FANTASY GOLF: Phil Mickelson & Rory McIlroy set to take over Cadillac Championship
Defending Champ: Tiger Woods
Not many associate the beginning of March with golf excitement, yet the fallout from the Honda Classic provided a Mia Wallace-like shot of adrenalin' to the sport. Except golf received its dose because of a combination of injuries and meltdowns, not an unfortunate case of snorting heroin after mistaking it for cocaine. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then consider watching better movies.
Sunday at PGA National was shaping up to be the round of the year; it had everything golf fans crave. Tiger Woods played himself back into contention after posting the low Saturday round, but would need to card a circa-2012 Sunday 62 to track down Rory McIlroy, who’d been on cruise control through three days. It should have been epic. And it was, but in an M. Night Shyamalan kind of way – SWERVE!!! Tiger labored his way through the front nine, leading to one of the most hilarious hashtags of the year c/o Alex Myers - #79Watch. He eventually withdrew with a back injury, which may prevent him from defending his title at Doral this week.
So, with Tiger out of the way, McIlroy seemed primed to claim his second Honda title in the past three years. Until he entered that pesky Bear Trap. Rory doubled 16, following that up with bogey on 17. That’s bad. Worse than potassium benzoate, even. He did have an eagle attempt on 18 for the win, but slipped it just south of the hole, forcing him into a fatal four-way with Russell Knox, Ryan Palmer and Russell Henley. Henley ended up with an anticlimactic 3-foot tap in for birdie on the first playoff hole.
Normally, we’d get hyped up for a day then that excitement would fade. But not this week, everyone (and more) is back on the course Thursday for the Cadillac Championship. Bless you, WGC. Although, this isn’t the same Blue Monster you’ve become accustomed to over the years.
Gil Hanse (designer of the 2016 Olympic venue) has given Doral a complete makeover. All the greens have been altered and the course has been lengthened, so while it may look the same as always, the play will be completely different. I’d explain this in detail, but Hanse does a better job of that.
The main thing you need to know: Long bombers and experience with the course will prove to be the biggest advantages. Oh, and don’t take Tiger if he plays. Back problems are nothing to fool around with, take it from someone who once threw his out taking laundry out of the dryer. It’s not worth risking the WD, and a big fat zero.
HIT THE LINKS
MORE TIGER!!! Can all his injury issues be traced back to the weight room?
With a win, Adam Scott can overtake Tiger as the world’s top ranked player.
Rory blew it, Tiger pulled out and Henley won; but the big story of the week should have been Paula Creamer’s 75-foot walk off eagle putt (in a playoff!!!) to notch her first win in four years.
Paula wasn’t the only golfer getting the four-year monkey off their back, Ross Fisher (ya, he’s still alive) claimed victory for the first time since the those uneventful Olympics in Vancouver.
Former PGA Championship winner Steve Elkington had some disparaging words for Michael Sam over the weekend. Apparently, Elk thinks all gay people carry handbags. On a related note, he thinks all of Europe is gay.
The world’s best are at Doral. The world’s not best are playing in the Puerto Rico Open.
An all Par-3 event? Maybe.
How did Henley end up as the last man standing at PGA National? Let the numbers reveal the answer.
Phil Mickelson – Devotes know my distain for Hefty, but every Fantasy sport is about being objective. I can’t let my personal hatred cloud what should be a winning pick. Phil’s posted capricious results at Doral over the years, but did managed a T3 last season. However, that’s not the important thing. No, when Hanse asked for player input on his redesign over the past two years, Mickelson was the only Tour member to constantly give feedback. Meaning, he has a working knowledge of the course that the other players simply don’t. It’s the little advantages that make Phil a solid pick. Plus, many are going to pass on him in a star studded “A-List” this week.
Sergio Garcia – You could have watched every televised second of the Honda Classic and potentially not got a glimpse of Sergio. And he still came eighth. It’s been that kind of year for the Spaniard. He’s been a Top 10 machine. No need to stop using him while he’s this hot.
Keegan Bradley – After abstaining in 2011, Keegs has notched back-to-back Top 10s at the Cadillac. Parlay that with his quality play so far in 2014, and he’s a must-have.
Adam Scott – A lot like Sergio, the 2013 Masters champ didn’t make much of a ruckus at PGA National. Probably because Scott walked away Sunday with his worst finish of the year - T12. That’s his floor right now. Roll with him every time he laces up the soft spikes.
Steve Stricker – Stricker may not play 10 events all season, so you have to use him every time he’s in the field to get your value. And in case you forgot, he earned a silver medal on this site last year, and a T8 in 2012.
Graeme McDowell – I’m fading the long bomber strategy for the short hitting G MAC. What he lacks off the tee is more than made up with one of the best all around fairway-to-hole games in golf. He putts well, strikes irons even better, but what separates McDowell from the rest of the field is his tenacity. G MAC doesn’t give strokes away, ever. And while Doral donates its share of birdies to the field, it has enough danger to sink even the most composed not players. Usually in water. That won’t happen to McDowell, though. Which should have him on the first page of the leaderboard all weekend.
Dustin Johnson – The world’s second greatest soon to be son-in-law (after Pauly Shore) has played four stroke events in 2014, which have resulted in a win, two seconds and a sixth. You’d be nuts to keep him off your squad.
Rory McIlroy – Don’t let last week deter you, Rory’s fine, especially at Doral. The past three years he has three Top 10s. He’ll make it four.
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