Honda Classic Features Field Full of Stars: A Fan’s Look

The Honda Classic tees off on Thursday, March 1. The 2012 edition of the tournament features of the best fields in the history of the event. A number of highly ranked stars, past major winners, and former Honda Classic champions should make this one of the most exciting events so far this season. As a golf fan, there is plenty for me to like in this tournament.

Here is a look at the impressive field at the Honda Classic:

The three heavy hitters at this event are Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Lee Westwood. Woods has not been at this event in well over a decade. It falls between two WGC events, so it is one a lot of guys skip. But Woods seems determined to win back his status as the most dominant golfer in the world. His mere presence adds some steam to this event. But the appearances of McIlroy and Westwood are just as significant. Both are joining the PGA Tour in 2012, and this is one of those events that we get to enjoy that fact. Both missed a chance to claim the No. 1 ranking on Sunday, Feb. 26. They can continue that push here.

While those are the three big names, there are plenty of other guys to watch. There are more than a dozen former major winners besides Woods and McIlroy. Northern Ireland's other favorite sons are here as Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell are in the field. Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, and Padraig Harrington are also here. All three are former winners at this event. Charl Schwartzel and Keegan Bradley are also playing, and that means we get to see all four major champions from 2011.

Personally, I'll be rooting for McIlroy in this field. By playing here it finally feels like he is part of the PGA Tour. I would love to see him come out strong and earn a title. But it won't be easy to outlast a field of this caliber. If McIlroy gets this win he will have earned it. I just would prefer to see that story unfold rather than another dramatic Tiger Woods story. That said, if both happen to be in contention it should turn into a pretty exciting weekend.

* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan and has played the game since high school. Follow him on Twitter here.

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