Jack Nicklaus: Honda Classic will be in more favorable spot on PGA Tour schedule next year

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Craig Dolch, Special to The Post and Tom D’Angelo, Palm Beach Post
·2 min read
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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Jack Nicklaus is hoping the Honda Classic’s one-year run as the final stop on the Florida Swing is over.

The legendary golfer, whose charity is the primary beneficiary of the Honda Classic, made it clear Sunday he does not believe the tournament is in a good spot coming between the Players Championship and a World Golf Championship event.

“No, that won’t work out,” he said when asked if remaining in the spot is good for Honda. “I think that’s going to be changed next year.

“It will be different on the schedule; I think the Tour schedule will be different. I think it will be much better for the Honda tournament, I think they’ll have a good field.”

According to Honda officials, a change in the schedule is in discussion.

Honda was moved forward three weeks in the schedule this year into the spot previously held by the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida. The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, is next week. Valspar was moved to late April.

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The Honda field has suffered this year, much of it out of the tournament’s control. Along with being in a tough spot in the schedule, local favorites Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger and Gary Woodland could not play because of injury or illness.

And Honda was hurt by locals Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay — all ranked in the top 11 in world – taking off the week, despite living within about a 20-minute drive of PGA National.

Nicklaus was asked if he felt pressure during his Hall of Fame career to play in certain tournaments.

“You always had that pressure,” he said. “Out of maybe 40 tournaments, I played usually 18 or 20. Some tournaments you’re never going to go to just because it just doesn’t work. You got some you’d like to work in. I’d used to try to take two or three every year I hadn’t played and tried to work that into the calendar.”