The PGA Tour stays in Florida for the second World Golf Championships tournament in the last few weeks as the field tackles The Blue Monster at Trump National in Doral. Last year’s champion and seven-time winner at the Cadillac, Tiger Woods is the biggest question heading into the lead up to the event. If he’s in the field and his back allows him to play, Woods is a must own based on his history here, but his balky back may limit him. He’s discussed more below and stay tuned for updates on his status.
While Tiger didn’t finish last week, Rory struggled to the finish and ultimately let a win slip away as Russell Henley won a four-man playoff in a drama-filled Sunday at the Honda Classic. In our fantasy golf group, (details to join here) “Me and my trusty 5 iron” took the win for the week with a 214-point week including Henley and McIlroy on his team. Congrats to Gary on having the eighth-highest point total of any in the entire game! Overall, Team Tiger is in the top spot in our group after the first eight tournaments in the game.
In this ninth tournament, remember that there isn’t a cut since it is a limited field meaning you can take risks and be sure to get scores from your players throughout the whole week. Here are my picks for this week with a couple extra A-List options in case Tiger is unable to tee it up this week:
Matt Kuchar: In his five events this season on the PGA Tour, he has four top-10 finishes with his one outlier being a ugly missed cut at the Northern Trust Open. He bounced back with a nice run at the Match Play Championship before taking last week off. He has a nice history at this event as well. Last year he finished t35 but had three top eight finishes in the three previous years highlighting by a t3 in 2010. Kuchar should be among the leaders as they come down the stretch on Sunday if he can play like he did in the desert a couple weeks ago.
Tiger Woods: Tiger needs to be on your roster if he is able to give it a go this week. I’m planning on starting him on my bench just in case he struggles or is forced to withdraw, but without the cut there is less risk with including him on your roster. Try to save the Tiger start if possible, but not having him on your roster is too risky. He has an incredible history in this event at this event winning the event seven times since 1999 including last year when he shot a blistering -19 to win by two strokes.
Adam Scott: If Woods isn’t able to start or you decide he’s too risky, check out Adam Scott who finished t12 last week in his first tournament since early January and had a great history at the Blue Monster as well. Last week, he double-bogeyed back-to-back holes in the second round, but still managed a decent finish for the round and hopefully shook off the rust for this week. He finished tied for third last year in the Cadillac and has four other top-15 finishes over the last several years including a co-runner up finish back in 2006.
Luke Donald: Another option for the A-List is Donald who finished in the top ten at the Honda and had a nice start to the tournament with a 67-68-68 start to the week. At the Cadillac, he finished t43 last year after a pair of t6′s in 2010 and 2009. Last year, he had a tough second round or could have been in contention as he was the previous two years.
Dustin Johnson: Johnson has a pair of runner-up finishes in his last two stroke-play events. In the Cadillac, he finished t12 last season and was runner up in 2011 to Nick Watney. While Johnson hasn’t won yet this year, he’s in very good form and should be set up for a good finish this week.
Rory McIlroy: Don’t let last week’s last round keep him off your squad this week. Rory has lost under way more heart-breaking circumstances than last week and bounced back to play well soon after. His form is obviously there and last year he finished t8 at the Cadillac even when he was struggling. Along with last year’s top ten, Rory finished third in 2012 and was in the top ten in 2011 as well. I expect him to bounce back and be in the mix on Sunday again this week, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s the one hoisting the trophy on Sunday just a week after a tough collapse down the stretch.
Jordan Spieth: Spieth has become a regular on the PGA Tour leaderboards already even though he’s still a few months short of his 21st birthday. He hasn’t played this event in the past, but he’s worth a pick since there’s no risk of an MC forcing you to use a start if he isn’t close to the top of the leaderboard.
Jason Day: Day took last week off after winning the Match Play Championship and will look to take back-to-back WGC events this week at Doral. He hasn’t finished in the top ten at this event in the past, but he’s another risk worth taking since he’s in such great form he can contend any time he tees it up. Unless he or Spieth are in contention, I’ll try to save their starts but both could easily contend if they stay on the top of their games. Here are a couple other B-List options I like–Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Steve Stricker.
Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard finished with three solid rounds at the Honda going 68-68-67 after an opening round 72. He’s in great form and has a good history at the event as well. Last year his t3 matched his result in 2007 for his best finish since the event has been held at this course. He has a total of six top-ten’s at the event which was held on a number of courses around the world before settling at the Blue Monster.
Harris English: Both Harris English and Jimmy Walker have lit up the early PGA Tour season to earn their way to this event for the first time. Both are nice picks for this spot, but English looked better a couple weeks ago at the Match Play Championship taking out Rory McIlroy on his way to his sixth top-ten in his first ten events on this year’s wrap-around PGA Tour season. Walker isn’t the only other C-Lister I like–check out Graeme McDowell, George Coetzee, or Nick Watney.