the better to create more of a risk-reward finish.
Last year, it played to 604 yards and was still
the second easiest hole on the course, with a
4. 9 scoring average. This year, the hole played
at 556 yards, and averaged 4. 5 strokes, making
it the easiest hole on the course.
Nicklaus, who re-designed the golf course,
didn’t sound thrilled with the change.
“They’re now playing it where we always
played it from,” he said. “But they hit it 50 yards
further, so they take half the hole out of play.
They can still reach the hole from the back tee.
Why do they want to go clear up there? I mean,
I could see half the tournament up, half the
just to have a chance to do something special
like that is really humbling and it’s really cool.”
Brian Harman began the week as an
alternate who finally got into the Honda field
Tuesday when Vijay Singh withdrew because of
back issues. Harman, a 25-year-old rookie and
former Walker Cup player from the University
of Georgia, definitely took full advantage.
In Friday’s second round, he began birdie-birdie-eagle on his way to a 61, shattering the
course record by three shots. He even had a
chance at the Holy Grail 59, needing an eagle
at the 566-yard 18th. His second shot, with a
hybrid, found a greenside bunker but his blast
from the sand was a tad off target, leaving him
a five-footer. He missed the birdie putt and
parred the hole.
“I was a little hot that I missed the five-footer,” Harman said. “But at the same time I was
really aggressive with that bunker shot. I saw
where Davis (Love III) shot 64 (Thursday) and
just thought, ‘How did he shoot 64 out here?’
This place is so hard ... This is probably one of
the hardest golf courses we play all year and
Erik Compton, a two-time heart transplant
recipient now in his rookie season on the Tour,
birdied his first two holes in the second round
and was only a shot off the lead at the time
before he cooled considerably and posted a 71
that still allowed him to make the cut.
Compton was playing on a course only 90
minutes from his home in Coral Gables, and he
had a large contingent of family and friends in
his gallery all week. He earned his Tour card by
finishing in the top 25 of the Nationwide Tour
money list a year ago.
“I know my story is bigger than my game,” he
said. “Part of me is chasing what nobody’s ever
done before. I set my expectations very high. I
don’t know if it’s realistic for someone who’s had
two heart transplants.
“At the end of the day, I don’t care if I make
a lot of money. I still want to be in my backyard,
watering my plants and hosing down the patio
and doing the simple things.”
The PGA Tour and Honda announced a
four-year extension of their current deal that
will keep the Honda Classic at PGA National at
least through 2016. The agreement continues
the longest running sponsorship on the Tour,
going back to 1982. l