The PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, which benefits the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, will be honored at the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association’s 62nd annual National Awards Dinner on Tuesday, June 18, at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, N.Y. The award is presented to an individual or organization that promotes and supports the game of golf through commercial sponsorship of quality events.
Honda is the oldest continuous sponsor on the PGA TOUR. The tournament got its start in 1972 as Jackie Gleason’s Inverrary Classic and was played at Inverrary Country Club in Lauderhill, Fla., with Tom Weiskopf edging Jack Nicklaus by one shot to become the first champion.
When The Honda Classic moved six years ago to its current home at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., it quickly established a reputation as one of the PGA TOUR’S elite events on one of the most challenging and popular layouts in tournament golf. The tournament is played out at the Champions Course, an 18-hole layout redesigned by the Golden Bear in 1990. The Champion features “The Bear Trap,” which spans three demanding closing holes—Nos. 15, 16, and 17—and a trio USA Today calls “one of the toughest stretches in golf.”
The Honda Classic annually attracts a world-class field and March’s event was no different. Michael Thompson not only survived a field that included current and former No. 1s, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, but he withstood unseasonably cold and blustery conditions to take his first PGA TOUR victory. Thompson closed with a one-under 69, one of only five sub-70 rounds recorded in the final day on The Champion, to seal a two-stroke victory over Geoff Ogilvy (69).
Some of the other world-ranked golfers at this year’s Honda Classic, included: Louis Oosthuizen (then No. 5); Justin Rose (No. 6); Lee Westwood (No. 8); Charl Schwartzel (No. 11); Jason Dufner (No. 12); Keegan Bradley (No. 15); Graeme McDowell (No. 19); Peter Hanson (No. 20); Ernie Els (No. 22); Bo Van Pelt (No. 24); Martin Kaymer (No. 28 and former World No. 1); Branden Grace (No. 31); Rickie Fowler (No. 34); and Robert Garrigus (No. 38).
Since its inception, The Honda Classic has contributed close to $24 million to national and local charities, including the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation as its primary beneficiary. Barbara and Gary Nicklaus serve as Co-Chairpersons on the Board of Directors of the children’s healthcare charity.
The Bing Crosby Tournament Sponsor Award was established by the MGWA in 1978. Former recipients include: Rolex Watch, USA; Phoenix Thunderbirds; Cadillac; Metropolitan Life; Bob Hope; McDonald’s; LPGA Corning Classic; Yogi Berra; Shell Oil; Western Golf Association; Arnold Palmer (Bay Hill Classic); Ken Venturi; and Jack Nicklaus (Memorial Tournament).
The MGWA’s National Awards Dinner is the longest running and one of the largest golf awards dinners held annually in the U.S. All of golf’s governing bodies actively support the dinner—the USGA, PGA of America, LPGA, PGA TOUR and Champions Tour—and some 500-600 industry leaders, local golfers and golf groups attend. Proceeds from the dinner are distributed to the caddie scholarship programs of Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester-Fairfield, and the MGA Foundation. More than $1.3 million has been raised over the years for the association’s charitable endeavors.
For additional information about the MGWA and its National Awards Dinner, visit