Written by Breck Hapner
From a fan’s perspective, what could possibly be better than a philanthropic event loaded with professional golf superstars, amenities and celebrities?
The answer is a golf-related altruistic spectacle, more specifically The Honda Classic PGA Tour event, scheduled Feb. 19-25 at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens.
Known as a very hot ticket for those interested in professional golf, The Honda Classic is undoubtedly more famous for its contributions to 133 local organizations benefiting children, with amounts surpassing more than $3.6 million last year.
Although it is quite true the event provides attendees with innumerable perks while enjoying a world-class playing field, the real mission is inextricably tied to fundraising and helping those in need. With title sponsor American Honda Motor Co., Inc, Founders Club supporters Tire Kingdom and United Technologies work with more than 200 other community-minded local
sponsors to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of childhood diseases and
“Philanthropy is of critical importance, and each year we seek to raise the bar from a charitable aspect,” Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly said. “We are able to improve the lives of more children with the help of our partners, sponsors and fans who support the tournament.”
Since its inception 36 years ago, The Honda Classic has given more than $35 million to South Florida children’s charities, including more than $20 million in the 11 years since Children’s Healthcare Charity, Inc. began hosting the event.
Of course, the Champion Course’s designer, Jack Nicklaus, is still a powerful presence. The top beneficiary is the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which received a second- consecutive individual grant of $1 million in 2017 designated for the nearby Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
This year, over 200,000 spectators are expected to view the player’s field at the PGA National Resort & Spa, with upscale ticket holders situated at the Legend’s Club at Nicklaus Village, offering lounges, food, drink, a full-service bar, wine garden and military appreciation area. Vying for a $6.6 million purse, 144 professional golfers will engage in 72-hole stroke play against defending champion Rickie Fowler. Challengers include Justin Thomas, 2012 Honda champion Rory Mcllroy, reigning masters champion Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrell Hatton, Alex Noren, and Brian Harman.
In addition to the excitement provided by the tournament, the Honda Classic is also committed to enhancing each fan’s experience by providing family-orientated attractions. The Michelob Ultra Terrace and After Play Concert Series will feature music performances Thursday Feb. 21 through Saturday, Feb. 24 against a sparkling evening backdrop of fireworks. Between noon and 8 p.m. Saturday, sponsor Tire Kingdom will present Family Day, offering interactive games, contests and activities for kids.
“Our spectator base has grown significantly, and we want attendees and their families to feel at home, enjoying the fun and energy present around the great game of golf,” Kennerly said. “The community has embraced the Honda Classic, and for us, it’s all about giving back.”