PGA Preview: WGC-Cadillac Championship

I feel confident after picking the winner of the Honda Classic and I’m hoping for the same result this week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. The field is especially strong and there are going to be some tough choices to make.

The Course: Trump National Doral Miami

BlueMonster15th-847-Handout.jpg

The course is specifically The Blue Monster at Doral and is one of the most scenic courses on the “Florida Swing.” The course had eight holes that averaged under-par last year and there are plenty of risk-reward opportunities. I won’t discuss the possibility of the event being held at a different course after 2017 due to comments made by Donald Trump during his campaign, however, look at the name of the resort. Donald Trump owns the Doral resort. The course is a par-72 course that is around 7,500 yards. I do think that the sheer length of the course is going to limit the field (especially if the wind is blowing like it was last weekend). The course is another difficult test and given the number of par-5’s that’s saying something. Power will be a premium this week.

Storylines:

  • Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day make up the top choice for fans. These players are the top players in the world. It’s gonna be “yuge” in the words of Donald Trump.
  • Justin Rose, Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson are another excellent option. Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson are probably three of the more unique guys to put together.
  • The first two tournaments that 4downterritory.com has previewed the winner has used a Titleist golf ball. Bubba Watson used the ProV1x and Adam Scott uses the ProV1. The folks at Nike and Taylormade-Adidas are obviously hopeful that the players on their staff will get a win this week. I’d say that Nike needs the win more since they’ve really just released a new line of clothing, equipment, shoes, and balls.
  • Will Donald Trump make it down to his resort on Sunday to shake hands with the winner?
  • Will Jordan Spieth rebound from a dreadful showing at the Northern Trust Open? I’d assume he took some time to rest and to sharpen his game. Spieth isn’t an especially long hitter, however, he’s a sensational putter and there is no course in the world that excellent putting can’t conquer.
  • Rory McIlroy spoke today that he’s going to change his putting grip. He is going to try the “left-hand low” method and see if he can make more putts this week. Jordan Spieth uses that method (in addition to a multitude of other PGA Tour members). I am interested to see if this is the difference in McIlroy’s performance. He’s not putted well so far this year.

Levi’s Picks

World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship - Round One
DORAL, FL – MARCH 05: J.B. Holmes of the United States acknowledges the crowd after making birdie on the seventh hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course on March 5, 2015 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The field is so strong and I’m lucky to have my pick of the game’s best players. I will continue to only take one player in the top 5 of the OWGR and to take only three players in the top 20. I will take Bubba Watson (#4 in OWGR), Dustin Johnson (#8 in OWGR), Louis Oosthuizen (#19 in OWGR), J.B. Holmes (#22 in OWGR), Billy Horschel (#41 in OWGR), and Graeme McDowell (#55 in OWGR).

Watson has been strong at Doral and has a level of creativity rarely seen on the golf course. He’s going to shape the ball and spin the ball around the greens. I think Watson has a game built for this type of course. The length of Doral shouldn’t be a factor for Watson. I will point out, obviously, that the wind can play a huge factor during this stretch of tournaments. Last week, the wind and the afternoon tee times were often tougher because it hardens the greens and forces players to play shots they might not be comfortable with. Watson is so strong hitting fades and draws that I think he can adapt to virtually anything.

Dustin Johnson won last year and he’s the longest hitter on tour. He’s going to hit greens and give himself chances to make birdies. Oosthuizen is fresh off a win in Europe and he finished 6th last year. He’s gotta feel good after winning last week and he’s done well in windy conditions throughout his career. Holmes was a strong player in this event in the last few years and he’s one of the longest players on tour. He’s got a compact, powerful swing and distance is going to trump (an appropriate pun) accuracy this week. Horschel and McDowell are two guys that are a bit inconsistent. I like Horschel’s aggressive approach and he played at the University of Florida. McDowell doesn’t hit the ball especially long and I think he’s a big of a long shot.

The Winner: Bubba Watson

PGA: Northern Trust Open - First Round
Feb 18, 2016; Pacific Palisades, CA, USA; Bubba Watson hits from the fourth hole tee during the first round of the Northern Trust Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The field is so strong and there are plenty of top players, which makes picking a winner almost impossible. The top players in the world are here and Rory McIlroy is the favorite. I picked him to do well last week and he missed the cut so I’m apprehensive. Jordan Spieth and Jason Day could certainly win. I think Bubba is a good pick and he won two weeks ago. I think not playing the Honda Classic could mean he’s mentally refreshed and ready to go. I think this is going to be a great event and the course is set up to provide plenty of drama.

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