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5 memorable Honda Classic moments

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Rory McIlroy tees off on 13th hole during final round of 2012 Honda Classic
Posted at 9:11 AM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 09:11:29-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — As another Honda Classic is set to tee off this week, takes a look back at five of the most memorable moments since the tournament moved to Palm Beach Gardens in 2003.

Tiger Woods, y'all

Tiger Woods waits to putt on 10th hole in final round of 2012 Honda Classic
Tiger Woods waits to putt on the 10th hole during the final round of the Honda Classic golf tournament Sunday, March 4, 2012, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Tiger Woods made his debut appearance in the Honda Classic for the first time as a professional golfer in 2012. It was his first time playing in the PGA Tour event since receiving a sponsor's invitation as a 17-year-old amateur in 1993, when the tournament was held in Weston. Woods ended up finishing 10-under par and tied with Tom Gillis for second.

No putter necessary

The 2012 Honda Classic also produced arguably the greatest hole-in-one in tournament history. In the final round, Charles Howell III hit a 192-yard tee shot at the par-3 seventh hole for an ace. Howell ultimately finished tied for 26th, far from within reach of a third PGA Tour win. Headed into the tournament, Howell only had two wins since joining the tour in 1996. His elusive third win came in the 2018 RSM Classic, more than a decade after winning the 2007 Nissan Open.

Rory wins the Honda … and finds a home

Rory McIlroy holds trophy after winning 2012 Honda Classic
Rory McIlroy holds the trophy after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament Sunday, March 4, 2012, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. McIlroy became the top-ranked golfer in the world.

A victory in the 2012 Honda Classic propelled Rory McIlroy to No. 1 in the official world golf rankings. McIlroy carded a final round of 1-under 69 to finish 12-under 268, holding off Woods and Gillis by two strokes. The 22-year-old became the youngest golfer to win the Honda Classic and the second-youngest player to achieve the top spot in the world rankings. Only Woods was younger, moving into the No. 1 position in 1997 at the age of 21. Later that year, McIlroy purchased a home in Palm Beach Gardens.

Twice as nice for Padraig

Padraig Harrington holds 2015 Honda Classic trophy
Padraig Harrington poses for photographers after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament on the second playoff hole against Daniel Berger, Monday, March 2, 2015, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

A decade after notching his first PGA Tour victory at the Honda Classic, Padraig Harrington did it again in 2015. Vijay Singh missed a 21/2-foot putt in 2005 to lose a playoff with Harrington, who erased a seven-shot deficit with a nine-under 63. Harrington ended an almost seven-year winless drought dating to the 2008 PGA Championship when he hoisted the Honda Classic trophy again in 2015, defeating Jupiter's Daniel Berger on the second hole of a playoff in the storm-delayed tournament. Harrington was more than twice as old as the then-21-year-old Berger, whose tee shot on 17 went into the water. To this date, Harrington remains just the fourth two-time winner of the Honda Classic (joining Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Mark Calcavecchia) and the only two-time champion since the tournament moved to Palm Beach Gardens.

Rickie don't lose that number

Rickie Fowler holds 2017 Honda Classic trophy
Rickie Fowler holds the trophy after winning the Honda Classic golf tournament, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Jupiter resident Rickie Fowler won the 2017 Honda Classic. With his lead cut to one on the back nine in the final round, Fowler's birdie putts at the 12th and 13th holes helped him regain control and ultimately claim a four-stroke victory. His fourth PGA Tour win propelled him back into the top 10 in the world golf rankings.