Bunker Mentality

Five things we learned from the Honda Classic

Bunker Mentality

Let's be honest, we're all incredibly busy. Nobody has time to sit down and watch four rounds five days worth of match play coverage - unless, of course, you watch TV for a living, and if that's the case, please email us your number. So in an effort to condense the tournament coverage for you into a few quick hits, here are five things we learned from the Honda Classic.

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Rory McIlroy and his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald

Rory McIlroy is the new king of golf — We knew McIlroy would eventually pass Luke Donald and take over the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, but I'm not sure many expected the 22-year-old to make it a reality just one week after he failed to close out Hunter Mahan at the Accenture Match Play final. Playing against on of the best fields in the world, McIlroy looked calm, cool and collected on Sunday with Tiger Woods only a couple shots back of the lead. It was the kind of performance you expected to see from golf's new king. With his confidence at an all-time high, it seems like McIlroy finally has the belief in himself that when he's holding a lead in the final round, he's unbeatable. That's bad news for his competition.

Tiger Woods is back ... for at least one week — Rory McIlroy stole the show at the Honda Classic, but a certain 36-year-old, former No. 1 tried his best to upstage the kid's coronation with a red-hot 62 on Sunday afternoon. We haven't seen a round like that from Tiger Woods in a while -- especially the closing stretch that saw him finish birdie-eagle and post 10-under for the tournament. It's easy to look at the round and proclaim that Tiger's back. But is that really the case? Throw out the 62 (tied for the lowest round of Woods' career) and you have a mixed bag of errant iron shots and missed putts. The good news is his game seemed to improve every round, and that's always a positive going forward. But the fact of the matter is Woods has been known to throw up a great round and regress, so at this point, we'd be inclined to play the wait and see game before starting the "Tiger's back" talk. Plus, the guy still hasn't won an official tournament since 2009.

The Honda Classic has officially passed Bay Hill as the top tour stop on the Florida Swing — Arnie's tournament will always hold a special place for plenty of players, but after watching what transpired at the Honda over the weekend, it's clear there's a new sheriff in town. With Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in the field, plus a host of other big names, you can't help but notice there's a Florida Swing power shift going on. It used to be that Bay Hill drew the best field of the four events in the Sunshine State, but as players continue to migrate to Jupiter, Fla., expect to see the Honda field get even better in the future. Once a mid-level event, the tournament at the Champion Course at PGA National is quickly turning into a must-play event.

PGA National is toothless when the wind isn't blowing — PGA National is continually ranked as one of the most difficult stops on the tour schedule each year ... when the wind is blowing. The wind failed to show up for the first three days, as Brian Harman (61) shattered the course record on Friday, and countless other players in the field -- including Tiger Woods -- posted rounds in the low 60's. Even wind gusts upwards of 30 mph early in the final round failed to deter the field from tearing the Champions Course apart. This was only the second time since the the tournament moved sites, in 2007, that the winner posted a double-digit score under par.

Plenty of big names made a move on Sunday — Tiger Woods wasn't the only notable name making a Sunday charge. World No. 3 Lee Westwood fired a salty 7-under 63 that was overshadowed by Woods' 62; and Rickie Fowler posted his best round, and finish (T-7), of the season on Sunday with a 4-under 66. Not bad for two guys who are still looking for their first major championship.

Jonathan Wall, Yahoo! Sports

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