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2024 Cognizant Classic: Power Rankings, Defending Champion, Prize Money, and Major Details

Published 02/28/2024, 3:30 AM EST

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The Cognizant Classic may be debuting its name, but not its event! Till last year, it was called the Honda Classic, but now, a change in sponsors has led to a name change. Regardless, the much-anticipated tournament is now back and set to start on February 29th. What’s more, the event would be hosted at the PGA National Resort (The Champion) and would witness many top golfers from the PGA Tour duking it out against each other for triumph and glory.

A total of 144 athletes would be teeing it off in South Florida for the ninth event of the Jay Monahan-led circuit. However, their eyes would be on the winner’s cut from the $9 million prize pool, along with the much-coveted trophy and title. But even so, there would truly be favorites among the golfing enthusiasts in the community who have the most chance to emerge victorious at the event!

Top picks for the 2024 Cognizant Classic

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One can’t help but notice the hype as a group of talented players in the golf world gears up to battle it out on the field. Interestingly, this is the final chance for many golfers to earn a spot on the circuit’s next signature event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How? By becoming a part of the Aon Next 10 and Aon Swing 5, with the opportunity in sight, it becomes natural for there to be favorites among the set of athletes gracing the field.

1. Chris Kirk: The 38-year-old emerged victorious at the 2023 edition of the event, back when it was called the Honda Classic, with a 14-under 266 all the while raking in a huge $1.5 million. Moreover, he was able to finish two times inside the top 20 in 2024, including a win at The Sentry, which marked his sixth win on the PGA Tour. Currently at No. 27 on the Official World Golf Rankings, he is undoubtedly a favorite to win the event.

2. Rory McIlroyFresh off a win at ‘The Match’, the Northern Irishman would be the highest-ranked golfer in the field. Interestingly, he would be making a comeback to the event after five years. Besides, the pro would be hoping to continue his good run in 2024 with a win at the tournament, which he last won in 2012. What’s more, the current No. 2 on the world rankings has a total of two top-10 finishes this year, with a victory at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. All in all, he is a force to be reckoned with.

3. Matt Fitzpatrick: Currently ranked at No. 9 on the OWGR, the 29-year-old English professional would be hoping to finish big at the upcoming tournament by clinching his third PGAT win. Out of the five starts he made in 2024, the 1-time major champ was able to finish inside the top 15 a total of two times, the last of which came at the WM Phoenix Open, where he placed at T15. Besides, he would be looking to outperform the 2023 version of himself, which finished inside the top-10 a total of six times with a win at the RBC Heritage.

4. Byeong Hun An: The South Korean professional is undoubtedly one of the top players on the Monahan-led circuit in the current season. The 44th-ranked golfer in the world has a total of five starts in 2024, out of which he finished two times inside the top 5 and once inside the top 20, the former of which came as a T4 at the Sentry and a T2 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. His remarkable performance has helped him jump a total of sixteen places from the 60th position where he had found himself at the start of the year. If all goes well, he will be looking at his first PGAT victory.

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5. Tom Hoge: Although the golfer is ranked 56th on the OWGR, his performance on the circuit this calendar year has made him a powerful opponent on the greens. The reason: Well, out of the seven starts he made in 2024, he has finished inside the top 20 a total of four times, all of which came from the last five tournaments. The American Pro’s best performance this year came at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he placed in T6. This has surely made him a fan favorite to win the 2024 Cognizant Classic.

The golfers’ challenge at PGA National Resort

Dubbed “One of the Best Golf Courses in the US,” the Champion golf course at PGA National Resort consists of tricky South Florida winds along with multiple water penalty areas, which prove to be a test for even the best golfers in the world. Tom and George Fazio created the 7,045-yard layout, and Jack Nicklaus redesigned it in 2014.

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Interestingly, the grounds have been home to the Cognizant Classic each spring, back when it was known as the Honda Classic. Moreover, it is also home to The Bear Trap, which is nothing short of a treacherous stretch of holes that can give any professional a test of a lifetime. Well, it certainly seems the athletes are in for a tough weekend at the Champion golf course!

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Written by:

Allan Abe

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Allan Abe is a Senior Golf Writer at EssentiallySports. Armed with a Master’s Degree in English, he has covered many themes in golf as a beat writer, with in-depth coverage of instances of many golfers’ lives, like Bubba Watson and Adam Scott. Allan particularly excels at live coverage and a hole-to-hole analysis of events.
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Edited by:

Sheldon Pereira

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