WGC-Cadillac Championship 2014: The Biggest Winners and Losers from Trump Doral
Patrick Reed trumped both the world-class field and the newly elongated Blue Monster at the WGC-Cadillac Championship for his third victory in the last eight months and a whopping $1.5 million in prize money.
The 23-year-old Reed overcame wind and water at the 7,400-yard Trump National Doral in Miami, Fla. where some of golf’s most prominent players had trouble staying under par. He had previously won the 2014 Humana Challenge and the 2013 Wyndham Championship.
Ranked 44th in the world, Reed beat out almost everyone in front of him on that coveted list, including Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Jamie Donaldson, who were breathing down his neck Sunday.
Tiger Woods, hindered by an aching back, could not put together two good rounds in a row and ended in a tie for 25th place while shooting a birdie-less 78 on the final day.
With its top-notch field of competitors, the Cadillac Championship had its share of winners and losers while providing a preview of the upcoming Masters.
Winner: Jamie Donaldson
Donaldson played pretty flawless golf all week and was within one stroke of tying Reed with a couple of holes to play. Were it not for a bogey five on the last hole, he might have sent the tournament into a playoff.
The 38-year-old Donaldson, who had dropped from the golf scene due to a bad back, has resurfaced as a compelling world competitor with five wins to his name.
Loser: Henrik Stenson
Henrik Stenson has yet to show the magic he had last year when he won the FedEx Cup.
Other than his three-under 69 on the final day, he played mediocre golf at Doral.
He added insult to injury when he shanked a shot as bad as any duffer from 138 yards out on the second hole on the first day, sending the ball dead right.
The third-ranked player in the world has been playing anything like it as his short season includes a missed cut at the Honda Classic and two finishes well out of the money.
Winner: The Blue Monster
The revamped Trump National Doral course scared the heck out of the pros this week, gobbling up 113 balls on Friday alone—more than all the balls lost last year.
Relentless 30 mph winds buffeted the course Friday and sent scores soaring with only three players breaking par.
The players and the commentators were not too happy about Donald Trump's effort to make things tougher, descrying it as "tough" and "unfair," via Joe Passov of Golf.com.
With the second richest purse on the tour at $9 million, perhaps it should be both of those.
Loser: Ian Poulter
Golf’s perennial bad boy is an expert at using Twitter to smirk his way through a tournament.
"Playing with Matsuyama tomo. He buried his putter in the 13th green 5ft from the hole. Referee had to repair the crater. Because he didn't," Ian Poulter wrote on his Twitter account (via Bob Harig of ESPN).
When asked by a Twitter follower whether he would "speak to him like a man or just blast him on Twitter like all the other keyboard warriors," Poulter replied, "I can't wait to."
Matsuyama later apologized for his lack of etiquette, but it is Poulter who should be ashamed of his backhanded way of admonishing the young Japanese player.
Winner: Dustin Johnson
Johnson came out firing on all cylinders on the final day with an eagle on the first hole, but he could not finish strongly.
One of the few players who did not seem intimidated by the Blue Monster's length, Johnson came very close to passing Reed Sunday. In typical gunslinger fashion, he got too aggressive on the 18th hole and ended with a double bogey and a tie for fourth place.
Johnson leads the PGA Tour in greens hit in regulation and has been playing excellent golf of late, including his second-place finishes at The Northern Trust and AT&T Pebble Beach Open.
He should be one of the favorites at the Masters.
Loser: Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker
Doral got the best of two of golf's best competitors.
Jim Furyk shot a very uncharacteristic 18-over par and tied for 62nd place.
Meanwhile, Steve Stricker went 14-over for the tournament that included only one round under par.
Winner: Bubba Watson
Watson is playing some of the best golf on the tour and made a valiant effort to win at Doral this week.
At one-over par going into Sunday, he proceed to light up the course by shooting a four-under 68, coming within a stroke of the lead.
He has finished in the top 10 in five out of his last six tournaments including a win at the Northern Trust Open.
The 2012 Masters champion is definitely peaking at the right time.
Loser: Tiger Woods
For a minute, it looked like Woods wouldn't make the list on the downside.
He came out of the gates with an awful 76 on the first day—not how he had wanted to rebound from his injury-plagued performance at the Honda Classic where he had to walk off due to back spasms.
Then, on Saturday, he went out and shot the best round of the tournament, a stunning 66 on a windless Miami day.
He was primed to make a move Sunday, but his body let him down. His 78 was the first birdie-less round of his vaunted career, as Harig notes.
It looks like Woods could be in for some rehab before he is back to playing great, sustained golf by Masters time.