Top golfers try to tame a redesigned Monster at Doral


The best golfers in the world have no idea what to expect from the redesigned Blue Monster Course, including defending champion Tiger Woods.


Facts and figures

Where: Trump National Doral Resort, 4400 NW 87th Ave., Doral.

Course: The Blue Monster (36-36—72, 7,481 yards). Redesigned by Gil Hanse since last year’s tournament.

Format: 72-hole stroke play with no cut.

The field: 69 players including the top 50 in the world.

Purse: $9 million ($1,530,000 goes to the winner).

FedEx points: 550 to the winner.

TV: Thursday-Friday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Golf Channel; Saturday, noon-2 p.m. Golf Channel (2p.m.-6p.m. NBC); Sunday: 1p.m.-3p.m. Golf Channel (3p.m.-7p.m. NBC).

Defending champion: Tiger Woods (66-65-67-71, 19-under-par269).

Parking: General parking is at JC Bermudez Park at 3000 NW 87th Ave, Doral. Preferred parking is at the same location, but a pass is required.

Tickets: Go to www.cadillacchampionship.com for information. Daily grounds passes start at $35 for Thursday or Friday and $40 for either weekend day. Patrons 18-years-old and younger are admitted free with a ticketed adult, and any fan with a valid college ID will gain free entry after 3 p.m.


So, there’s a new Blue at the Trump National Doral Resort greeting the golfers at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. … Well, what do you know?

Nothing. Four-time Doral winner and defending champion Tiger Woods doesn’t know — about the course or perhaps even his back, which he decided only Wednesday would be strong enough for him to play. Nick Watney doesn’t know. Sergio Garcia knows a little. But, really, nobody knows anything about what will happen this week or who will benefit most when the world’s best golfers face a Blue Monster that’s as different from what it has been the past few years as a 2015 Corvette is from a 1962 Vette.

“A few guys have gone down and played practice rounds,” Woods said Saturday after his third round at the Honda Classic. “The majority of the guys haven’t seen it yet and they will see it this coming week. I’m one of those guys that hasn’t seen it. I’ve heard about what they’ve done and read about what they’ve done, but I haven’t seen it with my own eyes.”

Nobody who has paid attention to real estate mogul Donald Trump’s style the past 30 years should have been surprised when his purchase of the resort came with an across-the-board facelift for the whole place. Trump brought in renowned course designer Gil Hanse to work on the Blue course, which has hosted a PGA event annually since 1962.

“I liked it. I had some success there,” Watney, who won in 2011 and finished second in 2009, said with a laugh. “I enjoy the tournament a lot. But it’s not my call, I guess. I’m sure I’ll like the new course.”

What started as restoration evolved into reboot. Except, that is, for the famous 467-yard, par-4 18th hole that’s the maw of The Monster. Even parts of the course between holes got changed, with spectator humps added.

“I think the course is more challenging,” Garcia said. “More playability when it comes down to pin positions and greens, distance on different holes. A lot of different looks, too. I was quite pleased.”

Explaining “playability,” Garcia said, “They’ve lengthened some of the short par-4’s. More than anything, they have so many more pin positions now on the greens. The greens look totally different. You can attack the pins around bunkers and things like that a lot better than maybe you could in the past. I think the driving is a little bit tighter. Even though, they took a good amount of trees away, I think the fairways are narrower, more challenging. Depends on the weather, but I think it’ll definitely play tougher.”

Without wind, Doral’s showcase course deserved less “The Blue Monster” than “Cookie Monster.” Or, even “Grover.”

Justin Rose in 2012 and Watney in 2011 both won at 16-under-par. But Watney shot 18-under in 2009 when he finished second by a shot to Phil Mickelson. Woods came home eased up last year, bogeying two of the last three holes and still shot 19-under, his power often overcoming any lack of precision.

“The defense was the wind,” Watney said. “If it was calm, it was easier. If windy, more difficult. If they toughened up the course and we get wind, we’ll see. Maybe par will be a good score.”

Players regularly got under par right off the bat with the fairly straightforward 529-yard, par-5 No. 1. Last year, it yielded more birdies than pars and bogeys combined. (One of the strangest things about Woods’ dominating 2013 win: he birdied the hole twice, made only par twice. He birdied or eagled No. 1 in 18 consecutive rounds during his 2005-07 Doral winning streak and the first two rounds in 2008.)

Now, No. 1 extends over 600 yards with fairway bunkers narrowing the margin of error. Also, a center-line bunker injects some strategy into the hole.

Hanse played Aquarius the water bearer on Nos. 15 and 16, though the former remains an accessible par-3 and the latter stays a par-4. Where water was present but without presence on No. 16, now it has been expanded to where there’s risk in going for the green over the water off the tee.

