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History is against Fowler defence

History is against Fowler defence

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Rickie Fowler tees off as defending champion at the Honda Classic at Palm Beach, but recent history suggests he is unlikely to successfully defend his title.

Only one player has even won the tournament twice so far this century, that being Padraig Harrington, who triumphed in both 2005 and 2015.

Given that record, 15/2 for Fowler to win again at PGA National seems a bit too skinny to run with, with Rory McIlroy possibly offering a little more in the way of value at 39/4.

However, the Northern Irishman also has the problem of being a former winner himself, having secured victory in 2012 and he also lost in a play-off to Russell Henley in 2014.

American Henley could be another decent option at 19/4 to buck the trend and become a two-time Honda Classic winner and join a select group of just four players.

Going back to the aforementioned Harrington, a record third win might be beyond him, but 25/1 to be top GB & Ireland finisher is a long shot worth a second look, while in the same market Russell Knox is 27/4 and could offer a return.

The Scotsman has previous in Palm Beach having been in the same 2014 play-off which also featured McIlroy and Henley, as well as Ryan Palmer.

Of the players yet to taste victory in the tournament, two home hopes stick out as ones to watch – Daniel Berger and Gary Woodland.

Florida native Berger as home advantage on his side and a 2015 play-off loss to Harrington shows he can do the business at PGA National.

At 50/1 to win the tournament he is something of a wildcard pick, but 9/2 to finish in the top 10 would appear to make plenty of sense.

Turning to Woodland, he was edged out by Fowler in a play-off 12 months ago, while he recently enjoyed success at the Phoenix Open to show that he has both past and present form to draw inspiration from.

The 33-year-old is 13/5 to finish in the top ten, while he offers temptation at 30/1 to win the tournament and also 18/1 to be the top American finisher.

Finally, much attention will again be focused on Tiger Woods, who is 4/5 to miss the cut, having done so last week at the Genesis Open.

With birdies likely to be tough to come by at PGA National, he is again likely to struggle to survive into the weekend action.

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Adrian Mills Adrian has enjoyed a journalistic career spanning over three decades, with cricket his specialised topic. He also has a wealth of knowledge on football, golf and tennis and has the stats to back up his betting advice.