The Honda Classic took place from February 22-25 at PGA National Resort & Spa and its world-renowned Champion Course for the 12th straight year. The field consisted of 144 PGA TOUR professionals competing over 72 holes. The Honda Classic delivered a legendary field of pro golfers, which included, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Rickie Fowler, Jason Dufner, and more.
Propelled by the return of Tiger Woods, which fueled a massive turnout on Friday, and the drama of a Sunday playoff won by World No. 3 Justin Thomas, the 2018 Honda Classic shattered its attendance record. The PGA TOUR event attracted 224,642 confirmed spectators over seven days of perfect weather and tense competition spanning from the Monday Pro-Am to Sunday’s final round, a 10 percent increase over the 203,815 fans who attended in 2017.
The increase marked a third consecutive year of growth after the 2015 tournament was plagued by bad weather and drew 165,200. Attendance on Friday alone was up more than 20 percent. The modern-day attendance dwarfs the number of fans (83,500) who attended The Honda Classic in 2007 when it moved to PGA National Resort & Spa. The tournament broke the 100,000 barrier in 2010.
"Having Tiger Woods back in The Honda Classic competing against so many other great players led the way to another tremendous event highlighted by our local Champion in Justin Thomas," Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly said. "The energy level at the tournament was at an all-time high, and it was so rewarding to see everyone having such a great time.
Television Viewership Rises
The Honda Classic was televised on CBS, a change from the traditional NBC broadcast, due to the 2018 Winter Olympics. However, the television ratings soared. CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the PGA TOUR’s THE HONDA CLASSIC on Sunday, February 25, was the most-watched in six years averaging 4.0 million viewers, up 43% from last year. Palm Beach County is showcased world-wide as The Honda Classic was televised live on Golf Channel from February 22-24 in addition to the final round coverage on CBS.
Economic and Tourism Impact
Although the economic and tourism impact data is not finalized, The Honda Classic created a major economic boom for The Palm Beaches. In 2017, fans, media, sponsors, and the players generated nearly 8,000 hotel room nights, and more than $40 million of economic impact. 2018 numbers are expected to exceed 2017, due to the dramatic increase in attendance.
WEST PALM BEACH, FL – The Palm Beach County Sports Commission (PBCSC) announces 12 finalists for the 2018 Annual Sport Awards. 2018 Annual Award Winners include:
Coach of the Year
Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic University, Football
In his first season, Coach Lane Kiffin engineered one of the biggest turnarounds in the county. He lead the 11-3 Owls to eight more wins than in their previous 2016 season. The team won the Conference USA title for the first time.
Outstanding Sports Contributor
African American Golfers Hall of Fame
The African American Golfers Hall of Fame, Inc. (AAGHOF) was founded on April 26, 2004 in Palm Beach County Florida. Its mission is to celebrate and honor the history and achievements of Global Humanitarians and African Americans in the game of golf.
2018 Annual Award Finalists include:
Amateur Athlete of the Year
Lamar Jackson, Louisville, Football
The Boynton Beach High School graduate had an outstanding junior season for the Cardinals as a dual-threat quarterback. He completed 241-of-399 passes for a career high 3,489 yards, with 25 TDs and only 6 interceptions.
Alexa Pano, Lake Worth, Golf
One of the rising stars in the sport, Pano won the 2017 Drive, Chip & Putt Girls 12-13 Division champion. She is No. 21 in the AJGA Rankings and will compete at her first Wyndham Cup.
Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic University, Football
The Owls sophomore running back completed an outstanding season as he led the FBS (Division I) with 32 rushing TDs and 33 overall, the most in the NCAA. He also led the NCAA in scoring with 198 total points.
Andrews-Ceravolo High School Coach of the Year
Jude Blessington, Forrest Hill, Football
The program’s turnaround under Blessington continues. Forest Hill finished 8-1 and reached the playoffs, their first trip there in over 20 years.
Mark Boretti, Wellington, Girls Softball
Boretti took a young team, with just three seniors, all the way to their first state championship game in program history.
Frank Torre, Dwyer, Baseball
The longtime manager led Dwyer to their first appearance in the state Final Four in the program’s 26-year history. The Panthers finished 25-6, the most wins in school history.
High School Player of the Year (Female)
Ally Costa, Jupiter, Softball
Costa was dangerous whether she was on the mound or at the plate. As a pitcher, she finished with a 23-3 record, with a 0.95 ERA and 237 strikeouts. She also excelled at the plate, hitting .427 with five doubles, six triples and 22 RBIs while scoring 28 runs.
Madeline Furtado, The King’s Academy, Volleyball
Furtado led the lady Lions to an undefeated season in 2017, and was named the Sun Sentinel Volleyball Player of the Year for Small Schools in Palm Beach County.
LeeAnn Hewitt, Wellington, Weightlifting
Hewitt, after dominating the district and regional competitions, she won her second straight state title in the unlimited category in February, 2017, with a total of 505 pounds, becoming the first Palm Beach County athlete to win back-to-back championships in the sport.
