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WGC-Cadillac Preview and Picks
by Matt Fargo - 03/06/2012
The Sunday finish at The Honda Classic turned into a great made-for-TV event as Rory McIlroy held off a Sunday charge from Tiger Woods to win by two strokes. The tour continues on the Florida swing, heading to Doral this week for the WGC-Cadillac Championship. This is the second event in three weeks where we have a star-studded field with the entire top 50 players in the world playing as we will see one of the best fields of the year.
The Doral-Blue Monster Course is an interesting one. It has the reputation of causing havoc and on occasion it does that to some but a lot of that is due to the intimidating finishing hole. Last year, the 18th hole played as the second most difficult hole, averaging 4.31 for the week. Ironically, of the 22 par-72 courses played in 2011, it was the ninth-easiest for a second straight year. That should tell you something about the rest of the course as it has been seventh-easiest in putting over the last four years.
This is just the eighth year that the WGC event has been played here but Doral has been a host course since 1962 which is one of the longest runs on tour. Weather should not be a factor as the forecast looks pretty good but winds will once again be a concern for the players as was the case last week at PGA National. There are only 74 players in the field this week and that means there is no cut on the weekend which means players are more likely to take chances they would not normally do.
The play of Rory McIlroy (+600) last week was outstanding in winning the Honda Classic. He did nothing spectacular on Sunday as he had just two birdies and one bogey but he didn't need to as he never lost the lead which was just big enough to hold off Woods. He ascended to number one on the world with the victory and he is now on an amazing streak of 11 top five finishes in last 12 starts.
We saw some magic from Tiger Woods (+600) on Sunday that we have not seen in a long time. He shot a 62 and he would have broken the course record had it not been for Brian Harman's 61 on Friday. We will see if he can carry that into this week and if there is a place for it to happen, Doral is it. He won this event three times in a row from 2005 to 2007 here and six times overall.
The defending champion is Nick Watney (+2,500) as he won by two shots over Dustin Johnson thanks to a final round 67. He has been pretty average this year but he did play well in his last event at the Accenture Match Play as he won two matches before losing 3&2 to Lee Westwood. His win here last year was no fluke as he finished solo second in 2009, one back of winner Phil Mickelson.
We used Charl Schwartzel (+2,500) last week and he did finish a solid T5 as his poor first round 71 did him in. He has had success at Doral as he finished T24 last year which was a disappointment after his solo second in 2010 where he ended up four back of Ernie Els. While this is no Major, he finished no worse than T16 in them last year against similar competition including a win at the Masters.
Dustin Johnson (+2,500) looks to have found his game after a slow start as he has three straight top tens including a T9 at the Accenture in his last start. He had two top fives prior to that and he has had success at Doral as he finished in solo second last year after a small stumble on Sunday. We have not seen the breakout year that many thought would take place after the win at the Barclays but this could be the start.
With the big names that have won this event (Woods, Ogilvy, Mickelson, Els and Watney) it is hard to pick a longshot but the best option here is Rickie Fowler (+4,000). He has yet to break through as he has been the bridesmaid four times but his game is on course as he is coming off a Sunday 66 to finish T7 at the Honda. He also had a Sunday 66 last year at Doral to finish solo eighth.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the WGC-Cadillac Championship (all for One Unit)
Tiger Woods (+600)
Nick Watney (+2,500)
Charl Schwartzel (+2,500)
Dustin Johnson (+2,500)
Rickie Fowler (+4,000)
Record to date after seven events: -1.89 Units
Sony Open -5 Units
Humana Challenge -6 Units
Farmers Insurance Open +22 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open -5 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -5 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
Accenture Match Play +7.1 Units
Honda Classic -5 Units