Restaurants and businesses expect a boost from Tiger Woods appearance at the Honda Classic

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - The question of when Tiger Woods will play a pro golf event in Palm Beach County has been answered.

Woods pledged Tuesday to play in the Honda Classic on March 1 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.

To a bartender like Vinny Chimato, this year's Honda Classic is starting to feel like a second New Year's Eve celebration.

"There's been nights when I work downtown on an event night where you would make 200 percent what you normally make," said Chimato.

He can't wait for crowds of out-of-towners who are hungry to see Tiger Woods on the golf course to get hungry themselves, and hopefully stop at Water Bar.

Chimato said big nights determine whether he's able to save money.

"With Tiger coming to town, I'm going to bank (money)," said Chimato. "I'll be saving that up for a nice little vacation once summertime comes."

Water Bar's owner says the Honda Classic ordinarily brings a thirty percent increase in business.

And research has shown that Tiger's mere presence can increase attendance at a PGA event by 25 percent.

That means more opportunity for restaurants to offset slower summer months.

"This is the time you have to make hay. This is the time you have to make it to take care of yourself in the summer," said owner John Spoto.

For five years, David Huntoon, has volunteered at the Honda Classic to work concessions.

He expects sales at this event to make their weekend busy as ever.

"Been waiting for Tiger to come play. Everybody's been talking about it," said Huntoon. "Every year it's a topic of conversation."

Local golf legend Jack Nicklaus said he is delighted that Tiger will play in Palm Beach County.

"I appreciate that he acknowledged the efforts of our family and the tournament to help area charities, particularly those aimed at children's health care," said Nicklaus. "We are happy that was a motivating factor in his decision."

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