Just two weeks after winning his third World Golf Championship title at the Accenture Match Play, Geoff Ogilvy defends another this week at the CA Championship. The super-cool Australian won the 2008 CA Championship by a single shot from the trio of Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen and Vijay Singh. Ogilvy will be among the favourites at the “Blue Monster” this time round.
Every player currently ranked in the top-50 in the world will tee it up at Doral, including Tiger Woods who makes his first start in a strokeplay tournament since last year’s US Open. Others securing last minute spots included last week’s winner of The Honda Classic Yong-eun Yang plus the runner-up in that event – John Rollins. Davis Love III sneaked into 50th position on the Official World Golf Ranking and gained a start.
Ogilvy may be the form horse but Tiger truly owns this tournament. He’s won it six times including three straight victories from 2005 to 2007.
The current question is, who, other than Ogilvy, might challenge Tiger’s dominance on his return to competitive strokeplay action?
The old guard of Singh, Mickelson and Els are still near the top of the World Ranking but Tiger has proved over the last 10 years that he can consistently beat them.
To this point, Sergio has been unable to maintain a sustained assault on Tiger’s dominance, but perhaps his proximity to the Number 1 spot might spur him to raise his game to another level.
Padraig Harrington has proved to the golfing world, and himself, that he’s able to win on golf’s biggest stage but his 2009 form is shaky to say the least.
Young guns like Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas look like they have the potential to worry Tiger. But it’s another youngster who currently has everybody’s attention. 19-year-old Rory McIlroy plays with a spark reminiscent of that we saw in a young Tiger nearly 15 years ago. We’ll have to wait and see if the man from Northern Ireland has what it takes to threaten Tiger’s throne.
Venue: Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Florida
Date: Mar 12-15
Course stats: par 72, 7,266 yards
Purse: $8,500,000 Winner: $1,350,000
Defending champion: Geoff Ogilvy (-17)
Thursday 12th – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6pm
Friday 13th – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6pm
Saturday 14th – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6pm
Sunday 15th – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Tiger Woods – A six-time winner of this tournament, Tiger will be looking to roar back into action and display to his rivals that he’s stronger than ever.
Geoff Ogilvy – Winner of the WGC-Accenture Match Play and defending champion at Doral, Ogilvy is playing with great confidence. When he’s on his best form he’s tough to beat, even for Tiger.
Rory McIlroy – The youngster is being touted as, “the next big thing.” This is the perfect event for the Northern Irishman to live up to that billing. He has a good deal of experience of the course having played a number of junior events here over the years.
Key hole: 18th. At 467 yards, this infamous par 4 often ranks amongst the very hardest on the PGA Tour. The fairway is tricky to find from the tee – just 25 yards wide at its narrowest point, then the approach requires nerves of steel. The green is long and thin with water down the left side. It takes a brave man to fire at the back left pin position on Sunday afternoon.
Skills required: Beating the best. With a field featuring all of the World’s top-50 players plus a number of others on good form, the winner will have to be completely in control of his game, make few mistakes and a bucketful of birdies.
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