Doral betting guide
Dave Tindall's in-depth preview and best bets for this week's WGC-Cadillac Championship in Florida.
By Dave Tindall
Last Updated: 05/03/13 7:02pm
The first strokeplay World Golf Championship event of 2013 sees Justin Rose defend his crown at the famous TPC Blue Monster course at Doral in Miami, Florida.
Doral has been the permanent home of this event since 2007 and the winners in that time have all been in the upper echelons of the world rankings.
Tiger Woods (2007), Phil Mickelson (2009) and Nick Watney (2011) scored home-soil victories while in the even-numbered years there were victories for Aussie Geoff Ogilvy (2008), South African Ernie Els (2010) and England's Rose (2012).
The Cadillac Championship is the second in the series of four World Golf Championships, with Matt Kuchar (Accenture Match Play) winning the opener in Arizona last month.
The 60-man field this week combines players from the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, the FedExCup, the Race to Dubai and other Tours' Order of Merit standings. There is no 36-hole cut.
As usual, Sky Sports will have live coverage of all four days, with the first broadcast at 7pm on Thursday.
The Blue Monster course doesn't exactly live up to its name judging by the winning scores here. Although it bared some teeth when Tiger won here with -10 in 2007, the winning totals since then have been between -16 and -19. The finishing hole is probably the best known, a dogleg left measuring 467 yards with water running all the way down the left. The bail-out tee-shot to the right risks tree trouble while the wind often blows here. Overall, the Blue Monster is a typical Floridian resort course - a par 72 with wide palm tree-lined fairways, raised undulating greens, light Bermuda rough, lots of bunkers (over 100) and water hazards in play on many holes (11).
The forecast is for sunshine and temperatures in the mid 70s - just the sort of weather which persuaded the likes of Lee Westwood to move to Florida. As usual in this part of the world, the main challenge will be the wind. The estimates are for it to blow at at a fairly steady 12mph on the weekend but if it gets above that it will be a real challenge with so much water on the course.
Last year - Justin Rose
Rose made it four PGA Tour wins in the past 20 months with his biggest success yet. The Englishman had to rally from three behind on the final day - the largest comeback in the tournament's brief history - and did so with a final round two-under 70 to post 16-under. Showers and stiff breezes made scoring tough on the final day and there were several what-might-have-been stories. Bubba Watson, who was three clear going into the last day, faltered badly early although a late rally and superb approach to 18 left him a nine-footer to tie. He missed. Keegan Bradley was two clear at one point but came home in 41 and finished eighth.
The leading contenders (and Sky Bet odds)
Tiger Woods (12/1): Tiger's season so far is something of a curate's egg with a missed cut after a two-shot penalty, a victory, a first round matchplay exit and a never-in-contention tied 37th. Woods is a six-time winner of this event although five of those victories came on other courses. However, he also won at this venue when it was just a regular PGA Tour stop (Ford Championship at Doral) so he's a three-time course winner. As Tiger proved at Torrey Pines earlier this year, the best places to back him are venues where he triumphed in his glory years so it would be no big surprise if he hit top form again this week.
2013 form: 37-L64-1-MC
Course form: WD-10-9-5
Florida form: 37-40-1-WD
World ranking: 2
Justin Rose (14/1): While Rory lurches from one disaster to the next and Tiger blows mostly cold, the new Mr Reliable in golf is Rose who has finished second, 16th and fourth in his three strokeplay starts this year. He also happens to be the defending champion here after a superb performance last year. The Englishman topped the Greens In Regulation stats in 2012 to show the prowess of his long game and, of course, he also played a starring role in the Ryder Cup with two massive putts (in distance and importance) which suggests, on the greens, he can make the ones that count.
2013 form: 4-L32-16-2
Course form: 1-42-20-15
Florida form: 4-51-15-29
World ranking: 5
Charl Schwartzel (14/1): The South African didn't get in the mix when fancied to shine in last week's Honda Classic but he kept plugging away to finish tied ninth and it was another decent week's work. His previous strokeplay start was a near-miss third at Riviera so he's still definitely one of the form horses after his spectacular finish to 2012. Adding to that is an excellent record over the Blue Monster. He pushed Ernie Els all the way before finishing runner-up here in 2010 (that was the first real time he made a mark on US soil) while he was also fourth last year.
2013 form: 9-L64-3-2
Course form: 4-24-2-35
Florida form: 9-MC-4-5
World ranking: 14
Matt Kuchar (20/1): Kuchar will be looking for back-to-back World Golf Championship victories after capturing the Accenture Match Play title in Arizona last time out. The American, who was born and raised in Florida, also has a particularly strong record in the Sunshine State and last year won the prestigious Players Championship at Sawgrass. He's also been a strong performer in this tournament, cracking the top 10 in each of the last three years with two of those giving each-way punters a return.
