A Guest Post:
The 2013 Honda Classic gets underway in Florida this Thursday and once again the standard of Rory McIlroy’s golf is high on the agenda.
The world number one, favourite in many of the year’s golf betting odds, and defending champion at Palm Beach Gardens has caused a real stir at the start of this season with his much-hyped transfer from Titleist to Nike, a move that has meant adapting to a new set of clubs and balls.
On an elite level a change in playing equipment is huge and McIlroy has so far struggled to tame his new Nike driver, missing the cut with his set in Abu Dhabi before losing his opening round of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship a fortnight back.
Yet his slump in form is unlikely to deter gold fans on Bet365 looking at the latest golf odds from siding with McIlroy against main rival Tiger Woods, who won the Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines last month.
Both men will draw the most attention in Florida over this weekend and are expected to make a solid start on Day One this Thursday. McIlroy pairs off with Ernie Els and Mark Wilson just after midday, while Woods has an early-morning start alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer – both of whom have a great chance of claiming the top prize.
Although both McIlroy and Woods will draw most attention, fans shouldn’t forget the other guys capable of winning this title. Els himself took it in 2008 and Wilson in 2007, meaning one of McIlroy’s Day One trio has a good statistical chance of winning; while top rookie Russell Henley already has a title to his name this season.
2011 champion Rory Sabbatini should not be considered for a top-four finish, nor Justin Leonard who – although boasting a record -23 winning score in 2003 – is yet to finish within a tournament top-30 this season.
Whoever comes out on top, the 2013 Honda Classic should live up to its name this weekend. McIlroy has a tough task ahead while Woods can only improve, with a host of talent behind them determined to claim glory for themselves.