Daniel Berger withdraws from Honda Classic with rib injury
Kevin C. Cox
The Honda Classic took another hit on Wednesday when the top-ranked golfer in the field, Daniel Berger, withdrew due to a rib injury.
Berger, 15th in the World Ranking, was one of just six players inside the top 50 set to tee it up at PGA National. He pulled out of the pro-am Wednesday morning before deciding to skip the tournament entirely shortly after.
With Berger’s withdrawal, the top-ranked player in the field is World No. 18 Sungjae Im.
It’s a disappointing development for a tournament that dates back to 1972, especially considering how many PGA Tour players live within driving distance of Palm Beach Gardens, where PGA National is located. But the Honda has found itself in a difficult spot on the schedule, following a four-week stretch that includes two tournaments with elevated status (the Genesis Invitational and the Arnold Palmer Invitational), a World Golf Championship (WGC-Workday at the Concession) and the Players Championship.
Additionally, it is followed by the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, a tournament that many of the top players use as their final preparation for the Masters, which begins April 8.
Berger, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February for his fourth PGA Tour win, was the betting favorite coming into the week. He withdrew from the Genesis Invitational the week after that victory, then finished T-35 at the WGC-Workday before opting not to play the API. The 27-year-old tied for ninth in the Players last week.
Berger has been replaced in the field by Rhein Gibson.