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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  • PGA European - Italian Open Preview

    Thursday, August 28th through Sunday, August 31st Course Info Site: Circolo Golf Torino, Fiano, Torino, Italy Course Architect: John Morrison (1956), Graham Cooke and Mario Croze -redesign Par: 72 Yardage: 7,208 Hole by Hole Front Nine: 36 3,555 Yds 1 - Par 5 511 Yds 2 - Par 4 414 Yds 3 - Par 4 412 Yds 4 - Par 4 423 Yds 5 - Par 3 178 Yds 6 - Par 4 466 Yds 7 - Par 4 398 Yds 8 - Par 3 195 Yds 9 - Par 5 558 Yds Back Nine: 36 3,653 Yds 10 - Par 4 427 Yds 11 - Par 4 427 Yds 12 - Par 5 531 Yds 13 - Par 3 186 Yds 14 - Par 4 371 Yds 15 - Par 5 593 Yds 16 - Par 3 220 Yds 17 - Par 4 465 Yds 18 - Par 4 433 Yds Tournament Info Year: 71st Television: Golf Channel - Thursday -- 5:30-7:30 a.m. (et), -- 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (et), - Friday -- 6-7:30 a.m. (et), 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. (et), - Saturday -- 7-11 a.m. (et), - Sunday -- 7-11:30 a.m. (et) Champion: Julien Quesne Runner Up: Steve Webster, David Higgins Tournament Record: 262 (Peter Alliss, 1935) 54-Hole Record: 194 (Hennie Otto, 2008) 36-Hole Record: 128 (Ian Poulter, 2002) Course Record: 66 (Romain Wattel and Scott Hend, 2013) Total Purse: $1,975,292 (1,500,000 euros) Shares: 2013 Final Leaderboard Julien Quesne 276 Steve Webster 277 David Higgins 277 Fredrik Andersson Hed 278 Nicolas Colsaerts 278 Felipe Aguilar 278 Emiliano Grillo 278 Six players at 279 Past Winners 2013: Julien Quesne (276). Runner up: Steve Webster, David Higgins 2012: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (264). Runner up: Garth Mulroy 2011: Robert Rock (267). Runner up: Gary Boyd, Thorbjorn Olesen 2010: Fredrik Andersson Hed (272). Runner up: David Horsey 2009: Daniel Vancsik (267). Runner up: Raphael Jacquelin, John Daly, Robert Rock 2008: Hennie Otto (263). Runner up: Oliver Wilson 2007: *#Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (200). Runner up: Markus Brier 2006: Francesco Molinari (265). Runner up: Anders Hansen, Jarmo Sandelin 2005: Steve Webster (270). Runner up: Anders Hansen, Bradley Dredge, Richard Finch 2004: *#Graeme McDowell (197). Runner up: Thomas Levet 2003: Mathias Gronberg (271). Runner up: Jose Manuel Lara, Colin Montgomerie, Ricardo Gonzalez 2002: #Ian Poulter (197). Runner up: Paul Lawrie 2001: Gregory Havret (268). Runner up: Bradley Dredge 2000: Ian Poulter (267). Runner up: Gordon Brand, Jr. 1999: Dean Robertson (271). Runner up: Padraig Harrington 1998: #Patrik Sjoland (195). Runner up: Jose Maria Olazabal, Joakim Haeggman 1997: Bernhard Langer (273). Runner up: Jose Maria Olazabal 1996: Jim Payne (275). Runner up: Patrik Sjoland 1995: Sam Torrance (269). Runner up: Jose Rivero 1994: Eduardo Romero (272). Runner up: Greg Turner 1993: Greg Turner (267). Runner up: Jose Coceres 1992: Sandy Lyle (270). Runner up: Colin Montgomerie 1991: Craig Parry (279). Runner up: Ian Woosnam 1990: Richard Boxall (267). Runner up: Jose Maria Olazabal 1989: Ronan Rafferty (273). Runner up: Sam Torrance 1988: Greg Norman (270). Runner up: Craig Parry 1987: *Sam Torrance (271). Runner up: Jose Rivero 1986: *David Feherty (270). Runner up: Ronan Rafferty 1985: Manuel Pinero (267). Runner up: Sam Torrance 1984: Sandy Lyle (277). Runner up: Bobby Clampett 1983: *Bernhard Langer (271). Runner up: Seve Ballesteros, Ken Brown 1982: Mark James (280). Runner up: Ian Woosnam, Bobby Clampett 1981: *Jose Maria Canizares (280). Runner up: Bobby Clampett 1980: Massimo Mannelli (276). Runner up: John Bland, Ken Brown 1979: Brian Barnes (281). Runner up: Dale Hayes 1978: Dale Hayes (293). Runner up: Tommy Horton, Vin Baker 1977: Angel Gallardo (286). Runner up: Brian Barnes 1976: Baldovino Dassu (280). Runner up: Carl Mason, Manuel Pinero 1975: Billy Casper (286). Runner up: Brian Barnes 1974: Peter Oosterhuis (249). Runner up: Dale Hayes, Johnny Miller 1973: Tony Jacklin (284). Runner up: Valentin Barrios 1972: Norman Wood (271). Runner up: Brian Huggett 1971: Ramon Sota (282). Runner up: Brian Barnes 1970: Not Held. Runner up: 1969: Not Held. Runner up: 1968: Not Held. Runner up: 1967: Not Held. Runner up: 1966: Not Held. Runner up: 1965: Not Held. Runner