McIlory vs Woods and 72 others

BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 WGC Cadillac Championship | Preview | 06 Mar 2012

The second of the 2012 World Golf Championship events, the WGC Cadillac Championship, is played this week at the famed Blue Monster layout at Doral Resort and Spa in Miami in Florida.

The tournament has been played at this venue as World Golf Championship event since 2007 although significant tournaments have been played at Doral since 1962.

The field is made up of 74 players brought together via various money lists and Orders of Merit around the world and for those not qualified then, the remaining players come from the top 50 in the world ranking.

The event will bring together to two main talking points of last Sunday, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.

McIlory gets to play the event for the 4th occasion, recording a best of 10th at last year’s event. Given his remarkable consistency then he must be amongst it again this Sunday. The 22 year old was within striking distance heading into the final round last year before a final round of 74 so he has produced some good rounds on the golf course.

Woods owns this event. In eleven visits to the tournament he has yet to finish outside the top ten, winning six times. One of those wins came in his remarkable run at the Blue Monster where he has also won two other events. Given his brilliant late rush on Sunday then the planets seem to be aligning for what would be his first full field PGA Tour victory in 30 months.

While the looming battle between Rory McIlroy and Woods is enough to make the ardent golf fan’s juices flow, the recent form of former winner, Phil Mickelson, adds yet another dimension to the intrigue of this potentially great contest. Mickelson won at Pebble Beach and then finished runner-up at Riviera.

Nick Watney is the defending champion and finished runner-up in 2009. Watney might not have been a regular contender over the past eight months or so but he has not missed a cut in that time. He clearly enjoys this course and few would be surprised if he has another great week.

We should not forget the man who was dethroned last Sunday from the number one position he has enjoyed in world golf since May of last year, Luke Donald. Donald finished 6th last year and although he is taking time to find his feet in 2012, when he does he will no doubt reel off a series of consisent finishes. He has played this event well on several occasions.

This might just be the week for Sergio Garcia to stand up. The Spaniard has played this event well enough finishing inside the top ten in six of his eleven stars. It is his more recent form which give hope to his many admirers that this could possibly be the week for his return to the PGA Tour’s winner’s circle for the first time in four years.

Dustin Johnson has put together several very good tournaments of late and importantly finished runner-up to Watney last year. On that basis alone he must be a chance.

Matt Kuchar made it to the quarter finals at the Accenture and seems to be building towards the sort of form we saw from him for much of 2010 and 2011.

Charles Schwartzel finished runner-up in 2010 and has hardly put a foot wrong in recent months.

Australians Jason Day, Adam Scott, Aaron Baddeley, John Senden and Geoff Ogilvy are all in the field courtesy of their finishing positions on the 2011 FedEx Cup standings. Greg Chalmers and
Marcus Fraser are playing the event as a result of their standing on the PGA Tour of Australasia’s 2011 money list.

All but Chalmers have played the tournament previously although Chalmers good tournament last week at the Honda gives the impression he could potentially lead the Australians this week. In order to do so however he will need to get past the likes of Jason Day and Adam Scott.

Scott finished 6th in this event last year en route to his great week at the Masters. He has played sparingly this season with only two starts under his belt to date following a recovery from an operation to remove his tonsils. At his best he could win this but he might need a couple more starts to reach that point.

Jason Day is another to have played only a few events this season, the Ohio based Queenslander about to play only his 5th event of the year. Day’s second place in Qatar was against a strong field and on foreign territory. Just a month after finishing 45th here last year, Day finished runner-up at Augusta National and then continued that run through much of the remaining months of the year.

Geoff Ogilvy seems to have lost his way with his game but he is a former winner of this event at this venue so could gain some inspiration from that.

Aaron Baddeley was disqualified from this event in 2009 but in three other starts he has done well. He has also played well in recent weeks so stands some sort of chance of being the leading Aussie.

John Senden has played this event just once for a very solid 11th in 2010. He has already put together some nice tournaments this season and an improvement on his previous best in the event is not beyond him this week.

Marcus Fraser is in the field because of his money list position in Australia and gets the chance to improve on his previous best of 45th last year. He had a very good summer in the flagship Australian events and finished runner-up in India recently.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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