Revised Blue Monster awaits epic battle
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 WGC Cadillac Championship | Preview | 04 Mar 2014
The elite end of world men’s golf heads from Palm Beach in Florida south to Miami for the second of two World Golf Championships in three weeks with the playing of the WGC Cadillac Championship at the redesigned Blue Monster layout at Trump National Doral.
The defending champion is Tiger Woods although following his withdrawal from the Honda Classic last week there is still some doubt as to whether he can play.
Woods defeated Steve Stricker by two in 2013 with Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Phil Mickelson by three.
Woods has won on four occasions at the Blue Monster layout and if fit he would be a great chance yet again and might well still be but there is concern over his injury issue and his already poor start to the year.
Adam Scott has a great opportunity to catch Tiger Woods if he were to win this week and Woods finishes outside the top 12 or so. Scott has been second and third in his two best finishes at Doral and comes off a solid start to the season on what has been a limited campaign to date.
The Queenslanders 12th place finish last week indicated he was getting better as the week progressed which considering it had been six weeks or so since he played an event is understandable.
Phil Mickelson won in 2009 and finished 3rd last year but he too has been plagues by injury issues and so needs to be taken on trust. A missed cut last week at the Honda does not help his chances or lessen the concern of his fans.
Jason Day has always shown a capacity to handle the big time and he again displayed that capacity at the WGC Accenture two weeks ago. In three starts in this event he has never finished better than 20th but with World Cup and Accenture victories in recent months there is probably a greater self belief than ever for the 26 year old.
Rory McIlroy has been in the mix in each of his last three starts in this event and despite his lost opportunity last week I expect him to do well again. He has been playing very solidly of late and if he was to win then there would be no surprises.
Sergio Garcia’s chances appear great to me. He has a good record in this event without winning although several of those good finishes have come at other venues. He did finish 3rd last year however and with two victories and four top tens in his last four starts in the past three months he appears a very good chance of contending.
Justin Rose has been winner and 8th in his last two starts at this event. He has only played two events in 2014 but he might be peaking at the right time.
Other Australians who have earned their way into the field are Brett Rumford and Scott Hend because of their respective performances in Europe and Asia in 2013. For both the opportunity to play in an elite event of this nature is great reward for their outstanding efforts over the past twelve months.