The WGC Cadillac Championship | Thursday 05 March - Sunday 08 March | Blue Monster Course at Doral
In stark contrast to the Africa Open, the WGC Cadillac Championship has attracted a top class field this week and the golfing world’s attention will be focussed on Florida from Thursday for what promises to be a hotly contested affair. Having undergone extensive reconstruction over the past two years, this course is a different animal to that which the field would have become accustomed to and the low scores of the past will be a distant memory if all goes as planned. With water in play on more than half of the holes, wayward tee shots are punished severely and when you consider how long this course is, it’s no surprise that players often struggle to hit the fairway. Even once players find the safety of the fairway challenges remain; course management will be vital.
The key here seems to be knowing when to attack and when to play conservatively and anyone over-eager to attack greens could find themselves in trouble. It seems unlikely that anyone without a bit of current form will be able to find it on such a tough track so keep an eye on those who’ve found success over the past few weeks. That means that bigger prices should be avoided if you want to find a winner. So who will win on a course that finally lives up to its name?
To Win Outright
Rory McIlroy 11/2
Bubba Watson 16/1
Jason Day 16/1
Jordan Spieth 18/1
Dustin Johnson 20/1
Patrick Reed (25/1 a win, 11/2 a place)
Last year’s winner Patrick Reed can’t be ignored this time around and if all goes to plan he should be on track to successfully defend his title. He was in the mix for most of the Honda Classic last week until a wayward tee shot late on the final day put paid to any chance he had of winning. However, he played some superb golf throughout the four days and should be a real threat this week. He rarely puts a foot wrong nowadays and already has a win under his belt this year. The course suits his game to a tee and he’ll almost certainly be in contention come Sunday.
Jason Dufner (70/1 a win, 15/1 a place)
I mentioned in the introduction that it would be unlikely that a player available at long odds would win but I’m throwing caution to the wind and backing Jason Dufner in the hope that the injuries that plagued him for most of last season are now a thing of the past. That certainly looked to be the case last week in the Honda Classic where he was striking the ball as well as ever and he proved last year that he has what it takes to perform on this challenging layout. Over the years he has shined in the face of stiff competition and this week shouldn’t be much different.
Brooks Koepka (33/1 a win, 73/10 a place)
Brooks Koepka seems to be going from strength to strength and after a stellar 2014 season this talented golfer looks set to improve this year. A win in the Waste Management Open has placed the big hitter on the radars of most golf punters and although he hasn’t had great finishes in his last few starts he has showed flashes of brilliance. I’m hoping that he’ll arrive in Florida having shaken off any cobwebs and ready to dominate on the par 5s as he normally does. If that’s the case he’ll be a serious contender this week.
Bubba Watson (16/1 a win, 7/2 a place)
On long demanding courses there are few players who perform as consistently as Bubba Watson and this week he looks set to finish inside the Top 5 at the very least. One of the most consistent players on the tour, there’s a sense of excitement that follows Watson every time he tees the ball up and nowhere will that be more evident than in a tournament that rewards big hitters and draws large crowds. A solid few weeks have seen him finish inside the Top 10 more often than not and he almost claimed victory in the Phoenix Open. With his tournament form he looks set to go one better this time around and I’m backing Watson over McIlroy. Keep a close eye on Bubba this week, there’s no reason he won’t be near the top come Sunday afternoon.