The Honda Classic took place from February 22-25 at PGA National Resort & Spa and its world-renowned Champion Course for the 12th straight year. The field consisted of 144 PGA TOUR professionals competing over 72 holes. The Honda Classic delivered a legendary field of pro golfers, which included, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Rickie Fowler, Jason Dufner, and more.
Propelled by the return of Tiger Woods, which fueled a massive turnout on Friday, and the drama of a Sunday playoff won by World No. 3 Justin Thomas, the 2018 Honda Classic shattered its attendance record. The PGA TOUR event attracted 224,642 confirmed spectators over seven days of perfect weather and tense competition spanning from the Monday Pro-Am to Sunday’s final round, a 10 percent increase over the 203,815 fans who attended in 2017.
The increase marked a third consecutive year of growth after the 2015 tournament was plagued by bad weather and drew 165,200. Attendance on Friday alone was up more than 20 percent. The modern-day attendance dwarfs the number of fans (83,500) who attended The Honda Classic in 2007 when it moved to PGA National Resort & Spa. The tournament broke the 100,000 barrier in 2010.
"Having Tiger Woods back in The Honda Classic competing against so many other great players led the way to another tremendous event highlighted by our local Champion in Justin Thomas," Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly said. "The energy level at the tournament was at an all-time high, and it was so rewarding to see everyone having such a great time.
Television Viewership Rises
The Honda Classic was televised on CBS, a change from the traditional NBC broadcast, due to the 2018 Winter Olympics. However, the television ratings soared. CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the PGA TOUR’s THE HONDA CLASSIC on Sunday, February 25, was the most-watched in six years averaging 4.0 million viewers, up 43% from last year. Palm Beach County is showcased world-wide as The Honda Classic was televised live on Golf Channel from February 22-24 in addition to the final round coverage on CBS.
Economic and Tourism Impact
Although the economic and tourism impact data is not finalized, The Honda Classic created a major economic boom for The Palm Beaches. In 2017, fans, media, sponsors, and the players generated nearly 8,000 hotel room nights, and more than $40 million of economic impact. 2018 numbers are expected to exceed 2017, due to the dramatic increase in attendance.
Palm Beach County is the Major League Baseball (MLB) Spring Training capital of Florida and will be home to four (4) of the 15 teams that compete in Florida’s Grapefruit League. During the MLB spring training baseball season, the World Series Champion Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals will occupy The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach while the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals will play baseball at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter.
The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches will open its second spring training season when the Houston Astros begin the defense of their world title against the Washington Nationals on February 23rd. After the Astros and Nationals open their stadium, both teams will welcome a variety of contenders during the 2018 spring training season, these teams include the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals. Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium also swings into action with its very own St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins playing on opening day, February 23rd. Perennial baseball powers, such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, and the World Champion Houston Astros will play at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium during the upcoming spring training season.
MLB Spring Training is a giant contributor to the local economy. Last year, The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium attracted 297,726 spectators during the spring training season. Major League Baseball Spring Training has become one of the most massive economic and tourism generators for Florida. For the 15th time in 18 years, Florida Spring Training Baseball total attendance surpassed the 1.5 million mark. Over the course of those 18 years, since 2000, over 28 million fans have attended Major League Baseball Spring Training Games in the State of Florida.
The annual tradition of Spring Training began in 1888 when the Washington Statesmen traveled to Jacksonville to work out in the "off-season." Since that time, the "off-season" workouts evolved into one of the greatest traditions and spectacles for sports in the United States.
Enjoy Spring Training Baseball in The Palm Beaches. Secure your tickets now by visiting rogerdeanchevroletstadium.com and ballparkpalmbeaches.com
Bernhard Langer and John Daly – the most dominant and perhaps the most popular players on the PGA TOUR Champions, respectively – have committed to play in the Boca Raton Championship presented by Sallyport at Broken Sound on Feb. 5-11.
Langer, a Hall of Famer from Boca Raton who serves as the unofficial host of the tournament, won a career-best seven times in 2017, including three majors, to earn his fourth consecutive Jack Nicklaus Award, given annually to the Player of the Year. The 60-year-old Langer has led the tour in earnings in nine of his 10 full seasons on the 50-and-older circuit and is second in career wins (36) to Hale Irwin’s 45.
"This has always been one of my favorite weeks of the year," said Langer, who won the Boca Raton Championship in 2010 when he made eagle from a greenside bunker to beat John Cook in a playoff.
