2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship Expert Picks and Tournament Preview

by Aengus Moorehead

2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship Expert Picks and Tournament Preview

Star-Studded field Prepares For Second WGC Event at Doral

The Story:
The 2016 WGC Cadillac Championship is planned to start on March 3rd to the 6th at Doral Golf Resort & Spa and will feature top players from around the world, as they play for a $9,250,000 prize purse. The PGA event has a limited-field, with entry determined mostly by money list ranking, but also by FedEx Cup points and World Ranking points.

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Big, audacious, bold, difficult, challenging, and intriguing, all encompass the Doral design at the TPC Blue Monster. Measuring in at close to 7,600 yards and located only miles from the Atlantic Ocean coastline, this course can offer as brute a test as can sometimes be found on the PGA Tour.

The field is made up around seventy of the top golfers from around the world and it is for this reason that there is no usual cut half-way through the tournament. This event is the first of the season to feature the top-three players in the world as Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy all confirmed their attendances.

Spieth, Day, and McIlroy will most likely be in the same paring and rightly so. McIlroy, who only just two weeks ago began his 2016 U.S. schedule, is heavily favored again this week (+800) but did not look sharp at the Honda Classic last week.

Day has also been noticeably absent from most of the early 2016 season but already has racked up two Top 11 finishes in just three starts this season.  That success is contrasted by his unexpected missed cut in his title defense at Torrey Pines.  

Spieth has played the most of the trio with four events under his belt so far including a victory at The Hyundai TOC but is coming off of his most disappointing missed cut in a while at Riviera two weeks ago.  It’s also worth noting that the last time these “big three” all played together was the 2015 TOUR Championship at East Lake.

But Jason, Jordan, and Rory aren’t the only studs in this week’s star-studded WGC event.  Names like Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and defending champion Dustin Johnson will all catch their fair share of headlines this week as well.

Victorious in his last effort in Los Angeles, Watson leads the pack with three top-3 finishes in his past four visits to the Blue Monster but the powerful lefty has never been able to close the door here.

Although they’re calling for sunny skies, the players know damn well about the nasty winds that which will prevail at Doral.  While most players can’t help but drop strokes due to Mother Nature, there are some other players that stand tall due to their accuracy, ball-striking, and scrambling.

The Blue Monster currently ranks as the third hardest in all of the Par 72s on tour.  Get this, in the last two years, three of the top five on the final leaderboard ranked inside the top four in longest drives for that week.  So again, no surprise here as power is key and accuracy is a significant bonus for sure.

My Top Three:
Bubba Watson: +1000
The one guy you must have on your card this week is Watson, who is bringing in odds of +1000. The lefty is a surefire pick here as Watson has finished no worse than third place every year since changes were made to the Blue Monster. Watson was runner-up at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2012 and 2014. Watson is also in great form right now, winning the World Challenge and the Northern Trust. Watson is sixth in driving distance, third in ball striking and sixth in greens in regulation percentage.

Dustin Johnson: +1100
Another guy who will be considered a favorite this week is Johnson, who you can get with odds of +1100. Johnson is not only the defending champion on this course, but he was a runner-up in 2011. In fact, Johnson has been a top-four finisher in three of his last five starts in Doral. Johnson is currently seventh in driving distance, third in birdie average and ninth in strokes gained tee-to-green. Given his efficacious history on this course, Johnson is a must play, especially with a chance to make 11 times your money.

Henrik Stenson: +2200
The super Swede is at his best when an event requires a game-plan that demands a combination of brains and brawn. His mastering of the Earth Course in Dubai in recent years (2015 excluded of course) has been as a result of a carefully constructed plan that allows him to maximize length and accuracy from his trusted 3-wood that he hits just about as far as the driver of many average players and that combination of power and accuracy is perfect around this toughened up track at Doral. 

My Sleeper Pick:
Louis Oosthuizen: +3300
It’s been a long time since Oosthuizen has played a course on American soil, but that hasn’t stopped him from finding his form in other venues. Oosthuizen is fresh off a victory at the ISPS Perth International and has several recent top-15 finishes in the European Tour. Oosthuizen finished sixth in last year’s Championship, and he’s shown what he can do when he’s feeling proper, as he was involved in the playoffs at the Open Championship. This may be a bit of a long shot, but I like the value of Oosthuizen with these odds.

Propping up:

  1. Take J.B. Holmes for Top-Five finish +500
  2. Take Adam Scott for Top Australian +120
  3. Take Sergio Garcia -115 over Phil Mickelson -115
  4. Take Rory McIlroy for Top-Ten finish -110
  5. Take Justin Rose +110 over Rickie Fowler -140

Here are the odds for the top field:

Rory Mcilroy   +900
Jordan Spieth   +1100
Dustin Johnson   +1100
Bubba Watson   +1000
Jason Day   +1200
Adam Scott   +1200
Rickie Fowler   +1400
Justin Rose   +2200
Henrik Stenson   +2200
J.B. Holmes   +2500
Brooks Koepka   +3000
Patrick Reed   +3500
Phil Mickelson   +3500
Sergio Garcia   +3300
Louis Oosthuizen   +3300
Brandt Snedeker   +5000
Hideki Matsuyama   +4000
Charl Schwartzel   +4000
Justin Thomas   +3500
Branden Grace   +5000
Kevin Kisner   +5000
Matt Kuchar   +5000
Graeme McDowell   +5500
Jimmy Walker   +5500
Byeong Hun-An   +6000
Zach Johnson   +6600
Danny Willett   +5000
Billy Horschel   +6600
Marc Leishman   +6600
Bill Haas   +7000
Harris English   +7000
Paul Casey   +7000
Russell Knox   +7000
David Lingmerth   +8000
Martin Kaymer   +8000
Shane Lowry   +8000
Kevin Na   +9000
Andy Sullivan   +8000

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