European Tour players look to continue success in Honda Classic


European Tour players look to continue success in Honda Classic
With the co-sanctioned WGC Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona still fresh in the memory, the US PGA Tour moves to Florida this week for the Honda Classic.

Fittingly, the Honda Classic in 2006 was the scene of Luke Donald's last win on the US PGA Tour before his remarkable 3&2 victory over new world number one Martin Kaymer on Sunday (February 27th).

Donald's performance in Arizona, where he was not once behind in a match and had beaten all of his opponents before the 18th hole, is still attracting plaudits, with European Tour chief executive George O'Grady one of the latest to commend the world number three for his "staggering" exploits.

O'Grady also noted the strength of the European challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana, along with the European Tour's domination of the world rankings.

"It was a tremendous achievement to get two of our players in the final last week," O'Grady told Reuters.

"It will give great confidence and self-belief to the tour.

"Martin, Lee [Westwood], Luke and Graeme [McDowell] are now the top four in the world rankings and they are all pretty special golfers.

"We have actually got six in the top eight including Paul Casey at seven and Rory McIlroy at eight. That's a tremendous achievement for the tour - there are no two ways about it."

With the next Europe-based European Tour event not taking place until March 17th, many of these players have chosen to play in the Honda Classic.

Donald is well-fancied to continue his success with his Mizuno MP T-11 Series wedges with a win at the PGA National Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, and Graeme McDowell is also likely to be in the mix come Sunday.

The world number four is the reigning US Open champion and the PGA National Champion Course set-up is likely to be a similar test to the one seen at Pebble Beach last June, where McDowell excelled.

McIlroy and Westwood are also on the start-list, as is in-form American Matt Kuchar, although Kaymer is having a week off.

One other player who won't be appearing in the Honda Classic this week is former world number one Tiger Woods, who has chosen to spend more time in the range with his Nike Victory Red Pro Blade irons as he seeks to remodel his swing.

This does not come as a surprise to Lee Westwood, who noted the fine balance players need to strike between spending time on the range and out on the course when they are looking to recover their form.

"When I went through a bad patch, it was a juggling act," he said. "Tiger has got to do what he feels is right."

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