Cognizant Classic Golf 2024 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The Florida Swing begins on the PGA Tour this week and it does so with the tournament formerly known as The Honda Classic which has a name change to the Cognizant Classic in light of a different sponsor for the tournament.

Chris Kirk returned to the top of the game with a fine win in this tournament last year and he will line up looking to make a successful defence of the title. The change in playing rules means he is up against a stronger field for that quest though.

Recent Winners

2023 – Chris Kirk

2022 – Sepp Straka

2021 – Matt Jones

2020 – Sungjae Im

2019 – Keith Mitchell

2018 – Justin Thomas

2017 – Rickie Fowler

2016 – Adam Scott

2015 – Padraig Harrington

2014 – Russell Henley

The Course

We are at the PGA National once again this week. This was renowned for being one of the toughest par 70s on the circuit and that is proven by the winning score often being in single digits, which doesn’t happen very often on the PGA Tour these days, however the tenth has been turned into a par 5 and the rough isn’t as deep so scoring is likely to improve this time around. The trickiness comes in the form of the ‘Bear Trap’ which is the three holes 15-17 where the water is heavily in play and nerves are likely to be jangling, especially if the wind is up like it often is during this stage of the Florida Swing.

You have to strike the ball well around here. Length can come in handy but it doesn’t take priority over accuracy. There is an exposed element to this track so being able to handle the wind is another requisite and as with all tough courses scrambling abilities are essential. You need to play this course from the fairway with pinpoint iron shots and a decent putter the way forward. It is a true all-round test and a great way to start the Florida Swing.

The Field

After what has to be considered a pretty weak field in Mexico last week, things are a little more back to normal for the opening trip to Florida, where the field is headlined by Rory McIlroy who will be looking to take advantage of the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa and Patrick Cantlay among others taking the week off. He is the headline draw this week but the defending champion Chris Kirk is the man to be shot at.

McIlroy isn’t the only leading European in the field this week. His fellow Ryder Cup teammates Matt Fitzpatrick, Sepp Straka, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry are teeing it up here while Alex Noren and the Danish pair of Thorbjorn Olesen and Rasmus Hojgaard are here too. Byeong-Hun An, Tom Kim, Sungjae Im and Min Woo Lee are all leading the international charge while Cameron Young, Eric Cole, Russell henley and J.T. Poston are others on home soil looking for a win.

Market Leaders

Rory McIlroy is always vying for favouritism or the outright favourite whenever he tees it up and it is the latter for him here as he is 15/2 to claim the tournament on the opening prices. McIlroy has won around here but that was back in 2012 and he was second a couple of years later but this is his first stop at the tournament since 2018. He didn’t exactly pull up trees over on the West Coast Swing but seems to go much better in Florida.

Cameron Young is still looking for his first success on the PGA Tour and he is 22/1 for that to come this week. He has a good record in big tournaments so it might be no bad thing that he is on a tough track here but I can’t say he has shown me that he is about to win like one or two others who have previously broken their duck and this level have. If he putts well he definitely has the long game to compete here but he feels a smidgeon short for me.

Russell Henley won here in 2014 and he was third here three years ago and he is 25/1 to get the title back on Sunday. He really seems to enjoy it in this part of Florida but he hasn’t played here for three years and it will be interesting to see if that is significant. This is very much a place where I like course knowledge and on that grounds he is certainly a tick but he is another whose price might just be on the tight side. This feels a little more competitive than his price suggests.

Eric Cole and Tom Kim are the only other players shorter than 30/1 on the best prices this week. Cole looked like he had a great chance to win around here last year but couldn’t quite overcome Kirk in the playoff but he has been on a 12-month scoring spree since then and should really improve for the experience. You just wonder whether the long game of Kim is in good enough working order to tame what can be a beast of a test even with the rough shaved a little more.

Main Bets

Keith Mitchell is a former winner around here and he has the long game to go very well again. Given that he isn’t short of power it certainly won’t be a bad thing that the par has increased by one and I expect the 2019 champion to give a decent account of himself on a course he knows well. He carried decent form into the tournament with him with a top 10 at The American Express where he finished the week with a 62 and then successive top 20 places in his last two starts in Phoenix and then in Mexico last week. Mitchell sits in the top 10 for strokes gained from tee to green this season and that is the statistic needed around here. I think he’s a great bet at the prices.

It probably isn’t ideal that Matthieu Pavon will be on debut in this tournament but that didn’t stop him winning at Torrey Pines last month and given that he leads the PGA Tour in stroke average this season and sits third in strokes gained from tee to green it makes perfect sense to pay to see if the Frenchman can double his PGA Tour title tally in as many months. Pavon has two other top 10 finishes along with his win so he is making full use of his PGA Tour card already and given how well he hits the ball, if he gets along with these greens he could be one to stop this week.


Doug Ghim sits fifth on the PGA Tour for strokes gained from tee to green this season and that is highlighted in his results where after missed cuts at the Sony Open and The American Express to open up 2024, he finished T13 at Torrey Pines, T12 in Phoenix and then T8 in Mexico last week so he is very much trending in the right direction, as you would expect with the precision of his long game right now. The negative to Ghim is he has never made the cut here but he has never arrived in the form he is in right now and the last time he played he missed the cut despite opening with a 68. He’s a better player now and I think he is worth trying to go well this week.

I’ve been waiting for Robert MacIntyre to show some form on this side of the pond and I wanted it to come before we got to Florida because a player who flushes iron shots like he does should go very well in this part of the world, even if his previous record in the state isn’t exactly flattering. The Scot does come in here off the back of a T6 in Mexico last week where his long game flushed it and his putter started cooperating and while this might be his first full season on the PGA Tour, he is established in the game enough to have a much better chance this week than his price would suggest. MacIntyre should have enough confidence last week to put up a decent showing on a course that suits.


Back K.Mitchell to win Cognizant Classic (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 36.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)

Back M.Pavon to win Cognizant Classic (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 46.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)

Back R.MacIntyre to win Cognizant Classic (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)

Back them here:

Back D.Ghim to win Cognizant Classic (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 67.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)

Back him here: