Five Things To Watch This Week at the WCG-Cadillac Championship:
1. Donald Trump's Got Big Plans for Doral
We’ll be hearing a lot about Donald Trump this week, not just because of the Cadillac and not just because of the opposite-field event, the Puerto Rico Open at the Tom Kite-designed Trump International Golf Club. We’ll also be hearing a lot about Trump’s big plans for redoing Doral. “We play a lot of resorts,” said Justin Rose, who shot 16-under on the so-called Monster to edge Bubba Watson last year. “Sometimes after 20, 30 years, they need a bit of an update and I think this golf course will benefit from it.” Rose said he expects significant changes, but not to the course’s signature 18th hole, which is already plenty hard from the tips in the wind.
2. The Mac Will Be Back
Rory McIlroy will begin to find his way at this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at the TPC Blue Monster at Trump Doral (catchy name, right?)—a much more forgiving track than watery PGA National. The world No. 1 finished third at Doral last year, and reportedly he’s been practicing virtually around the clock since his mid-round walk-off at the Honda last Friday, a transgression for which he’s apologized and already been largely forgiven. It doesn’t hurt that McIlroy, 23, will also be playing among friends, sort of—Ryder Cup teammate Luke Donald, and practice partner Tiger Woods—and that the Cadillac has no 36-hole cut.
3. Matt Kuchar Is Sure Bet To Finish Top 10
With all of the big-name players in action, even Phil Mickelson, the Cadillac will begin to tell us who’s in top form for the Masters. Just don’t be surprised if it’s the guy who was hoisting the trophy at the last WGC event two weeks ago at Dove Mountain in Gstaad—I mean southern Arizona. Matt Kuchar’s current form, and his results at Doral the last three years (T8 last year, 5th in 2011, T3 in 2010) make him a near certainty to finish in the top five or 10 this week. What’s more, he sounded ready for big things in his press conference Tuesday, comparing the road to winning a major to the road to graduating from college. “Little steps,” he said.
4. Geoff Ogilvy Returns From the Wilderness
Geoff Ogilvy will continue to inspire McIlroy and anyone else who has completely lost his game, which is to say everyone. Ogilvy had missed four straight cuts on the West Coast when he finished runner-up at the Honda. That bolstered his World Ranking to 47th and got him to Doral, where he outplayed Woods and everyone else to win in 2008. “It was going to be disappointing to miss,” said Ogilvy, who now has his sights set on playing his way into the Masters.
5. Golf's Future Is Playing in Puerto Rico This Week, Not Miami
Patrick Cantlay’s career trajectory is going to wind up looking a lot like Russell Henley’s: can’t-miss kid leaves college after a gilded amateur career; turns pro and struggles to wind up on the Web.com Tour; catches fire and zooms up to the PGA Tour, where he kills it like everyone predicted he would. Cantlay, 20, shot a final-round 66 to win the Web.com Colombia Championship in Bogota by four shots last week. He’ll tee it up in Puerto Rico with fellow whiz kids Jordan Spieth, Peter Uihlein, and Luke Guthrie, who is coming off a third-place finish at the Honda.