up: 1964: Not Held. Runner up: 1963: Not Held. Runner up: 1962: Not Held. Runner up: 1961: Not Held. Runner up: 1960: B.Wilkes (285). Runner up: Aldo Casera 1959: Peter Thomson (269). Runner up: A. Angelini 1958: Peter Alliss (282). Runner up: A. Angelini 1957: Harold Henning (273). Runner up: R. Cotton 1956: A.Cerda (284). Runner up: Flora van Donck 1955: Flora van Donck (287) - H. DeLamaze. Runner up: 1954: Ugo Grappasonni (272). Runner up: J. Jacobs 1953: Flora van Donck (267). Runner up: L. Faulkner 1952: E.Brown (273). Runner up: D. Rees 1951: J.Adams (289). Runner up: E. Brown, A. Angelini 1950: Ugo Grappasonni (281). Runner up: A. Angelini 1949: H.Hassanein (263). Runner up: Aldo Casera 1948: Aldo Casera (267). Runner up: P. Manca, Ugo Grappasonni 1947: Flory Van Donck (263). Runner up: Aldo Casera 1946: Not Held. Runner up: 1945: Not Held. Runner up: 1944: Not Held. Runner up: 1943: Not Held. Runner up: 1942: Not Held. Runner up: 1941: Not Held. Runner up: 1940: Not Held. Runner up: 1939: Not Held. Runner up: 1938: Flory van Donck (276). Runner up: P. Travaini 1937: M.Dallegagne (276). Runner up: Auguste Boyer 1936: Henry Cotton (268). Runner up: J. Ezar 1935: Peter Alliss (262). Runner up: Auguste Boyer 1934: N.Nutley (132). Runner up: Gonzales 1933: Not Held. Runner up: 1932: A.Boomer (143). Runner up: Auguste Boyer 1931: Auguste Boyer (141). Runner up: R. Golias 1930: Auguste Boyer (140). Runner up: A. Dallemagne 1929: R.Golias (143). Runner up: Auguste Boyer 1928: Auguste Boyer (145). Runner up: Loth 1927: Peter Alliss (145). Runner up: M. Dallemagne 1926: Auguste Boyer (147). Runner up: A. Ross 1925: Francesco Pasquali (154). Runner up: W.H. Jolly * - Won in Playoff # - Rain Shortened Formerly called BMW Italian Open (2009-12), Methorios Capital Italian Open (2008), Telecom Italia Open (2002-07), Atlanet Italian Open (2001), Fiat & Fila Italian Open (1999), Conte of Florence Italian Open (1996), Tisettanta Italian Open (1994), Lancia-Martini Italian Open (1990-93), Lancia Italian Open (1987-89), Italian Open (1971-86, 95, 98, 2000). Top Contenders Julien Quesne 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: mc 2011: 2012: mc 2013: Won Steve Webster 2004: 2005: Won 2006: mc 2007: mc 2008: T-23 2009: 2010: T-46 2011: T-33 2012: T-57 2013: T-2 David Higgins 2004: 2005: 2006: mc 2007: mc 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: 2013: T-2 Nicolas Colsaerts 2004: mc 2005: T-32 2006: T-12 2007: T-30 2008: 2009: 2010: T-3 2011: 2012: T-5 2013: T-4 F. Andersson Hed 2004: T-28 2005: mc 2006: 2007: T-3 2008: mc 2009: T-54 2010: Won 2011: T-15 2012: T-35 2013: T-4 Hennie Otto 2004: 2005: mc 2006: T-33 2007: 2008: Won 2009: mc 2010: T-7 2011: T-46 2012: T-22 2013: T-8 Francesco Molinari 2004: T-13 2005: T-17 2006: Won 2007: T-3 2008: mc 2009: T-6 2010: 2011: T-8 2012: T-46 2013: T-16 Matteo Manassero 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: T-25 2010: T-29 2011: T-8 2012: T-3 2013: T-42 Gregory Bourdy 2004: 2005: T-60 2006: T-33 2007: T-60 2008: T-30 2009: 2010: T-22 2011: T-11 2012: T-3 2013: T-42 Simon Dyson 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: wd 2011: 2012: 2013: T-47 Mathias Gronberg 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: T-42 2010: 2011: 2012: mc 2013: T-66 Jose M. Olazabal 2004: mc 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: 2011: 2012: T-63 2013: 70th R. Cabrera Bello 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: T-56 2008: T-51 2009: 2010: mc 2011: T-67 2012: 9th 2013: mc Robert Rock 2004: T-48 2005: T-37 2006: mc 2007: T-56 2008: T-51 2009: T-2 2010: T-17 2011: Won 2012: T-46 2013: mc Joost Luiten 2004: 2005: 2006: 2007: 2008: 2009: 2010: T-32 2011: 5th 2012: mc 2013: Stephen Gallacher 2004: T-48 2005: T-70 2006: 2007: 2008: mc 2009: mc 2010: mc 2011: 2012: 2013: NOTES: One of the most storied events on the European Tour schedule, the Italian Open takes center stage this week. This tournament dates back to 1925. Some of the European Tour's best are in the United States competing in the PGA Tour Playoffs. However, three of the top 50 players in the world are in the field - Stephen Gallacher (34), Italian Francesco Molinari (44) and Joost Luiten (50).

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