworthy fact was that Scott did it in just his third start with a short putter as new rules dictated that he give up the trademark long putter that he had used the previous five years.
Scott began his final round with a 10-foot birdie to go ahead by two strokes and maintained a sense of control until back-to-back bogeys at No. 9 and No. 10 created an anxious moment. But Garcia missed a short putt at No. 11 and Scott hit a fairway bunker to two feet on the next hole.
The Bear Trap, which always is a mental challenge, was the last hurdle to conquer. Scott had taken a quadruple-bogey at No. 15 on Saturday that kept the tournament from becoming a runaway victory. He was the first player since Phil Mickelson in 2009 (TOUR Championship) to win a tournament with a quadruple bogey.
There was no way to wipe that experience from his mind. But Scott stayed dry on the 15th hole and later at the 17th as well.
His toughest moment coming home came at No. 16 where he clung to a one-stroke lead. Scott three-putted for bogey. But Garcia hit a bad chip and also bogeyed, then bogeyed the 17th hole as well. Scott made par on the final two holes to secure the one-stroke victory with a final score of nine-under 271.
Scott, who was ranked No. 1 in 2014 after a victory at The Colonial, cemented his current Top 10 status going into 2017. He played 20 events last year, with nine Top 10 finishes including a runner-up at the Northern Trust Open that preceded The Honda.
There is no question that his finest golf of the year came in that three-week stretch with his victory at PGA National sandwiched in the middle.
"I feel like I come into every tournament knowing that I have a chance to compete," Scott said. "The putter's been up and down, and that affects my result the most, I think, ultimately. But generally, I'm playing well, and the confidence is there. I play consistently well week after week."
Grounds tickets, Bear Trap tickets and other hospitality tickets and packages for the 2017 Honda Classic are on sale at thehondaclassic.com or by calling 1-844-8Honda8 (844-846-6328).
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