First Look: Cadillac Championshiptext sizeMarch 01, 2013
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
FULL FIELD: WGC-Cadillac Championship
-- COURSE: TPC Blue Monster at Trump Doral, 7,334 yards, par 72. Trump Doral's signature course has water along the entire left side, which torments golfers both on the tee and the approach shot. At the inaugural Doral Open in 1962, pros went a combined 104-over par for the week at No. 18. Though equipment advances have dulled many of the Blue Monster's teeth, No. 18 still ranked as the PGA TOUR's second-toughest hole last year
-- FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 550 points
-- CHARITY: The First Tee is the primary beneficiary of World Golf Championships events. Proceeds also go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County.
-- FIELD WATCH: Tiger Woods, with three wins at Doral but unable to finish last year, and defending champion Justin Rose headline an elite field that brings together 49 of the top 50 in the world rankings and top money winners from various world tours. The lineup currently stands at 60, though that figures to grow by at least four qualifiers Sunday night. … Brian Gay, John Merrick, Russell Henley and Charles Howell III are in line for berths if they hold their spots among the top 10 of the FedExCup standings. … Henley and Howell also could get in if they move into the world’s top 50 on Monday. … The only top-50 player missing is FedExCup points leader Brandt Snedeker, still recovering from sore ribs suffered during the West Coast Swing.
-- 72-HOLE RECORD: 261, Tiger Woods (2006 at The Grove). Doral record: 264, Tiger Woods (2005).
-- 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Stephen Ames (2nd round, 2000).
-- LAST YEAR: Rose, keeping his head down as breezes and drama both swirled around TPC Blue Monster, chased down Bubba Watson from three shots back to capture his first WGC title. A 2-under 70 was sufficient for the English pro on a gusty day that sent scores soaring -- and Woods to an early exit on the 12th tee after aggravating the tender left Achilles that had plagued him for much of 2011. Watson (74) struggled to find fairways in the windy conditions, yet still had a chance to draw even with Rose at No. 18. After a wild drive right of the fairway, Watson found a gap between trees to leave his second shot 9 feet from the flagstick. His birdie attempt to tie it, though, curled beneath the hole.
-- STORYLINES: World No. 1 Rory McIlroy hopes for a return after a toothache prompted a withdrawal from defending his crown at The Honda Classic. The 23-year-old McIlroy lasted just eight holes Friday, giving him a grand total of 80 competitive holes in 2013. … Woods seeks to end a five-year victory drought at TPC Blue Monster since his 2007 WGC triumph capped three in a row. Last year's WD marked the first time he hadn’t finished among the top 10. … Phil Mickelson, the 2009 champion who nearly carded a 59 while winning at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, returns from two weeks off that included skipping the WGC-Accenture Match Play for his kids' spring break.
-- SHORT CHIPS: Matt Kuchar, last week's Accenture champion, seeks to join Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only men to capture two WGC titles in the same year. Woods has done it five times; Mickelson paired his 2009 Doral title with the HSBC Champions in China. … In addition to Snedeker, the only qualifiers who won't make the trip are Australia's Peter Senior and Japan’s Toru Taniguchi. … Merrick, feel-good winner of the Northern Trust Open two weekends ago, is one of four men making their first World Golf Championships start. … A total of 17 nations will be represented at Doral, with 40 entrants from outside the United States. … The Blue Monster, with new Doral owner Donald Trump footing the bill, begins a major renovation in April that will bring more water into play and upgrade the par 5s. Gil Hanse will oversee the facelift.
-- TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 2-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 3-7 p.m. ET (NBC).
-- SIRIUS/XM PGA TOUR RADIO: Thursday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. ET. Sunday, 1-7 p.m. ET.