2013 form: 1-38-16-5-9
Course form: 8-5-3-MC
Florida form: 1-10-8-54
World ranking: 8
Luke Donald (20/1): Donald has had a very light schedule so far but was a decent 16th on his seasonal debut at Riviera and made a second round exit at the WGC Match Play. That's an improvement on last year when he was 56th at Riviera and crashed out in the opening round in Arizona and on that occasion he turned up at Doral and finished sixth. Donald has actually finished sixth here for the last two years so it's a course where he can plot his way around. When it comes to success in Florida, Donald's record is probably better than anyone's over the last few years and it's been the scene of his last three strokeplay wins (2006 Honda Classic, 2011 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic and 2012 Transitions Championship).
2013 form: L32-16
Course form: 6-6-26-20
Florida form: 6-1-6-1
World ranking: 3
Rory McIlroy (22/1): After his nightmare start with Nike, Rory's odds have taken a hike and he's now on offer at a price that would have been hard to believe when he won the USPGA by eight shots back in August. Still, after his latest mishap - walking off the course, citing wisdom tooth ache after being seven over after eight holes of his second round in the Honda and heading for a missed cut - it's not undeserved. Would even his biggest fans be backing him at the moment? Rory was third here last year and 10th the year before so, in normal circumstances, he'd be on most shortlists this week. However, current circumstances are anything but normal.
2013 form: WD-L64-MC
Course form: 3-10-65-20
Florida form: WD-MC-3-1
World ranking: 1
Adam Scott (25/1): Scott is another who's had a very light schedule so far in 2013 although a 10th place on his seasonal debut at Riviera was a decent effort. A second round exit in the Match Play limited him to just two further rounds so it remains to be seen whether he's quite sharp enough yet to beat a field of this quality. The Aussie has had a few decent knocks at the Blue Monster with a sixth in 2011 and a ninth in 2008 while he's also a former winner of the Players Championship although that 2004 success remains his one and only victory in the Sunshine State.
2013 form: L64-10
Course form: 13-6-50-66
Florida form: 15-13-MC-6
World ranking: 7
Best of the rest
Lee Westwood (28/1): Westwood's record of just two PGA Tour wins on US soil (the first was way back in 1998) is coming under scrutiny again after he flopped in the final round of the Honda Classic last week. Looking at it another way, a ninth place in tough conditions was hardly a poor result and now he's based in Florida it's logical to think he might do well in this part of the world. You'd expect the Englishman to have a good record at the Blue Monster but that's not proved the case and he hasn't finished better than 18th in the last five visits. In theory though, the course should suit him.
Nick Watney (30/1): The American won this title in 2011 and was also runner-up in 2009 and no-one in the field can match that course form since this event became a WGC event. Watney's best from five starts this season is a fourth place at Torrey Pines while he made it to round three of the Match Play. A likely contender although his putter will need to heat up.
Rickie Fowler (35/1): Fowler was prominent for much of last week but a poor finish saw him slip to tied 13th. But for a couple of poor late shots he'd have banked a third top six of the season so his form is pretty strong. As for course form he was eighth here on debut in 2011 and that was when coming off a missed cut at the Honda.
Best of the rest
Peter Hanson (50/1): The Swede has racked up some excellent performances in the big events and has been a regular starter here. He put that course experience to good use last year when finishing fourth and, living in Florida, he's certainly comfortable in the surroundings. A 13th in the Honda Classic last week could prove an ideal warm-up.
Luke Donald hasn't been outside the top 10 in each of his last seven starts in Florida.
That run includes two victories and a pair of sixth places here so, at 20/1, he looks a great each-way bet to flourish in Florida yet again.
He's lightly raced this season but that could be to his advantage and I fancy him to plot and putt his way to victory.
Luke won on his second start of 2011 and his fifth of 2012 so he can certainly triumph on his third start of 2013.
Peter Hanson played some extremely solid golf at The Honda last week (1st in Greens in Regulation, seventh in Driving Accuracy, 12th in putting) so looks an attractive each-way bet at 50/1 to build on his 13th place.
He's made the top 20 in five of his last seven Florida starts, the highlight a fourth place in this tournament last year when he carded a second round 65.
Finally, I'll keep on the side of Charl Schwartzel whose powerful combination of course and current form suggests this is the venue where he can post his first PGA Tour win of 2013.
2pts e.w. Luke Donald at 20/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt e.w. Peter Hanson at 50/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
4pts win Charl Schwartzel at 14/1