Honda Classic Winners and History

The Honda ClassicThe Honda Classic was founded in 1972 as Jackie Gleasons’ Inverrary Classic. Gleason was a marquee name, a staple of the television variety shows of the time, and best remembered today as bus driver Ralph Cramden in The Honeymooners tv series and Minnesota Fats in the Paul Newman movie, The Hustler. His was one of a number of celebrity hosted tournaments, including the Crosby Clambake (now the AT&T National Pro Am), the Bob Hope, and the Glenn Campbell (now the Northern Trust).

American Motors served as title sponsor for one year (1981). In 1982, Honda began its long-running sponsorship of the tournament.

The Gleason was originally held at the Inverrary Golf Club in Lauderhill, Florida. In 1984, it moved to the TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs, Florida. From 1992 to 1995, it was held at the Weston Hills Golf and Country Club, then it was back to Eagle Trace for one year (1996). The TPC at Heron Bay hosted from 1997 to 2002. In 2003, the event moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, first at the Country Club at Mirasol through 2006, then starting in 2007 at PGA National Resort and Spa’s Champion Course. The move to PGA National was apparently in part an effort to attract more top players. That course is well regarded on Tour.

As of 2007 the tournament’s main beneficiary is the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which is chaired by Barbara Nicklaus, wife of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus. Having the Nicklaus name attached to a tournament also can’t hurt.

Three men were multiple winners at the Honda:

Jack Nicklaus: 1977, 1978
Johnny Miller: 1980, 1983
Mark Calcavecchia: 1987, 1998

Nicklaus won three if you count his 1976 victory at the Players Championship which was held at the Jackie Gleason site at Inverrary.

Low round scores are held by Dan Pohl (1989), Hale Irwin (1979), Tim Herron (1996) and Jerry Kelly (2003)—all at 62.

Justin Leonard in 2003 holds the low 72 hole score at 264.

A list of Honda Classic winners follows.

Honda Classic Winners
YearPlayerCountryScoreTo par1st Prize ($)Purse ($)
The Honda Classic
2015Pádraig Harrington (2)Ireland274-61,098,0006,100,000
2014Russell HenleyUS272-91,080,0006,000,000
2014Russell HenleyUS272-91,080,0006,000,000
2012Rory McIlroyIreland268-1210260005,700,000
2013Michael ThompsonUS271-910260005,700,000
2010Camilo VillegasColombia267-131,008,0005,600,000
2009Y.E. YangSouth Korea271-91,008,0005,600,000
2008Ernie ElsSouth Africa274-6990,0005,500,000
2007Mark WilsonUnited States275-5990,0005,500,000
2006Luke DonaldEngland276-12990,0005,500,000
2005Pádraig HarringtonIreland274-14990,0005,500,000
2004Todd HamiltonUnited States276-12900,0005,000,000
2003Justin LeonardUnited States264-24900,0005,000,000
2002Matt KucharUnited States269-19630,0003,500,000
Honda Classic
2001Jesper ParnevikSweden270-18576,0003,200,000
2000Dudley HartUnited States269-19522,0002,900,000
1999Vijay SinghFiji277-11468,0002,600,000
1998Mark CalcavecchiaUnited States270-18324,0001,800,000
1997Stuart ApplebyAustralia274-14270,0001,500,000
1996Tim HerronUnited States271-17234,0001,300,000
1995Mark O’MearaUnited States275-9216,0001,200,000
1994Nick PriceZimbabwe276-8198,0001,100,000
1993Fred CouplesUnited States207*-9198,0001,100,000
1992Corey PavinUnited States273-15198,0001,100,000
1991Steve PateUnited States279-9180,0001,000,000
1990John HustonUnited States282-6180,0001,000,000
1989Blaine McCallisterUnited States266-22144,000800,000
1988Joey SindelarUnited States276-12126,000700,000
1987Mark CalcavecchiaUnited States279-9108,000600,000
1986Kenny KnoxUnited States287-190,000500,000
1985Curtis StrangeUnited States275-1390,000500,000
1984Bruce LietzkeUnited States280-890,000500,000
Honda Inverrary Classic
1983Johnny MillerUnited States278-1072,000400,000
1982Hale IrwinUnited States269-1972,000400,000
American Motors Inverrary Classic
1981Tom KiteUnited States274-1454,000300,000
Jackie Gleason-Inverrary Classic
1980Johnny MillerUnited States274-1454,000300,000
1979Larry NelsonUnited States274-1454,000300,000
1978Jack NicklausUnited States276-1250,000250,000
1977Jack NicklausUnited States275-1350,000250,000
1976No tournament. Inverrary Golf Club hosts The Players Championship. See below:
1976Jack NicklausUnited States269-19$60,000
1975Bob MurphyUnited States273-1552,000260,000
1974Leonard ThompsonUnited States278-1052,000260,000
Jackie Gleason Inverrary-National Airlines Classic
1973Lee TrevinoUnited States279-952,000260,000
Jackie Gleason’s Inverrary Classic
1972Tom WeiskopfUnited States278-1052,000260,000

2 thoughts on “Honda Classic Winners and History

  1. It’s hard to believe this tournament hasn’t been able to attract the big names in recent years. Especially given the history and the calibre of previous winners including Nicklaus, Miller, Els, Singh and Couples to name just a few.

    No doubt the organisers will be pleased to have both McIlroy and Woods on show this week.

    I’m looking forward to it.

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