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Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches Predictions: The First Leg of the Florida Swing

Written by: Dave Tindall
Published February 28, 2024
8 min read
  • The tournament was previously known as The Honda Classic

  • Rory McIlroy is the only player listed at under +2000

  • This is the first leg of the Florida Swing    

Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches Odds

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Player Odds 
Rory McIlroy +750
Russell Henley +2000
Cameron Young +2000
Matt Fitzpatrick +2200
J.T. Poston +2200
Tom Kim +2200
Eric Cole +2500
Byeong Hun An +2800
Sungjae Im +2800
Corey Conners +3300

Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches Predictions

2024 Cognizant Classic Predictions

Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches Intro

If the name doesn’t ring any bells for this first week of the Florida Swing, don’t fret.

Honda had sponsored this event since the early 80s but that deal ended and Cognizant was revealed as the new title sponsor in late 2023.

More importantly, the venue remains the same so there are years of results to sift through at the Champion Course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.

In relation to par this has been one of the hardest tests on the PGA TOUR with seven of the last 11 editions won with single digits under par. 

That could change this year with the 10th hole converted from a par 4 to a rather tame 530-yard par 5. Overall par now changes to 71.

Apart from the traditionally tough scoring, one other trend to note on this exposed piece of Florida property is the number of overseas winners: 10 of the last 15.

Wind can be a big factor here but there’s nothing in the forecast higher than 15mph on Friday.    

Last 5 Winners of Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches

Year Champion, nationality and winning score
2023 Chris Kirk (United States) -14 
2022 Sepp Straka (Austria) -10
2021 Matt Jones (Australia) -12
2020 Sungjae Im (South Korea) -6
2019 Keith Mitchell (United States) -9

Course Notes

  • The Champion Course at PGA National is a par 71 and measures 7,147 yards

  • It features Bermuda grass putting surfaces

  • Water is in play on 13 of the 18 holes

  • The 18-hole record of 61 is held by Brian Harman (2012) and Matt Jones (2021) 

  • Chris Kirk holds the 72-hole record at PGA National, 266 in 2023  

Favorites to Win Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches

Rory McIlroy (+750) at BetMGM

Despite a 1-2 start to the year on the DP World Tour, Rory has been slow out of the blocks on the PGA Tour in 2024. He was a distant 66th at weather-shortened Pebble Beach and 24th at Riviera last time. This is his first start at PGA National since 2018 and his history is somewhat feast or famine. Rory won in 2012 and was runner-up in 2014 but since then he’s missed two cuts and finished 59th.      

Russell Henley (+2000) at BetMGM

Like McIlroy, Henley is a former winner (2014) but, unlike the Northern Irishman, he’s a reliable and consistent performer here. The American has made the top 25 in each of his last four visits, his two most recent efforts eighth in 2020 and third in 2021. He’s had a fairly light schedule so far in 2024 with fourth at the Sony Open, 58th at Pebble and 24th at Riviera.    

Cameron Young (+2000) at BetMGM

Young relishes a tough test as shown by his record in Majors (four top eights in the last seven) so should like it here. We have just one piece of evidence but 16th on his only start in 2022 (R4 65) shows promise. Third at the DP World Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic in January, his latest two February appearances resulted in eighth at the Phoenix Open and 16th at Riviera where he was 6th for Approach.   

Back Berger

A back injury along with a sustained period of rehabilitation kept Daniel Berger off the PGA TOUR from June 2022 to the start of this year.

But his decision not to rush back until properly ready looks to be paying off.

Berger was 39th in his comeback event, The American Express, and followed a missed cut at Torrey Pines with a promising 28th in the Phoenix Open last time out.

Strong ball-striking is needed this week and the Jupiter resident was 13th for Strokes Gained: Approach in Phoenix and 12th for Driving Accuracy.

But Berger’s biggest selling factor is an elite course record.

Nine years ago in his rookie season, he announced himself as a player of class by losing a play-off here to Padraig Harrington.

That planted a seed that he’s one to watch in his home Florida event and it’s played out nicely in his last two appearances.

Berger was fourth here in 2020 and returned to match that finish in 2022 although there was regret as he’d started the final round in front.    

There will be very few occasions in the coming years when you can back him at PGA National at 40/1 but those are his odds this week. Cash in with an each-way punt at BetMGM.    

Lowry Can Beat Im

This column continued its strong run of 72-hole match bets at Riviera and this week’s advice is betting Shane Lowry to beat Sungjae Im.

Lowry was an unlucky runner-up at PGA National two years ago and showed his liking for the course again in 2023 when fifth.

Based nearby, he’s now made six cuts out of six at this course and said two years ago: “I love it here.” 

Im went one better than Lowry by winning this event in 2021 and took eighth when defending.

But he’s gone MC-42 the last two years and has looked out of sorts in recent events, missing the cut at Torrey Pines, posting 66th at both Pebble and Phoenix before a 44th at Riviera.

Lowry was 25th at Torrey and well-placed in Phoenix before a poor Sunday.

Overall, Lowry’s current form and recent course form is the stronger so back the Irishman to beat the Korean at -120 with DraftKings Sportsbook.   

Hodges to Land Top 10

If leaning on course form here - and it’s a good strategy - Lee Hodges comes into the crosshairs.

Ninth on debut in 2022, the 28-year-old backed that up with 14th in 2023.

After a slow start to the year, he picked up with 24th at Riviera last time so let’s bet Hodges at +400 with DraftKings Sportsbook for a top 20.  

How to Watch Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches

  • Tournament: Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

  • Location: Palm Beach Gardens, FL

  • Date: Thursday, February 29 - Sunday, March 2

  • How to Watch: Thursday-Friday 2 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel), Saturday-Sunday 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC), and all four days on Sky Sports.

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Dave Tindall

106 Articles

Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.

Email: [email protected]

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