An august field facing a once-known course now greatly altered (and Woods’ questionable health) creates a greater-than-usual curiosity about this year’s Cadillac Championship.

“It’s still known as the Trump Doral, but it’s a different course,” Garcia said. “It’s almost like going to a new venue. You never know what’s going to happen. Obviously, the big players are going to be there [at the end] because when you play well, it doesn’t matter where you play.”

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  • Golf Glance

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  • LPGA - Canadian Pacific Women's Open Preview

    Thursday, August 21st through Sunday, August 24th Course Info Site: London Hunt and Country Club, London, Ontario, Canada Course Architect: Robert Trent Jones Sr (1959), Rees Jones (2000 - redesign) Par: 72 Yardage: 6,656 Hole by Hole Front Nine: 36 3,356 Yds 1 - Par 4 404 Yds 2 - Par 3 167 Yds 3 - Par 4 383 Yds 4 - Par 5 482 Yds 5 - Par 4 434 Yds 6 - Par 4 400 Yds 7 - Par 5 550 Yds 8 - Par 3 152 Yds 9 - Par 4 384 Yds Back Nine: 36 3,300 Yds 10 - Par 5 529 Yds 11 - Par 4 373 Yds 12 - Par 4 391 Yds 13 - Par 3 171 Yds 14 - Par 4 402 Yds 15 - Par 4 361 Yds 16 - Par 5 513 Yds 17 - Par 3 183 Yds 18 - Par 4 377 Yds Tournament Info Year: 14th on LPGA Tour Television: Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 12-2 p.m. (et), - Saturday -- 3-5 p.m. (et), - Sunday -- 2-5 p.m. (et) Champion: Lydia Ko Runner Up: Karine Icher Tournament Record: 265 (Lydia Ko, 2013) 54-Hole Record: 199 (Lorena Ochoa, 2007; Suzann Pettersen, 2009) 36-Hole Record: 132 (Inbee Park, Cristie Kerr, 2013) Course Record: Total Purse: $2,250,000 Shares: 1st Place - $337,500; 2nd Place - $206,907; 3rd Place - $146,672 2013 Final Leaderboard Lydia Ko 265 Karine Icher 270 Brittany Lincicome 271 Caroline Hedwall 271 Stacy Prammanasudh 272 I.K. Kim 272 Suzann Pettersen 273 Caroline Masson 273 Gerina Piller 274 Three players at 275 Past Winners 2013: Lydia Ko (265). Runner up: Karine Icher 2012: Lydia Ko (275). Runner up: Inbee Park 2011: Brittany Lincicome (275). Runner up: Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie 2010: Michelle Wie (276). Runner up: Kristy McPherson, Jee Young Lee, Suzann Pettersen, Jiyai Shin 2009: Suzann Pettersen (269). Runner up: Momoko Ueda, Morgan Pressel, Ai Miyazato, Angela Stanford, Karrie Webb 2008: Katherine Hull (277). Runner up: Se Ri Pak 2007: Lorena Ochoa (268). Runner up: Paula Creamer 2006: Cristie Kerr (276). Runner up: Angela Stanford 2005: Meena Lee (279). Runner up: Katherine Hull 2004: Meg Mallon (270). Runner up: Beth Daniel 2003: Beth Daniel (275). Runner up: Juli Inkster 2002: Meg Mallon (284). Runner up: Michele Redman, Michelle Ellis, Catriona Matthew 2001: Annika Sorenstam (272). Runner up: Kelly Robbins 2000: Meg Mallon (282). Runner up: Rosie Jones 1999: Karrie Webb (277). Runner up: Laura Davies 1998: Brandie Burton (270). Runner up: Annika Sorenstam 1997: Colleen Walker (278). Runner up: Liselotte Neumann 1996: Laura Davies (277). Runner up: Nancy Lopez, Karrie Webb 1995: Jenny Lidback (280). Runner up: Liselotte Neumann 1994: Martha Nause (279). Runner up: Michelle McGann 1993: *Brandie Burton (277). Runner up: Betsy King 1992: Sherri Steinhauer (277). Runner up: Judy Dickinson 1991: Nancy Scranton (279). Runner up: Debbie Massey 1990: Cathy Johnston (276). Runner up: Patty Sheehan 1989: Tammie Green (279). Runner up: Pat Bradley, Betsy King 1988: Sally Little (279). Runner up: Laura Davies 1987: Jody Anschutz (272). Runner up: Ayako Okamoto 1986: *Pat Bradley (276). Runner up: Ayako Okamoto 1985: Pat Bradley (278). Runner up: Jane Geddes 1984: Juli Inkster (279). Runner up: Ayako Okamoto 1983: Hollis Stacy (277). Runner up: JoAnne Carner, Alice Miller 1982: Sandra Haynie (280). Runner up: Beth Daniel 1981: Jan Stephenson (278). Runner up: Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley 