02/29/2016

Onto the land of Donald Trump and the TPC Blue Monster at Trump National at Doral. Oh, Donald, you’ve been quite the topic of conversation over the past few months, haven’t you?

This week we’ll be treated to the best in the world at the WGC- Cadillac Championship.

After last weekend’s Honda Classic and win by Adam Scott, forever a prodigy, we move onto tier 2 of the Florida Swing. PGA National was a great test of nerve and quality of play, producing a wonderful leaderboard and fantastic theatre again on the greatest TV drama going on TV–the PGA Tour.

On a Doral note, this event is the first of the season to feature Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy all in the same field.

Our first WGC event of the 2016 calendar year…

Last Year’s WGC- Cadillac Top-10

Screenshot 2016-02-28 23.05.30

This was last year, too.

Full 2016 Field at the WGC-Cadillac Doral

Click here for a full field list.

Last Week’s 2016 Honda Classic Picks

Rory McIlroy (Contender) MC

Freddie Jacobson (Contender) T26

Jeff Overton (Contender) T21

Will Wilcox (Sleeper) T43

Patrick Reed (Winner) MC

Zero top-10s and two marquee MC selections, but in the picks in my fantasy league (fitting Adam Scott into my roster and starting Russell Knox all week) led me to success.

Past 5 Winners at the WGC-Cadillac

  • 2015: Dustin Johnson
  • 2014: Patrick Reed
  • 2013: Tiger Woods
  • 2012: Justin Rose
  • 2011: Nick Watney

Course Overview: Trump National at Doral

18 doral

If this course could be personified in any way, Donald Trump seems like a worthy candidate.

Big, audacious, bold, difficult, challenging, and intriguing, all encompass the Doral design at the TPC Blue Monster. Measuring in at close to 7,600 yards and located only miles from the Atlantic Ocean coastline, this course can offer as brute a test as can sometimes be found on the PGA Tour. Note: last year’s final round scores.

For an extremely interesting hole-by-hole analysis by Hanse, click here.

Tour the course here.

putting series

This Week’s Picks

Three from the Fairway (Contenders)

1. Sergio Garcia

sergio-garcia-usgolftv

His ability to strike the ball and his improved putting was again on display all week at the PGA National. Despite losing by a stroke to Adam Scott at the Honda, and giving a “humble” interview post-round saying “he didn’t have his best, obviously,” Sergio’s game seems to be in good shape.

I think every single one of us would take a “C-level” of Sergio’s ball striking, no matter what he says.

Adam Scott had success as a previous runner-up last week at the Honda, finishing 2nd at Riviera before flying to Florida and winning. Sergio was second last week to Adam.

He’s had success at Doral in the past, gathering top-10s and a 3rd place finish as recently as a few years ago. I like his form. I like his ball-striking for windy conditions. I like Sergio, El Nino, to compete this week at Doral.

2. Jordan Spieth

jordan spieth

His last time out, he embarrassed himself. A missed cut at Riviera on the heels of an opening round 79 was an abhorrent display for the world’s number one golfer.

You know that’s been eating at him for the past 10 days in a major way.

This week’s event, like I said, is the first where Rory, Day and Jordan will all be pegging it up. It’s the first “big, full field” event of the 2016 calendar year. Jordan will be ready to play good golf this week, and I think he’ll bring #2 ranked putter, his #1 birdie average, his #3 ranking in strokes gained: total, and his #1 world ranking and the mindset that comes with it.

He was a top-20 finisher here last year and I think the electric play from Spieth is back this week at Doral. I’m going with the angry golfer.

3. Dustin Johnson

dustin johnson

Hard to ignore this guy this week.

His great play at Riviera signals to a confident DJ, and we witnessed said “confident DJ” last year at Doral. It’s a dangerous thing and in the words of Stephen A. Smith, he’s a “baaaaad man.” That’s DJ.

He’s a top-4 finisher here at Doral in three of his last five starts. He has another top-15 thrown in there as well.

Great play last time out. No need to say more.

More Contenders to Consider

  • Shane Lowry (great ball striker)
  • J.B. Holmes (last year’s 62)
  • Bubba Watson (length and track record)

putting series

One from the Rough (Sleepers)

Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell

Is it odd that I’ve filled my sleeper hole with a player who is posing with hardware in the above photo? A former US Open champion? How about a former Ryder Cup hero?

Well, Mr. McDowell is the sleeper selection this week for the WGC-Cadillac. Much of that is due to his play over the past nearly two seasons.

A staple in world golf circles for years, McDowell’s career had a bit of a fall from grace. He dropped outside the top-80 in the world rankings, and his confidence suffered. But what’s important to remember is his track record at Doral–both old and new–is really good.

Since 2008, McDowell has three top-10 finishes and another top-15. His play, a meticulous brand of both grit and determination, fits a difficult course like the one at Trump National. His play at last week’s Honda was a sign of the McDowell we had once known. A grinder, who knows no test too difficult. In fact, he was a winner as recently as this fall in Mexico.

I like McDowell for a nice little top-15 finish this week in Miami.

The Man With the Trophy

Justin Rose

rose

He’s a past winner here, he’s playing well, he has the temperament to withstand trials and he has the game to fit Trump National at Doral. Justin Rose is the winner this week at the WGC-Cadillac.

A dismal 55th place finish last year for Rose would point to discomfort with the redesign, right? Wrong. His finish last year was amidst the turmoil which led to some of the worst play we’d seen from Rose in years. In four events, he missed the cut in three. He broke 70 zero times. Look what happened once he figured it out.

Screenshot 2016-02-29 11.48.54

With Rose, his last two starts have yielded top-20 finishes. Six out of his past 8 rounds have been in the 60s. Statistically, he’s top-20 in driving distance in 2016 and top-10 in strokes gained total.

A great player will become a repeat victor again in Miami. His name is Justin Rose.