For many sports fans, March is reserved for college basketball “madness.” This year, Florida sports fans will have a nearly month-long alternative. From Feb. 28 to March 24, the world’s best professional golfers will be on display for the PGA TOUR’s annual “Florida Swing.”
It will be more robust than in recent years, as the TOUR’s revamped schedule now includes four consecutive Florida events for the first time since 2016. For those interested in attending one or more of these events, the time to start planning is now.
Stop 1: The Honda Classic
- PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
- February 28 – March 3
- The opening leg of the Florida Swing is expected to be one of the deepest fields of the early 2018-2019 PGA TOUR season. World No. 2 and 3-time major champion, Brooks Koepka, recently committed to the event. The three-time All-American at Florida State University is one of only seven men to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles. Koepka is expected to be joined by defending Honda Classic Champion, Justin Thomas, and south Florida native, Rickie Fowler.
Stop 2: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
- Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, FL
- March 7 – March 10
- Arnold Palmer’s legacy lives on at one of the premiere events on the PGA TOUR schedule. Players will not only play for one of the largest checks ($1.6 million) of any non-major championship or WGC event, but the winner will also don the famous red cardigan sweater, an Arnold Palmer staple. Tiger Woods, whose eight victories at Bay Hill ties only Sam Snead for the most at any one event in PGA TOUR history, officially committed to the event last week while playing in the WGC-Mexico Championship. Phil Mickelson, who has not appeared at Arnie’s place since 2013 has also committed to the event along with Brooks Koepka. Rory McIlroy, the 2018 champion, will try to defend his title.
Stop 3: The Players Championship
- TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
- March 14 – March 17
- Often referred to as golf’s fifth major, The Players Championship returns in March for the first time since 2007. One of golf’s toughest tests will be taken on by one of golf’s deepest fields. With an ambiance unlike any other, the famed island green at the 17th hole typically leads to one of the most dramatic finishes in the sport. In the last 25 years, only Tiger Woods has won the event more than once. In doing so, Woods joined just five others as the only men to win more than once since the tournament’s inception in 1974. The defending champion is 2012 U.S. Open winner, Webb Simpson.
Stop 4: Valspar Championship
- Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead), Palm Harbor, FL
- March 21 – March 24
- Copperhead has always been one of the TOUR’s most respected courses, however, coming off the heels of The Players Championship will be a new challenge. A staple on the Florida Swing since 2007, another challenge for Valspar is that it now precedes the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, which begins on March 27. With the Masters just weeks away, many top players may be looking for some much-needed time off. Last year, Paul Casey emerged victorious over a hard-charging Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed. Jordan Spieth, who has been struggling early in the 2018-2019 season, won in 2015.