Matt Jones with last year’s trophy – photo Getty Images

Matt Jones already had great memories of the Honda Classic and the PGA National Course in Palm Beach Gardens even before his five-shot victory over Brandon Hagy last year.

In his very first start in the event in his rookie PGA Tour season in 2008, Jones finished 4th, three shots behind Ernie Els and has now made six of eight cut in the event since his first appearance that year.

“To be associated with this golf tournament and be a defending tournament of this tournament that’s been around for so long is great,” said Jones in a pre-event press conference as the defending champion.

Jones has recorded a mixture of results thus far in 2022, finishing 3rd at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, an event he gained access to as a result of his Honda Classic win 12 months ago. Jones also finished 15th at the Riviera Country Club last week his game is reasonable shape.

“It’s been good all year. I haven’t putted the best, and that would show on my stats, but if I can figure that out I’m looking forward to this week. And it’s always a test and a battle out here, so it’s more of a course where you just try and battle along and just make pars, make a couple of birdies here and there and limit your mistakes, and that’s what I did last year and hopefully I’ll do this year.”

The Palm Beach Garden layout is an exposed golf course where wind can be a genuine factor but Jones suggested it is an element of the course that plays into his hands.

“I’m used to the wind. I’ve normally performed well in the wind in the past and over in Australia growing up in the wind you just try to lower your ball flight a little bit, which actually helps me, I like to hit a low ball flight naturally, I’m not a high-ball flight hitter. So historically I would say the more wind the better for me.”

Jones will be joined in the field by fellow Australians Lucas Herbert and Brett Drewitt, Herbert having finished 46th in his only appearance in this event last year while Drewitt who regained his PGA Tour card via the Korn Ferry Tour last year, has played the event just once for a missed cut in 2017.