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Cadillac Championship

Tournament Preview

Tiger Woods has never been one to shy away from competition, and he's been getting back treatment this week to get into playing shape to defend his title at the World Golf Championships - Cadillac Championship, which kicks off Thursday at the Trump National Doral's TPC Blue Monster at Doral in Florida.

Designed by Dick Wilson, the par-72 course is 7,288 yards long, but underwent a major renovation immediately after last year's tournament.

Course architect Gil Hanse made change to a large number of holes including the following:

No. 1 - Lengthened by 70 yards. Added large center line fairway bunker.

No. 5 - Lengthened 40 yards and tee shot altered by raising grade of tee shot and bunkers.

No. 7 - Entire hole shifted right and trees removed to bring lake into play.

No. 8 - Green moved 70 yards and a lake (shared by No. 10) installed.
No. 9 - Entire hole rebuilt. Tee box on former green of No. 8. Hole is now played over water.

No.10 - Green pushed back 80 yards, now sits on a plateau with significant contour
No. 16. - Trees removed to offer golfers the temptation of going for the green on their opening drives.

Woods has made a mockery of the tournament on the whole, winning it seven times in its 14 years of existence.

Only Ernie Els (twice) has won it more than once among all other active players.Woods fired a 19-under 269 to take the title by two strokes a year ago.

 The prize money is up to a total of $9 million this year, along with 550 FedEx Cup points on the line.

The weather may play a factor in the early rounds, as isolated thunder storms are expected on both Thursday and Friday. It will be Florida weather overall, however, with highs between 77 and 84 all four days.

First tee times on Thursday are at 11 a.m. Eastern, with Kevin Streelman, Scott Hend and Darren Fichardt in the first group on the front nine, and Harris English, Jonas Blixt and Brendon de Jonge out on the back nine.

Groups to watch with tee times include:

11:22 a.m. - Russell Henley, Richard Sterne, Miguel Jimenez - Henley fresh off his playoff win at the Honca Classic.

11:33 a.m. - Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth - Not a lot of total American groups on the first day because of the inclusion of so many Euro Tour and other players, but this one, featuring three young studs, is appealing.

11:44 a.m. - Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy - No big deal, just two guys with multiple Majors and the winner of last month's match play at Accenture.

11:55 a.m. - Bill Haas, Ernie Els, Francesco Molinari - Els is the only multi-time winner at Doral other than Tiger Woods.
12:28 p.m. - Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Sergio Garcia.

12:39 p.m. - Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson - Wow, just wow.

03/06/14, Thursday

As suspected, it was the rain that got the best of the competition on Day One at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral in the WCG Cadillac Championship.

Frequent downpours saw to it that exactly six players out of the crowded international field actually finish their rounds; one of those six being American Harris English, who notched five birdies in his first 12 holes before slowing down with bogeys on No. 16 and 18 to finish with a 3-under 69.

Four other players were also at 3-under when play was suspended: Americans Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan and Patrick Reed, and Italy's Francesco Molinari.

Dufner looked in position to torch the course early on, starting on the back nine and striking four straight birdies between holes 11 and 14.

He was within two holes of finishing when play was suspended.

Mahan was through 14, having birdied No. 11 and 12. Like Dufner, Molinari started off red-hot, with four birdies in his first five holes on the back nine.

His 3-under came with five holes to play. Reed was in the best position to do more damage, getting to 3-under through 11 holes.

A second host of familiar names sat at 2-under including last week's Honda Classic winner Russell Henley; fellow Americans Matt kuchar, Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson; South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen; and Masters defending champion Adam Scott.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who led the Honda Classic for three days before losing in a four-man playoff last week, is one of seven players tied for 13th at 1-under. With 14 holes in the books, McIlroy's scorecard is a minefield of birdies (5) and bogeys (4).

Also at 1-under is Jimmy Walker, who has already notched three tournament victories this season.

A throng of 18 players at even par includes 2013 Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth (through 15); 2013 FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson (through 10) and British Open champion Phil Mickelson (through 14).

World No. 1 Tiger Woods continued his slow start to the season, making it through 10 holes at 2-over to sit tied for 47th.

03/07/14, Friday

Day One belonged to the rain at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in Doral, Florida; Day Two was owned by the wind.

Only three players out of 68 finished the second round under par, and none of them are tied for the lead after 36 holes.

The four men in front are all Americans: Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson and Hunter Mahan are all 1-under for the first two days of action. Reed was 3-over on the day, the other three men all 2-over.

Because of Thursday's downpour, most of the field completed its first round on Friday morning, with Reed in first place after firing an opening-round 68.

Reed fought off the wind for most of the second round, sitting at even par through 12 holes, but bogeys on 13, 14 and 18 sent him to 3-over for the round.

Kuchar's game was like the wind - sometimes calm, sometimes blowing all over the place. Kuchar hit four birdies and six bogeys en route to a 2-over 74.

Mahan's round was even wilder, two birdies, three bogeys, a triple bogey 6 on the par-3 No. 4 and an eagle 3 on the par-5 No. 8.
Four more players are a stroke back at even par through 36 holes, including former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who led the Honda Classic for three rounds a week ago before falling apart and losing in a four-man playoff.