"To have my family and friends come out to see me play is not something I take lightly. It’s a great tournament and the players love playing at Broken Sound."
Daly, who rose from obscurity as the ninth alternate to win the 1991 PGA Championship, has one of the most loyal fan bases in golf. The two-time major champion broke a 13-year victory drought when he won the Insperity Championship last May. Daly added two more top-10 finishes last year to earn more than $800,000 despite having to withdraw from two events late in the season with a knee injury. He made his debut at Broken Sound last year, drawing large galleries.
"It always feels great to win," Daly said. "It was probably the most I have been hurt in a year, starting with my shoulder and then with my knee. To finish the way I did – 14th on the Charles Schwab Cup standings – was pretty neat."
Last year’s tournament had arguably the best field in PGA TOUR Champions history, and tournament director Eddie Carbone sees a similar result for the first full-field event on the PGA TOUR Champions’ schedule.
"Year-after-year the field for the Boca Raton Championship, consistently stacks up as one of the best during the season," said Carbone. "We are thrilled to bring these high caliber players to the Palm Beaches and put on this exciting tournament in Boca Raton." Langer and Daly join a list of commitments that already includes defending champion Scott McCarron, reigning Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland and international stars Colin Montgomerie of Scotland and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain.
Other commitments: PGA TOUR Champions Rookie of the Year Jerry Kelly, a former South Florida resident, and former major champions David Toms, Tom Lehman, Corey Pavin, Mark Calcavecchia, Mark Brooks, Lee Janzen, Sandy Lyle, Larry Mize, Tom Kite, Scott Simpson, Jeff Sluman and Ian Woosnam.
The Boca Raton Championship presented by Sallyport has an estimated annual economic impact of almost $20 million for Boca Raton and the Palm Beaches and has raised more than $1 million for the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation.
For more information about the Boca Raton Championship, premium ticket packages or corporate sponsorships, call 561-241- GOLF (4653) or visit www.bocaratonchampionship.com.
In March 2018, the Palm Beach College & International Baseball Festival will bring 28 Teams: 14-NCAA Division II, 4-Junior College Teams, 1-USCAA (Unites States Collegiate Athletic Association), 4-International (Canada, Bahamas, Russia, Puerto Rico), 4-Academies, and 1-Professional Independent. These team will compete against each other in what has the potential to become a premiere event in Palm Beach County. The Palm Beach College & International Baseball Festival is one of the few spring training college baseball events that takes place in Florida. The event attracts NCAA Division III and NJCAA collegiate baseball teams from across the nation. The teams travel during their spring break week to train and compete in officially sanctioned NCAA and NJCAA games. Additionally, the event has begun targeting and attracting International baseball academies.
The Palm Beach College & International Baseball Festival will be held March 8 – 29, 2018 at the Santaluces Athletic Complex in Lantana. At the beginning of each week, a new set of teams travel to Palm Beach County while other teams depart. Over 40 teams and more than 1,000 athletes will travel to Palm Beach County to participate. Each team will play between 5 and 12 games during their stay. The festival will feature approximately 130 total baseball games. This event is projected to generate more than 1,500 hotel room nights for Palm Beach County.
The American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) will bring its Girls Junior Championship to The Palm Beaches from March 28 – April 1, 2018. This event, which will take place on the Fazio Course at the PGA National Resort & Spa, will feature 78 golfers competing over 54 holes of stroke play. The tournament features golfers from the ages of 12 to 19.
The AJGA Girls Championship consists of one of the strongest fields of female golfers competing in AJGA tournaments. The highest ranked AJGA golfers are invited to play in this tournament.
The AJGA Girls Championship represents one of five AJGA tournaments taking place in Palm Beach County during the year. The AJGA Polo™ Golf Junior Classic, one of the premier amateur golf tournaments in the United States will take place at the PGA National Resort & Spa in November of 2018. The AJGA Preview at Osprey Point takes place from April 6-8. The AJGA Junior at the Seagate occurs on April 13-15 in Delray Beach. The AJGA Daniel Berger Championship will take place from June 3-7 at the Dye Preserve in Jupiter.
The AJGA is dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. Overall, the AJGA conducts more than 100 tournaments and 60 qualifiers around the country in a calendar year. The success of this organization is evident, considering that more than 300 AJGA alumni play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have earned more than 830 tour victories.