2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship Betting Preview

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy (Courtesy: Zimbio.com)

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy (Courtesy: Zimbio.com)

The newly revamped TPC Blue Monster at Trump National Doral plays host this week to a loaded WGC field, as Tiger Woods, bad back and all, will try and defend his title at the 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship.

2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship Fact Sheet

  • Course: TPC Blue Monster at Trump National Doral
  • Location: Doral, Florida
  • Yardage: 7,481 yards, par 72
  • Defending Champion: Tiger Woods
  • Five Consensus Favourites: Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia

TV Schedule:

  • Thursday – 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Friday – 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Saturday – 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM ET (Golf Channel) & 2:00 to 6:00 PM ET (NBC)
  • Sunday – 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET (Golf Channel) & 3:00 to 7:00 PM ET (NBC)

Key Storyline(s) This Week

  1. How’s Tiger’s back? After withdrawing Sunday at the Honda, we’re still not sure if Tiger’s going to tee it up, but the bet is that he will try and give it a go. Caddie Joe Lacava was spotted on the course on Monday mapping everything out. Despite winning on the layout four times, there have been some renovations to the course and things are supposed to be playing quite a bit different than they have in the past. Even if he doesn’t play, it’s a story, but I’m betting on him being out there on Thursday.
  2. The course renovations have been receiving rave reviews from those who have seen it, which include a few players and select media members who were invited to the unveiling a few weeks ago. More on the course in a second.
  3. Rory McIlroy has posted three straight top-10’s here and has been on fire despite pretty much giving the Honda away on Sunday. It’s going to be very interesting to see how he rebounds.
  4. Victor Dubuisson is teeing it up for the first time since his match play extravaganza, and Justin Rose is back after taking last week off with a recurring shoulder problem.
  5. Lastly, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson haven’t done much of anything in 2014 and both are coming in with relatively little attention. These guys have to get it going at some point, right?

TPC Blue Monster at Trump National Doral

As mentioned above, Donald Trump and Gil Hanse went to work immediately after the 2013 event on restoring Doral and attempting to bring some teeth back to a layout that, if we’re being honest here, had gotten a little flat in recent years. Trump’s goal was to “bring the blue” back to the Blue Monster, meaning more water and that’s exactly what has happened here. For what it’s worth, Hanse says that a little too much is being made of the changes and that viewers will likely not even notice much of what has been done in the last twelve months. For more information on the $200 million investment made and what’s been going on, Golf Digest talked with Hanse and the official WGC site has a full course gallery with all of the changes.

Thoughts On The Favourites

  • Rory McIlroy: I’ve already covered Rory up above, but he really has been on fire in recent months. In his last eight stroke play events, he’s only been outside of the top-10 one time. Over that stretch, he’s played 32 rounds of stroke play, and only four of them have been over par.
  • Adam Scott: Scott’s been playing well too, with only one of his last seven starts resulting in a finish outside of the top-10, and that was last week at the Honda Classic where he ended up tied for 12th. Not too bad considering that it was his first start in almost two months. Last year, he fired a final round 64 to get into a tie for 3rd.
  • Tiger Woods: He would be the runaway favourite if not for that back injury. He’s currently sitting at roughly 15-1, and before you write him off, consider this: the last time that he withdrew from an event, he won his next start.
  • Dustin Johnson: If you ignore the match play where DJ lost again in the first round, and you have a player that hasn’t finished outside of the top-12 since the BMW last September. Still though, one lone top-10 here in his five starts and the fact that his putter remains the big issue at a course that just re-did all 18 greens leads me to believe that I should take a pass.
  • Sergio Garcia: There’s an argument to be made that Sergio is the most consistent player on the planet right now, which is an amazing development. Think about these stats: eleven straight top-20’s dating back to the 2013 Deutsche Bank and since the 2012 Wyndham, he’s finished inside the top-25 in 31 of his 37 starts. He hasn’t had the best of times here at Doral though, with only two top-10’s in nine appearances, but he did finish tied for third with Scott last year.

Suggested Plays

Tiger Woods (Best Odds 15-1 at BetVictor)

Generally, I have a rule that I don’t take players coming off of an injury, but I also have another rule that says if you can get Tiger Woods at this kind of price at a course that he dominates, you take it. This very well could blow up in my face, but 15-1 is too good to pass up at Doral.

Luke Donald (Best Odds 45-1 at 888 Sport)

Donald is one of the players that got a sneak peak at the course a few weeks ago and came away with high praise, but that’s not the reason to like him this week. He’s had a pretty rough go over the last year or so, but things are starting to look up for him after last week’s T8 at the Honda. Decent record at Doral which includes back to back top-10’s in 2011 and 2012.

Jim Furyk (Best Odds 55-1 at bet365)

Furyk usually plays well at Doral and he put on a much better showing at the match play than I thought he would. Don’t like him to win this week, but on an each-way play, he has good value in the mid-50’s.

Rickie Fowler (Best Odds 66-1 at Ladbrokes)

Fowler got into the top-10 here in his first start back in 2011, but since then, one bad round has been his undoing at Doral, as it seems to be wherever he plays. The performance at the match play, and his recent work with Butch Harmon, have many people believing that he’s turned a corner. I’m not sure if he’s there just yet, but he’s looking better and better. The deep field is allowing for good value numbers like this one.

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