Jan 25, 2022
Koepka, Fowler Among Early Commitments To Play In The 2022 Honda Classic
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL — Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler, two of the biggest fan favorites in golf, have committed to play in the 2022 Honda Classic, a PGA TOUR event which will be held February 21-27 at PGA National Resort & Spa.
Koepka, a 31-year-old West Palm Beach product who has won four major championships, is returning to the Champion course where he finished second in 2019, after being forced to miss the 2021 event with a freak knee injury. A bad step turned into a dislocated kneecap that shattered last March when Koepka tried to jam his knee back into place.
Fowler, who won the 2017 Honda and finished second in 2019 and sixth in 2016, also is looking to regain his winning form in 2022. Last year, Fowler did post an eighth-place finish at the PGA Championship. It was the 33-year-old’s 12th top-10 finish in a major and a sign to him that the massive work he has been putting in on his swing the past year was starting to pay dividends.
The two will take on a world class field that thus far also includes early entries from:
- Louis Oosthuizen, the world’s No. 12 ranked player who won The Open Championship in 2010 has finished second or third in each of the last three Majors
- Tommy Fleetwood., runner-up in the 2018 US Open and 2019 The Open Championship.
- Lee Westwood – 2020 Race to Dubai winner for third time as the European Tour’s top player
- Gary Woodland – 2019 U.S. Open champion
- Stewart Cink
- Billy Horschel, ranked No. 23 in the world
- Former Honda Classic champions Keith Mitchell, Padraig Harrington, Michael Thompson, Rory Sabbatini, Camilo Villegas, and Luke Donald
Koepka has been in an upbeat mood recently now that he is finding his form and confidence. He says that he is just about 100% healthy and that his 2018-19 season in which he won the U.S. Open and PGA Championships and also made more than $7 million can be replicated in 2022 and beyond.
“That wasn’t peak,” Koepka said. “That wasn’t peak. Just wait.”
Koepka announced an equipment change in November and the results thus far have been encouraging. He finished tied for ninth at the Hero World Challenge and then 28th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.
“I’m very, very happy, and it’s even taken me by shock how easy this transition is, and I think everything’s getting right where it should be,” Koepka said. “My game feels good. I feel good. I should be playing good.”
The injuries and just getting a little older have forced Koepka to make lifestyle adjustments and not be as reckless as he might have been in his 20’s.
“Mentally, I still think I’m 21. But the past three years, there’s the realization I’m not that young person anymore who can go Jet Ski or wakeboard or whatever,” Koepka told Golf Digest recently. “Getting out of bed now takes 30 minutes to get going. You have to change your lifestyle. I probably packed on 10 to 15 pounds after the knee surgery because I can’t be as active as I was. I can’t go run. I’m never going to be able to run again. You’re parking closer to the door than before and all that.”
Koepka told Golf Channel recently that his injuries have also actually helped him think better on the course rather than just relying on his physical game which carried him to 15 top 10s in majors since 2015. He won four of those, two US Opens and two PGA Championships between 2015 and 2017 and still thinks he can reach Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 victories in Major Championships..
“In my mind, I’m going to catch him on majors. I believe that,” Kopeka said. “I don’t see any reason that can stop me. I’m 31. I have another 14 years left. If I win one a year, I got Jack. People misconstrue that as being cocky. No, that’s just my belief. If I don’t have that belief, I shouldn’t be out there. If you don’t think you can win, why the hell are you teeing it up? Sports are made to have a winner and a loser. You’re one or the other.”
Fowler has won nine events in his pro career, with five on the PGA Tour: the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship, two in 2015 (The Players and Deutsche Bank), the 2017 Honda Classic, and the Waste Management in 2019.
He has been feeling good in recent weeks and expects to add to that total in 2022.
“It has been a bit more of just going out and not worrying so much about the swing, not golf swing but just playing golf and hitting shots,” Fowler said. “It’s been fun to be back in a position where I can just go play golf. And like I said, we put the work in on the swing, and so time to stop worrying about that and go play golf. It’s been a long time coming, but it is nice to finally start to see some results.”
The Honda Classic awarded $5.1 million to 100 South Florida philanthropic organizations in 2021, a number that approached tournament record levels despite the widespread impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The $5.1 million was just $250,000 below the record distribution of $5.35 million of 2020 and equaled the distribution in 2019. It has impacted the lives of more than 100,000 children in the past year and provided a much-needed boost to South Florida community charities that faced their own fiscal challenges in a tough year.
The Honda Classic has now surpassed $55 million in charitable contributions as American Honda approaches its 41st year as title sponsor of the PGA TOUR event, including almost $40 million in the 15 years since Children’s Healthcare Charity, Inc. became the host organization and moved the event to PGA National Resort and Spa.
Grounds tickets, Goslings Bear Trap tickets and other hospitality tickets and packages for the 2022 Honda Classic are on sale at thehondaclassic.com or by calling 1-844-8Honda8 (844-846-6328).
The Goslings Bear Trap will be back to its original layout with no pre-designated sections, along with a new private section on the second level behind the 17th tee called the Bear Trap Reserve.
General grandstands will be returning along with public hospitality structures such as the Tito’s Stillhouse Lounge at the 17th hole and the Corona Premier Clubhouse at the 15th green.