PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL – Justin Thomas, who won the 2018 Honda Classic with brilliant late play in regulation and a playoff, will return to defend his title at the 2019 edition of the PGA TOUR event February 25-March 3 at PGA National Resort & Spa.
A year ago, Thomas nearly holed a wedge on the par-5 18th hole for a birdie to force a playoff with Luke List. Then he nailed a five-wood over the water on the first playoff hole to set up an easy two-putt birdie that was good enough for the victory.
“All I was looking at was the water to see if it splashed,” Thomas said of the brilliant five-wood shot. “And it didn’t. So I figured I was in the bunker. And then people started clapping and I could kind of see some little white dot on the green.”
Thomas missed the 18th fairway in regulation and had no choice but to lay up on the par five. He had 117 yards to the hole, the perfect distance for his gap wedge.
“I have a lot of confidence in my wedge game,” Thomas said. “I knew if I got a decent number that I was going to be able to get inside 10 feet. That’s all I wanted was a chance to try to get into a playoff. And then I ended up hitting a great wedge.”
A world-class field will join Thomas at PGA National this year including early commits Brooks Koepka (World No. 2), Sergio Garcia (2017 Masters champion), Adam Scott (2016 Honda champion), Jim Furyk (Sponsor's Exemption), Graeme McDowell, Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Jhonattan Vegas, Cameron Smith, Luke List (2018 Honda Classic runner-up), Rory Sabbatini (2011 Honda Classic champion), Vijay Singh (1999 Honda Classic champion), and Michael Thompson (2013 Honda Classic champion).
Players have until Friday February 22 to commit to playing in the 2019 Honda Classic.
Thomas returns to The Honda with a No. 4 world ranking after holding the No. 1 spot for four weeks last year shortly after his Honda victory. Obviously regaining the top spot is a priority in 2019.
"It's extremely important. That being said, it's, there's a lot of very stiff and hard competition," Thomas said. "There's a lot of guys that are playing really well and it's such a tight race I guess you could say that really there's a handful of guys that are really two, three weeks away from, if they win a couple in a row or have a couple good weeks in majors or something, then they could just as easily take it over.
"So it is very important to me and it's something I try not to think too much about. I'm trying to win golf tournaments. That will result in getting closer or getting to No. 1. It's not like I'm out there practicing like, okay, this shot is to get to No. 1 in the world. But then again, I'm hoping to get back there."
Thomas has been working hard on his driving accuracy in recent weeks and in one round at Kapalua on January 6 he actually hit every fairway.
"I think I was 12 the last time I did that," Thomas said. "I just have tried to stop caring as much. When I go play fun rounds with my friends or whatever it may be, I seem to drive it pretty well. I think it's just because I don't care about the outcome. I just have an idea of the shot I want to hit in my head and I step up and try to hit it, instead of all this left-to-right wind I have to try and hold it and I'm scared of missing it right.
"It's, look, if I miss the fairway, I miss the fairway. I've done that plenty of times in my career. I'm going to be able to get it out. I just need to step up there and just be and if it doesn't work out then we'll just go hit it wherever it is."
Grounds tickets, Bear Trap tickets and other hospitality tickets and packages for the 2019 Honda Classic are on sale at thehondaclassic.com or by calling 1-844-8Honda8 (844-846-6328).