News & ToursMarch 4, 2010

Honda Classic: Where are the American stars?

The field at the Honda Classic is bereft of American stars, as the BBC notes here, only one American from the top 50 in the World Ranking (Anthony Kim) playing a tournament that has had the same sponsor longer than any other PGA Tour event, 30 years.

"The British golf fan is apt to chide American professionals for not playing overseas but this is Florida for goodness sake," the BBC writes.

"Thanks, Honda, for all you do to support our Tour. We're not going to support you, but Thanks."

How do you disagree with that? Fifteen months ago, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem made a video plea for players "to add a tournament or two to their historical schedules to assist tournaments that historically have weak fields."

The Honda field is not a weak one, because of a strong international contingent -- 12 of the top 30 players in the World Ranking, including Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington.

The Americans' only defense would be that there are only 14 of them ranked among the top 50 now, and two are excused for personal reasons -- Tiger Woods, who remains on hiatus, and Phil Mickelson, who took his wife Amy to Houston this week for another cancer treatment.

The Honda Classic deserves better, nonethless, particularly with the participation of Jack and Barbara Nicklaus; the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation is among the charitable beneficiaries of the tournament.

The BBC calls it "pathetic." Hard to disagree with that, too.

-- John Strege

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