PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Later this month, some of the world's best golfers will once again be competing in Palm Beach Gardens at the Cognizant Classic.
The event, formally known as the Honda Classic, will have a complete face-lift, featuring eight previous winners and a $9 million purse.
"As with everything, there is always an evolution. Change is inevitable," Joie Chitwood, Cognizant Classic interim executive director, said. "We really thank Honda for their years of support. What a great partner in terms of what they've done for the tournament and for the community."
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The tournament's evolution was embodied by Chris Kirk, the 2023 tournament champion.
"I had been away from winning at the PGA Tour, and you start to doubt if you can really ever do it again," Kirk said.
Kirk needed extra holes against one of the sport's top newcomers — Eric Cole of Delray Beach — to secure his first PGA win in eight years.
"It's always just such a great test," Kirk said. "You got to have every aspect of the game and really be a complete player that week."
Kirk and seven previous tournament winners like Fowler and McIlroy will tee off at the Cognizant Classic on Feb. 29, competing for a $1.6 million first-place prize.
Chitwood said the name change won't be the only difference fans will see at PGA National.
"We've decided to change the 10th hole from a par-4 to par-5," Chitwood said. "It gives the players a chance to maybe get a better score before they're challenged by the Bear Trap."
With so much to expect this year and top talent returning to the tee, last year's champion said he's ready to defend his crown.
"It's an amazing atmosphere," Kirk said. "Obviously, it's one of the most difficult courses that we play all year. It's a true test of every aspect of every game, so it makes you feel great to be able to play well there, much less to be able to win at PGA National."