PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Jack Nicklaus is confident the rebranded Honda Classic is ready to make a comeback.
Nicklaus said Sunday the PGA Tour will make significant changes to the 2024 schedule, helping the tournament. Honda’s fields have suffered in recent years because of its spot in the schedule. The event will be under a new title sponsor in 2024.
According to Nicklaus, an event in Mexico will be played between the Genesis Invitational and new Honda Classic. Additionally, the Pebble Beach Pro-Am will replace the WM Phoenix Open as a designated event in 2024 meaning just one event with a $20 million purse will be played the three weeks prior to Honda.
“The tournament’s going to be just fine,” Nicklaus said. “The tournament’s just fine anyway. Look at how this town has supported this event without having a great field. They stayed with it, supported it. I think they’ve done great.
“Are we a major market? No. And we handle it charity wise like a major market and the tour considers us very important.”
The Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation has been the primary charitable beneficiary of the tournament since 2007.
With the tour increasing the purses of the two events prior to and following Honda this year, the tournament had its weakest field since moving to PGA National in 2007. Honda’s purse is $8.4 million.
The biggest issue with locals is the number of world-class golfers living in the area who regularly skip the tournament. Nicklaus said he never has and never will appeal to locals to play the event.
“I don’t do that I never have,” he said. “I’ve never done it for the Memorial Tournament. I’ve never done it for any tournament. I didn’t like it when people did it to me. If you’re not to play your going to play. If you’re not going to play, you’re not going to play.”