1980: Pat Bradley (277). Runner up: JoAnne Carner 1979: Amy Alcott (285). Runner up: Nancy Lopez 1978: JoAnne Carner (278). Runner up: Hollis Stacy 1977: Judy Rankin (214). Runner up: Pat Meyers, Sandra Palmer 1976: *Donna Caponi (212). Runner up: Judy Rankin 1975: *JoAnne Carner (214). Runner up: Carol Mann 1974: Carole Jo Callison (208). Runner up: JoAnne Carner 1973: *Jocelyne Bourassa (214). Runner up: Sandra Haynie, Judy Rankin 1972: Not Held. Runner up: 1971: Not Held. Runner up: 1970: Not Held. Runner up: 1969: Sandra Haynie (216). Runner up: Marilynn Smith, Kathy Whitworth 1968: Carol Mann (213). Runner up: Judy Kimball 1967: Carol Mann (210). Runner up: Margie Masters 1966: Kathy Whitworth (213). Runner up: Mickey Wright Previously known as Ladies' Supertest Open (1966-69), La Canadienne (1973), Peter Jackson Classic (1974-83), du Maurier Classic (1984-2000), Bank of Montreal Canadian Women's Open (2001-02), BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open (2003-05), CN Canadian Women's Open (2006-13). Top Contenders Lydia Ko 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: Won 2013: Won Karine Icher 2004: 2005: 2006: T-28 2007: T-50 2008: mc 2009: T-55 2010: T-8 2011: 2012: mc 2013: 2nd Brittany Lincicome 2004: 2005: T-22 2006: T-50 2007: T-39 2008: T-38 2009: 63rd 2010: T-15 2011: Won 2012: T-60 2013: T-3 I.K. Kim 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: T-43 2008: T-17 2009: 7th 2010: 6th 2011: T-49 2012: mc 2013: T-5 Suzann Pettersen 2004: mc 2005: 2006: 2007: T-10 2008: 7th 2009: Won 2010: T-2 2011: mc 2012: T-15 2013: T-7 Paula Creamer 2004: T-18 2005: 2006: 2007: 2nd 2008: T-8 2009: T-28 2010: T-15 2011: T-18 2012: T-60 2013: T-10 Inbee Park 2004: 2005: mc 2006: 2007: T-26 2008: T-21 2009: T-24 2010: T-28 2011: mc 2012: 2nd 2013: T-13 Mika Miyazato 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: mc 2010: T-15 2011: T-18 2012: T-15 2013: T-13 Angela Stanford 2004: T-37 2005: T-3 2006: 2nd 2007: T-10 2008: T-17 2009: T-2 2010: mc 2011: T-4 2012: T-26 2013: T-13 Na Yeon Choi 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: T-32 2009: T-24 2010: T-11 2011: T-6 2012: T-3 2013: T-17 Anna Nordqvist 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: T-8 2010: mc 2011: T-29 2012: T-6 2013: T-20 Cristie Kerr 2004: T-21 2005: 2006: Won 2007: T-50 2008: T-21 2009: T-18 2010: T-8 2011: T-4 2012: T-41 2013: T-20 Ai Miyazato 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: mc 2008: mc 2009: T-2 2010: T-15 2011: T-16 2012: mc 2013: T-20 Lexi Thompson 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: mc 2011: mc 2012: mc 2013: T-20 Yani Tseng 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: T-6 2008: 3rd 2009: T-33 2010: mc 2011: T-29 2012: T-35 2013: T-24 So Yeon Ryu 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: mc 2013: T-34 Shanshan Feng 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: T-52 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: mc 2012: T-55 2013: T-38 Katherine Kirk 2004: T-40 2005: 2nd 2006: mc 2007: mc 2008: Won 2009: mc 2010: T-37 2011: mc 2012: T-26 2013: T-41 Meena Lee 2004: 2005: Won 2006: 4th 2007: T-58 2008: T-10 2009: T-55 2010: T-21 2011: T-35 2012: T-26 2013: mc Karrie Webb 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: T-18 2008: T-17 2009: T-2 2010: T-60 2011: T-45 2012: T-26 2013: mc Lorie Kane 2004: T-5 2005: T-27 2006: T-16 2007: mc 2008: T-38 2009: mc 2010: T-11 2011: T-63 2012: mc 2013: mc Stacy Lewis 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: T-40 2010: mc 2011: T-2 2012: T-6 2013: wd NOTES: The LPGA moves north of the border to Canada this week for the 14th annual Canadian Pacific Women's Open. The top four players in the world are expected to compete - Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Lydia Ko and Suzann Pettersen.

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