PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The Honda Classic is not going anywhere.
No longer will it be the Honda Classic following this year’s event that starts Feb. 23 at PGA National. But there will be a classic. What’s it is called is still being negotiated.
“The (PGA) tour has no interest in dropping us off the schedule,” executive director Andrew George said.
“We’re really excited about what ’24 and beyond is going to look like. The excitement of a new title (sponsor)and 42 years of building blocks (with Honda) and now let’s take it up a notch again.”
Because Honda Motors is ending the longest uninterrupted title sponsorship deal for a PGA Tour event following this year’s tournament, it does not mean the event will vanish.
Could it be moved in the schedule to give the tournament a more desirable spot that would boost the field? Yes. In fact, that is very likely in the future.
Early commits: Top 20 players, five past champions in 2023 Honda field
Moving it, or loosening the schedule around Honda, is essential. The PGA Tour designating it as an elevated event with a $20 million purse would be a major boost and result in a field we have not seen here since the 1987 PGA Championship was held on the same course.
But that also means we could have a future PGA Tour event in our area anywhere from-mid January to mid-April.
The one certainty is when the 2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport is floated in the lake by the 18th green this week, it will be the last time a Honda sits atop that glistening water.
Tour working every day to find sponsor
The PGA Tour, George’s staff, the Honda Classic board and Jack and Barbara Nicklaus – the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation has been the primary charitable beneficiary of the tournament since 2007 – are working toward signing a new title sponsor.
Those talks started before it was announced about three months ago that Honda was ending its contract.
“I think it’s a point of comfort for us knowing there’s a group at the PGA Tour that just focuses on time and sponsorship,” George said. “They wake up every day thinking about how are we going to replace the Honda Classic. Immediately they started with a great list.”
George said 40 to 50 companies were on the original list and that number has been narrowed to about five. While the tournament has struggled with attracting strong fields in recent years mainly because of where is falls in the PGA Tour schedule, the event still remains one the tour…
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