Expert Picks for World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship
The first WGC event of the season is only two weeks back in the rearview mirror but they waste no time in returning to take golf's main stage with this week's Cadillac Championship. The first stroke-play event of the WGC series, the Cadillac Championship serves as one of the most illustrious non-major events of the PGA season, a field limited to approximately 75 golfers targeting invites for the elite from all of the international tours. Qualifications are constructed to include the top 50 players per the Official World Golf Rankings (as of March 7th), the top 30 players from the 2010 FedEx Cup Points List, the top 10 players from the FedEx Cup List through March 7th of 2011, the top 20 players from the final 2010 European Tour Order of Merit, the top 10 players from the European Tour Race to Dubai Standings in 2011 (as of February 28th), and the top two players from each of the international tour's 2010 Orders of Merit (Japan, Australian, Sunshine, and Asian Tours).
Since this events inception into the WGC series in 1999, several courses have served as host including the Valderrama Golf Club in Spain, the Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri, the Mount Juliet Conrad Estate in Thomastown, Ireland, the Capital City Club in Atlanta, Georgia, the Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco, California, The Grove in Hertfordshire, England, and the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Florida. Doral continues to serve as the host this season, welcoming the Cadillac Championship to the famed TPC Blue Monster course for the second consecutive season. Located near Miami and standing at an astounding 7,125 yards from the tournament tees, the TPC Blue Monster is one of the most challenging courses the professionals will face during the PGA season.
Originally designed by Dick Wilson, the TPC Blue Monster is known not only for its length but also for strategic bunkers and water located throughout the links, qualifying the TPC Blue Monster as a course requiring as much finesse as power. Undulating greens have been resurfaced for this year's Cadillac Championship, adding to the challenge that lies ahead. The 18th hole has been ranked by GOLF Magazine as one of the Top 100 Holes in the World. Like all of the TPC courses, the TPC Blue Mountain is open to the public, opening tee times to you and yours throughout the year.
Past WGC Cadillac Championship winners include Tiger Woods (a six-time winner at this event, taking the oversized check at various courses), Mike Weir, Geoff Ogilvy, Phil Mickelson, and defending champ Ernie Els.
Martin Kaymer [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #63
He's earned rank as the top golfer in the world for a reason. Kaymer is capable of taking any golf course on the planet into low scores and last season he was mounting his run to establish his place among the elite at this very course. Now he returns as the leader in the clubhouse.
Matt Kuchar [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #7
Kuchar has been as consistent as hoped to start 2010, and with recent pushes to compete for the top spot on final leaderboards along with an impressive showing at the TPC Blue Monster last season, we are dying to buy in again this season.
Lee Westwood [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #37
Westwood may have lost his grip on the world's top spot but it is not for a lack of effort or skill. He has the game to post low numbers at any course he hits, and while his performance at this event last season concerns, he's too good to ignore.
Luke Donald [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #27
The temptation to fire Donald out of the fantasy barrel this week is strong. He's playing extremely well, making consecutive WGC wins as easy to see as ever. He struggled on this track last season but there were signs of potential. Today, his potential is as strong as ever.
Ernie Els [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #34
Els has enjoyed this event for years, no matter the course. We should probably rank the defending champ higher but his recent work has been a bit too volatile for unquestioned support. He clearly connects with the TPC Blue Mountain, thus he deserves full consideration.
Paul Casey [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #100
Casey has yet to stake a claim on PGA Tour momentum this season but we know his skills are on point, we know (based on this push to win this event last season) he can put the TPC Blue Mountain to rest, and we know it's only a matter of time before he puts it all together.
Steve Stricker [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #15
Stricker has been a concern for fantasy owners this season, failing to post a beneficial finish since the season opener at the Sony Open. However, he has enjoyed this event and was extremely strong at the TPC Blue Mountain last year. It's his time to turn this around.
Graeme McDowell [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #14
McDowell has been highly volatile this season, but he closed the Honda Classic last week with an outstanding performance on Sunday and that, along with an impressive week of work at the CA Championship last season, has us ready to buy in this time around.
Charl Schwartzel [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #17
Schwartzel comes in with a hot hand, marking his strong performance at the TPC Blue Mountain last season as flag we don't want to ignore. He appears to be as viable an option for a fantasy owner seeking the key to success as any golfer in the field.
Tiger Woods [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #1
It may be the name or his long, illustrious history of dominance at this event that forces Tiger into our top ten, but we also recognize the risk of the selection. Every sign we appreciate points to Tiger, with one undeniable exception: recent performance.
Alvaro Quiros [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #119
Give this golf enthusiast one pick selection for the week and Quiros is on the short list. He put up an amazing fight at the TPC Blue Mountain last season and we've marveled at his recent efforts on the European Tour. Quiros may be the best value on the board this week.
Jim Furyk [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #22
We tend to lean towards a mix of power and finesse at this event but Furyk is one golfer who transcends those rules. His finesse is power, skills that put him among the elite no matter the venue (though this TPC course put him on the outs last year).