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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Storylines at WGC-Cadillac

There are a lot of good storylines to follow this week at the WGC-Cadillac. I wanted a good photo of the course to show you, but this one from trumphotelcollection.com is the best one I could find that would allow me to link it here. (You can see some gorgeous views at this Google page.)

Doral course photo

You can also download a PDF of the course layout from this page at worldgolfchampionships.com. It might help you keep up with where everybody is. It's near the bottom of the page under "Course Info."

OK, here's what we're looking out for this week:
  • Of course, the biggest story is probably Tiger's back. He didn't play any practice rounds but his caddie Joe Lacava charted the course changes Tuesday and Tiger walked all 18 on Wednesday, trying to visualize the new lines and do some chipping and putting. Despite his record at Doral, Notah Begay said Tiger was surprised by how dramatically the changes affect the way he'll play the course. So this could be very interesting.
  • The changes themselves will be a big story. Some players (like Jason Day) have already been there for a week trying to learn the changes. Gil Hanse said they were happy with what they did but they would access the course after the tournament to see if any tweaking was needed. Golf Digest has an article called 7 Things Gil Hanse Would Have You Know about the New Blue Monster; one of the most interesting (to me anyway) was that the original designer's plans weren't really followed so Hanse tried to incorporate as much of them as he could.
  • If Adam Scott wins and Tiger does no better than 6th (or a tie for 6th, I can't remember) then Adam moves to #1 on the OWGR. [CORRECTION: Tiger has to finish outside the top 6. I was close!]
  • Adam, Tiger, and Henrik Stenson are all paired together for the first two rounds. It will be interesting to see how Tiger and Henrik deal with their injuries while playing with a very healthy Adam.
  • Victor Dubuisson accepted his special PGA Tour membership so he'll get unlimited exemptions to try and get his card for next season. He starts that quest this week at Doral.
  • Jason Day and Rory McIlroy will both be big stories to watch as well. Rory tries to regroup after not winning at Honda (although I don't think it bothers him all that much) and Jason tries for back-to-back WGCs. [UPDATE: Jason has withdrawn with a thumb injury.]
And while it's not really a storyline, I think it's interesting that the WGC-Cadillac is at Trump National Doral in Miami and the PGA Tour's alternate field event -- the Puerto Rico Open -- is at Trump International Golf Course - Puerto Rico in Rio Grande. Just an interesting fact.

The WGC coverage begins today at noon ET on GC. And, if you're interested, the Puerto Rico Open is at 6:30pm ET. (You Jhonattan Vegas and John Daly fans will definitely want to catch that one.)

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