The TPC Blue Monster at Doral once again plays host to the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2013. A world-class field of 65 golfers will be taking their talents to South Beach in what promises to be yet another thrilling event.
World No. 5 Justin Rose is the defending champion, as he narrowly avoided a playoff with reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson last season. Rose is fresh off of a tie for fourth at the Honda Classic and has plenty of momentum in a bid to repeat in Miami.
Below are tee times, when and where to catch the action, some of the best groups to watch for the first two days and a prediction as to who will come out on top.
Location and Tee Times
Where: TPC Blue Monster at Doral, Miami, Fla.
When: Thursday, March 7 to Sunday, March 10
Tee Times: Click here for Thursday and Friday tee times, courtesy of WorldGolfChampionships.com.
Thursday: Golf Channel, 2-6 p.m. ET
Friday: Golf Channel, 2-6 p.m. ET
Saturday: Golf Channel, 12-2 p.m. ET; NBC, 2-6 p.m. ET
Sunday: Golf Channel, 12-2 p.m. ET; NBC, 2-6 p.m. ET
Groups to Watch
No. 9: Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker
Neither Watson nor Stricker were in action last week, and Mickelson has taken two weeks off since the Northern Trust Open.
It should be interesting to see what kind of form this triumvirate of American Ryder Cup teammates are in after a bit of a break. Stricker made it to Round 4 of the match-play event, only to lose to Ian Poulter. He is taking on a very light schedule in 2013, but he did post a tie for eighth here a year ago.
Bubba Golf is fun to watch for obvious reasons. No one can work the ball as much as Watson can, which is especially difficult in the modern era given the enhanced technology designed for players to hit it straighter.
As mentioned, he nearly won this thing in 2012, and the layout sets up nicely for his power-based game.
Then there's Phil the Thrill. No one really knows what he brings to the table each week, but his dominant victory in Scottsdale earlier in the season proves that he can still be unstoppable once he gets it going.
No. 12: Rickie Fowler, Thorbjorn Olesen and Matteo Manassero
Golf enthusiasts will be licking their chops at this pairing of immensely talented youngsters.
Fowler is going to undoubtedly attract the most fanfare due to his popularity in the States. But Olesen and Manassero are two of Europe's legitimate rising stars.
To U.S. spectators, Olesen is perhaps best known for being paired with Tiger Woods in the third round of the 2012 British Open. The Dane actually held his own very nicely, posting a one-over 71 to Woods' 70 on a pressure-packed Saturday at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
As for Manassero, he will still be in his teens for over another month. That's ridiculous, considering he's won in each of his first three years on the European Tour and netted the 2010 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.
This tournament marks Manassero's third consecutive stop on the PGA, where he has made little noise so far. If there's any hole to poke in his game, it's that he isn't quite as powerful as many players.
Length isn't really an issue at the Blue Monster, and with Manassero's shot-making abilities and sensational putter, he could very well be a factor at a course that will demand a lot of birdies.
No. 15: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald
The top three players in the world rankings will be playing together, and there will be no shortage of intrigue. McIlroy withdrew from the Honda Classic in the middle of Round 2 due to wisdom tooth pain, and he has still yet to play a full four-round stroke play event in 2013.
McIlroy did finish in solo third at the Cadillac in 2012, though, firing a round of 67 that Sunday. But there will be plenty of persisting questions surrounding his change to Nike equipment, criticism over his withdrawal and other scrutiny throughout the week. A top-10 finish or better would be a wonderful remedy.
Woods last won this event in 2007, and after dominating the World Golf Championships in the beginning, it's been 10 such events since he last triumphed (h/t ESPN via AP).
That could serve as fodder for those who believed Woods isn't completely "back" yet, or it could be a testament to how much parity there is in golf today.
Although he may be viewed as a third wheel given the star power and major championship prowess of his fellow competitors, there is no reason to discount Donald. The third-ranked player has beaten plenty of quality fields in the past, including winning the match play in 2011. He also finished tied for sixth here last year with quality rounds of 70, 68 and two 69s on the weekend.
Winner: Keegan Bradley
The man who joined Watson in the final group on Sunday in 2012 was Bradley. After opening with an eagle and looking to take control, he slowly fell apart. The disappointing finish culminated in a back-nine score of five-over 41, dropping him all the way back to a tie for eighth.
There is reason to believe in Bradley this time around once again. An impressive display in Palm Beach Gardens got him a tie for fourth, so he is in strong form entering this tournament.
Until that final round at Doral last year, Bradley had only made one bogey for the entire week. So he definitely knows how to get around this golf course—it's just a matter of keeping it up for all four days.
It's not as though the pressure overwhelmed him, because this is the 2011 PGA Champion we're talking about. Plus, he went on to win the WGC event at Firestone later in the year, proving he can close the deal in this type of atmosphere as well.
Getting up and down around this track is also not much of a problem for Bradley. He was 21-for-21 in scrambling at one point in last year's tournament before finally unraveling on the final day.
As Shane Bacon of Yahoo! points out, Americans have won every PGA Tour event thus far in 2013. Bradley will continue that trend, because he is one of the more clutch and explosive players on the tour in terms of his ability to get on a birdie binge.
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