Wednesday, 5 March 2014

WGC Cadillac Championship 2014

The 2nd of the WGC events takes centre stage this week at the newly re-vamped Blue Monster Course at the Trump International at Doral, Florida. Over $200M has been spent re-shaping, redefining and essentially toughening up the course since Tiger won by 2 shots here 12 months ago on a score of -19. There’s water everywhere now and there’s bigger greens, so all the known reads from years gone by should count for nothing this week. We’ll know soon enough what the player approach to the new course will be as the first hole now appears to be a lot more challenging than previously and it’ll be interesting to see the score stats on this hole compared to previous opening rounds. But, in conclusion, we definitely have a new course, it remains to be seen does it finally live up to its name as being a monster, at 7600 yards, it should be.

 It’s a highly competitive event this week with so many players in form, and therefore this could go to anyone. Is Tiger fit enough to compete and can Rory bounce back from a very disappointing final round last Sunday?  If he takes the positive from that fantastic 2nd shot onto the 72 hole, he will be ready for this one no doubt but, of course, us punters can’t back him with any level of certainty with a doubt of his ability to close the deal at the minute. He could easily have 3 wins under his belt in 2014, he should really have 2 in his locker but he doesn’t! So is there value to be had this week? Given the field, there has to be, and whether it is a case of taking a fair price or backing players that are considered over-priced this week, it will be challenging for nay punter to find the winner. I am looking at players that have both recent form and Doral form to some extent. It’s an event where the cream normally rises to the top and as per shortlist that I tweeted Monday; it’s these players that I’m hoping can get in the mix come Sunday.
I don’t normally back Henrik Stenson but he’s over-priced for me this week. Of course, most recent form suggests he is not playing his best but if we go back to end of 2013 the Swede was in brilliant form and despite changes (clubs etc) he has been working away on his game and will be well freshened having spent time in Florida leading up to this in the company of his tour buddies, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter. Gmac’s BBC blog post the other day did suggest that the players are really relaxed this week which for me could really be the key to taking on the re-vamped course and  at the price available, Stenson cannot be ignored.

I’ll echo that again with the aforementioned Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter. The latter may not be as prolific in the strokeplay events on the PGA tour but he has the game to score well this week. He did suffer an early exit at the recent matchplay but seems to be in good shape to challenge here; after all he does have decent form in both WGC events and in Florida. I think he’s worth chancing here. Graeme McDowell had a disappointing week last week but he’ll be up for it considering the mates are playing too. It’s a local event for him and has spent recent days playing rounds of golf with his Dad, will be really relaxed and could be a big contender. 5th last year and a player that is becoming an ever present on big tournament leaderboards, GMAC is a definite inclusion on the staking plan.  I’ve read somewhere that 20 from the last 24 winners here and either lived in Florida at the time of their win or had won in Florida prior.
I’m sidestepping Jason Dufner this week and I hope I don’t regret it. He made the shortlist based on price, thinking he was a bit big but changes to the green could impact on his suspect putting so he’s reluctantly left out to accommodate a punt on Charl Schwartzel. The former Masters champion is playing well of late and has been for quite some time and could very well be simmering for a long awaited win on US soil. Everything about Doral suits his game and he’s included too. I expect a strong showing.

My final addition to the staking plan is a play on Kevin Streelman who continues to represent some value on the books. Quite capable of winning any given week and his price really is too big.

Staking Plan (8 pts/units)

1 pt WIN Stenson @ 41.00

0.5 pts WIN Poulter @ 101.00

1 pt e/w  McDowell @ 46.00

1 pt WIN Schwartzel @ 46.00

.50 pts WIN Streelman @ 150/1

 TOP 10

1 pt Poulter @ 9.00

1 pt Streelman @ 11.00

1 pt Schwartzel @ 4.33