McIlroy shot a 2-over 74 after hitting a 70 on Thursday.

In the mix with McIlroy are Italy's Francesco Molinari, Graeme McDowell and Jamie Donaldson.

Donaldson shot the best round of the day, a 2-under 70 aided by the fact that he only hit one bogey. McDowell achieved the same feat to fire a 1-under 71.

Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson round out the Top 10 at 1-over. Watson fired an even par 72, Johnson was 3-over at 75.

The only other player to do better than par was American Chris Kirk, who shot a 1-under 71 to climb from 47th to a tie for 11th at 2-over for the tournament. Kirk had five birdies, the most on the day.

Scores in the mid-to-high 70s were the standard on the day.

PGA Champion Jason Dufner followed up his Day One 69 with a 5-over 77, staggering to five bogeys between No. 5 and No. 11.
World No. 3 Henrik Stenson was all over the place en route to a 4-over 76 that left him 5-over for the tournament.

Stenson had four birdies, but also a pair of double bogeys.

World No. 1 Tiger Woods notched a 73 after his rough start 76 on Day 1.

Woods looked ready to race to the top of the leaderboard when he hit back-to-back birdies on No. 10 and 11 to reach 3-under, but struggled down the stretch with bogeys on four of his final six holes.

Fellow multi-time Major winner Phil Mickelson looked like he was playing himself completely out of the tournament to start Round 2, striking three straight double bogeys on holes 2-4.

He made a remarkable turnaround, with four birdies over the next seven holes on his way to a 3-over 75 that left him tied for 25th, just four strokes of the lead.

03/08/14, Saturday
Patrick Reed's 3-under 69 on Saturday at the WCG-Cadillac Championship allowed him to break a four-way tie for first and take the lead headed into the final 18 holes.

But watch out, there's a Tiger in the tall grass.

After two very ho-hum rounds, No. 1 Tiger Woods fired a round-low 6-under 66 to surge from 25th to a tie for fourth, just three strokes off the lead.

Reed was 1-over through seven holes before eagling No. 8 and adding back-to-back birdies on No. 10 and 11.

He leads Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan by two strokes. Mahan was tied for the lead after two rounds, and added a 1-under 71. Dufner, the winner of the PGA Championship a year ago, fired a 4-under 68 to rise from 11th.

Dufner got off to a slow start, 2-over through four holes, then rattled off six birdies between No. 5 and 12.

Woods was a birdie machine, hitting eight of them against just two bogeys. Jamie Donaldson is also 1-under after firing a 71. Miguel Jimenez, Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson are tied for sixth, followed by a quintet of players at 1-over that includes Jimmy Walker and Buba Watson.

Like Woods, British Open champion Phil Mickelson had a big third round, firing a 3-under 69 to finish at 2-over. After starting the round with three bogeys on the first six holes, Mickelson notched six birdies, including three straight to end the round.

03/09/14, Sunday

Patrick Reed proved that par was just good enough to win a big championship on Sunday, using a final-day 72 to hold off Bubba Watson and Jamie Donaldson to emerge victorious at the WCG-Cadillac Championships in Doral, Florida.

Reed had to sweat it out late after hitting the turn at 2-under. He bogeyed holes 14 and 18. Meanwhile, Watson shot a 4-under 68 on Sunday, completed with back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 to really put the pressure on.

Donaldson started the day at 1-under, and could have forced a playoff before bogeying No. 18. He had been 3-under on the back nine before that, and it was his first time bogeying 18 all tournament long.

The three men were the only players under par for the tournament, which paid Reed $1.53 million and earned him a whopping 550 FedEx Cup points.

After rallying within five strokes of the lead. with a 66 on Saturday, world No.1 Tiger Woods faded into the night as he hit a 6-over 78 to finish 5-over for the tournament.

It was a popular score: Woods tied for 25th with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Adam Scott and Jimmy Walker.

Woods complained of tweaking his back during the round, which saw him hit six bogeys and no birdies. In his last 19 Sundays, Woods has finished under par just twice.

The fading of many top players on Sunday allowed others to move up, including Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee, who fired a 4-under 68 to tie for sixth at 1-over par. South Africa's Richard Sterne and the US' Dustin Johnson tied for fourth at even par, while Jaidee, Stephen Gallacher and Bill Haas all finished tied for sixth at 1-over.

The quarter of Graeme McDowell, Charl Schwartzel, Hunter Mahan and Jason Dufner rounded out the Top 10 at 2-over.

The best round on Sunday came from Sweden's Jonas Blixt, who fired a 6-under 66 to rise up to a tie for 16th. Blixt fired six birdies without a single bogey, tying him at 4-over for the tournament with the likes of Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

It was a bizarre bounceback round for Blixt, who had started the tournament with a 7-over 79 that featured two double bogeys and four other bogeys, and had shot a 75 on Saturday.

The tour resumes March 13-16 with the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Florida.

The event has a purse of $5.7 million, a winning share of $1.026 million and is worth 500 FedExCup points.

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