PGA – WGC-CADILLAC CHAMPIONSHIP PICKS

This week’s premiere PGA event is the WGC-Cadillac Championship played at the famous TPC Blue Monster course at Doral Golf Resort & Spa.

At 7,334 yards and containing long fairways, deep Bermuda rough, and an array of water hazards, Doral is a course which will demand length paired with supreme finesse from its champion.

MY PICKS

Robert Garrigus

Garrigus may not be the typical choice to win this prestigious event over the best players in the world.

He’s currently ranked #32 among active PGA players, and at 35 years old, has only 1 PGA tour win since he turned pro in 1997.

But I like where Garrigus’ game is right now.  I think 2013 will finally be this talented player’s year.

Lord knows if it’s not now, if may be never.

Garrigus was always very talented in the game of golf, but his diagnoses of attention deficit disorder in high school & past substance abuse problems affected his early professional golf career.

Now clean, married, and with new baby born in 2010, a more peaceful consistent life seems to have helped Garrigus to settle down.  And, it shows in his game.

Thus far this year, in all 4 events he’s entered, Garrigus has finished in the top 25.  He also had an excellent showing at the WGC-Accenture Match Play in which he beat Louis Oosthuizen in Round 2 and Frederik Jacobson in Round 3.

He is also currently ranked in the top 20 in the following categories:

  • Par 3 Performance: 1st
  • Going forthe Green (87.2%): 1st
  • Birdies (Per Round): 2nd
  • Bogie Avoidance:5th
  • Driving Distance (Yards Per) 303.7:  6th
  • Greens Hit in Regulation: 6th
  • Putting (Per Hole): 8th
  • Sand Saves: 7th
  • Eagles (Holes Per): 9th
  • Bounce Back:10th
  • Score Average: 12th
  • Rough Proximity: 14th
  • Ball Striking: 18th

The only area that may be concerning in Garrigus’ game, is accuracy off the tee.  It’s not stellar: (151st).  However, we’ve seen that lack of driving accuracy can be overcome by a player’s excellent short game and deft “feel”.  (Ex – Rory McIlroy ranked #156 in Driving Accuracy in 2012, yet finished with world ranking #1.)

Still, it seems that if Garrigus can shave some yardage off the tee and try to be more accurate instead of so long, all the pieces in his game will come together.

Well, there is that one last piece of mental ability to close out matches, which Garrigus has shown to waiver on in the past. At the 2010 St. Jude Classic, for instance, he had a three-shot lead going into the 72nd hole, but an ugly triple bogey 7 forced him into a three-way playoff with Lee Westwood and Robert Karlsson.  On the first playoff hole, he was eliminated.  Westwood went on to win the championship.

But, that was then.  This is now.  And, Garrigus can win big on the tour with his talent, newfound consistency, and a little more confidence.

Jason Day

It’s good to see this 25 year old supremely talented Aussie back in action.  After missing most of 2012 due to back issues and self-proclaimed “distractions”, it was frustrating for this fan to see him away from the course for so long, especially after what he accomplished in 2011.  Namely, two consecutive second place finishes at the 2011 Masters and the 2011 U.S. Open.

Now that 2013 has started, Day’s form seems to be returning to excellent stuff.

So far, he’s entered 4 tournaments, made all 4 cuts, and finished in the top 10 three times.  He also finished third at the WGC-Accenture Match Play where he took out Zach Johnson, Russell Henley, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell, and nearly had Matt Kuchar beaten.

Day’s statistics are generally very good in most areas of his game, but he still struggles with a bit of accuracy off the tee (175th) Ouch.  Seems to be an affliction of really long drivers.

  • Sand Saves: 2nd
  • Par 5 Birdies: 4th
  • Greens Hit in Regulation: 6th
  • Eagles (Holes Per): 10th
  • Bounce Back:15th
  • Greens in Reg: 16th
  • Driving Distance (Yards Per): 17th
  • Birdie Conversions: 18th
  • Birdies: 19th
  • Score Average: 20th
  • Putting (Per Hole): 21st

One can’t help but think that Day is on his way to another wonderful year where good things will happen for him.  To me, he’s one of the most exciting players on the PGA tour.

Russell Henley

23 years old.  American.  Rookie.  Won his first PGA start with a 3-shot victory at the Sony Hawaiian Open last month.  Potential?  And how.

So far this year, Henley’s all-around game looks good.  He entered 5 tournaments, made 4 cuts and won 1 event:

  • Putting: 5th
  • Eagles (Holes Per): 7th
  • Birdies: 7th
  • Ball Striking: 9th
  • Score Average: 9th
  • Birdie Conversions: 13th
  • Total Driving: 19th
  • Greens Hit in Regulation: 24th
  • Driving Accuracy: 40th
  • Driving Distance (Yards Per- 291): 59th

A drawback to some may be Henley’s inexperience on the big PGA stage.  But in a recent ESPN article by Farrell Evans, Henley acknowledged that having success (3 wins) on the Web.com tour where he spent the last 2 years after college was good for him.  “Once I get into a pressure situation where I know that I’m up, I’ve been good at getting the job done.”

Thus, I really like this kid’s game and his confidence.  He seems to have a no fear attitude.  He beat Charl Schwartzel at the WGC-Accenture Match Play last month in Round 1, and it took Jason Day 19 holes to beat him in Round 2.

Sky’s the limit for this kid whose putter will carry him through.

NOTABLES

Matt Kuchar – When you’re hot, you’re hot.  And, he is after his performance at WGC-Accenture Match Play.  He’s looking particularly solid at the big moments (#4 birdie conversions) and the putter looks decent.  He finished in the top 10 in this event last year.

Graeme McDowell – His putter is not looking decent (#152), but so many other areas are.  Notably- Driving accuracy (5th), Scrambling (2nd), Scoring Ave (3rd).  He was in contention at this event last year (T-13th). Have a good feeling about him lately.

Keegan Bradley – With his positive attitude and effort, this kid should be considered a contender every tournament he enters.  For this weekend, Keegan’s length off the tee should help him.  But, he needs to get that stink eye going and improve his putting to put himself in contention more.  He may also want to consider moving to a shorter putter to take away all the distractions.

 


Sources :

WGC-Cadillac Course: http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/cadillac-championship/course.html
WGC-Cadillac Field: http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/cadillac-championship/field.html
Golfweek.com Pairings: http://golfweek.com/news/2013/mar/05/pairings-wgc-cadillac-championship-doral/

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