High School Athlete of the Year (Male)
Akeem Dent, Palm Beach Central, Football
Dent racked up 57 tackles, averaging just over 8 per game for the Broncos. During one of his highlight games, Dent sealed a major victory for the Broncos against Seminole Ridge scoring two interceptions, a two-point conversion, and two touchdowns – one on offense and one on defense.
Trent Frazier, Wellington, Basketball
Frazier’s magical senior season included lots of accolades from around the county and the state. The 6-foot-1 lightning-quick guard led the Wolverines to the Class 9A state semifinals while averaging 27.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
Jarrett Jackson, Palm Beach Gardens, Football
Jackson played defense for Gardens High School, and recently participated in the 12th Annual 2017 Offense/Defense All-American Bowl. He was ranked among ESPN’s Top 30 Defensive Ends nationally, and is rated among Top 100 football players in Florida by Rivals, ESPN and 247 Sports.
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission partnered with American Twisters Gymnastics, and its dedicated events production company, USA Competitions, to host the 2018 Tim Rand Invitational at the Palm Beach County Convention Center on March 2-4, 2018. The Tim Rand Invitational, which is a top international competition that takes place annually in South Florida, consists of 1,500 gymnasts, 375 coaches and 3,500 spectators from 18 states across the United States and three (3) foreign countries. This invitational is sanctioned by USA Gymnastics and will feature gymnasts from the ages of 5 to 18 competing in skill levels 1 to 10, as well as Xcel and Elite.
The gymnasts competed in several events, which included floor exercise, balance beam, uneven bars and vault. The invitational allowed gymnasts one last "tune-up" prior to the Florida state championships. This meet was formed to honor Hall of Fame gymnastics coach Tim Rand, who died of a heart attack in 2007 at the age of 51 in Port St. Lucie. The invitational raised money for the Tim Rand Legends Fund benefitting coaches and athlete education in the southeast region of the United States.
One of the elements that makes the Tim Rand Invitational unique is the "Mall Table" that is available to gymnasts after their competition. During competition and the awards ceremony, gymnasts are awarded play money or "Twister Bucks" for many different occasions including: scores on each event, exceptional artistry, placement on each event, a no-fall routine, and more! Tim Rand started this tradition years ago and it continues to be one of the highlights of this competition. After the awards ceremony, gymnasts spend their "Twister Bucks" at the "Mall Table" and purchase kid-friendly toys, games, and more.
"The Tim Rand Invitational is one of the most fun and unique events in the country," says Shane Cummings, Coordinator of Business Development for USA Competitions. "Gymnasts have the opportunity to earn play money and spend that money at the ‘mall’ after the competition, which really encourages the athletes to fight for those stick landings!"
In March 2018, the Palm Beach College & International Baseball Festival will bring 28 Teams: 14-NCAA Division II, 4-Junior College Teams, 1-USCAA (Unites States Collegiate Athletic Association), 4-International (Canada, Bahamas, Russia, Puerto Rico), 4-Academies, and 1-Professional Independent. These team will compete against each other in what has the potential to become a premiere event in Palm Beach County. The Palm Beach College & International Baseball Festival is one of the few spring training college baseball events that takes place in Florida. The event attracts NCAA Division III and NJCAA collegiate baseball teams from across the nation. The teams travel during their spring break week to train and compete in officially sanctioned NCAA and NJCAA games. Additionally, the event has begun targeting and attracting International baseball academies.
The Palm Beach College & International Baseball Festival will be held March 8 – 29, 2018 at the Santaluces Athletic Complex in Lantana. At the beginning of each week, a new set of teams travel to Palm Beach County while other teams depart. Over 40 teams and more than 1,000 athletes will travel to Palm Beach County to participate. Each team will play between 5 and 12 games during their stay. The festival will feature approximately 130 total baseball games. This event is projected to generate more than 1,500 hotel room nights for Palm Beach County.
The American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) will bring its Girls Junior Championship to The Palm Beaches from March 28 – April 1, 2018. This event, which will take place on the Fazio Course at the PGA National Resort & Spa, will feature 78 golfers competing over 54 holes of stroke play. The tournament features golfers from the ages of 12 to 19.
The AJGA Girls Championship consists of one of the strongest fields of female golfers competing in AJGA tournaments. The highest ranked AJGA golfers are invited to play in this tournament.
The AJGA Girls Championship represents one of five AJGA tournaments taking place in Palm Beach County during the year. The AJGA Polo™ Golf Junior Classic, one of the premier amateur golf tournaments in the United States will take place at the PGA National Resort & Spa in November of 2018. The AJGA Preview at Osprey Point takes place from April 6-8. The AJGA Junior at the Seagate occurs on April 13-15 in Delray Beach. The AJGA Daniel Berger Championship will take place from June 3-7 at the Dye Preserve in Jupiter.
The AJGA is dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. Overall, the AJGA conducts more than 100 tournaments and 60 qualifiers around the country in a calendar year. The success of this organization is evident, considering that more than 300 AJGA alumni play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have earned more than 830 tour victories.