The CA Championship has only been coming to Doral since 2007; my first trip here was 1988. Back then the Blue Monster was probably one of the toughest courses on tour, now it ranks eighth easiest among the par 72 tracks on tour. If the wind doesn’t blow the top players in the world eat this course alive.

In the late 90’s the Doral Resort and Spa owners brought in Ray Floyd to toughen up the layout and put some teeth in the Blue Monster. He followed their orders, added some bunkers, tee boxes, and created some doglegs to challenge the tour players. After some sniveling and whining the course was softened again and Raymond took some unnecessary criticism for ruining the Blue Monster. He was only following orders and the pampered PGA Tour players couldn’t handle the challenge.

Miami has grown up around the resort and it’s not the type of neighborhood you want to hang around. You show up, caddy, and get back to your room before dark. Tucked in behind those guarded gates is a resort only the rich can enjoy and they have for years. They take good care of us behind the walls but after you leave you’re on your own. Luckily no one has lost a life and only one caddy has been shot over the years.

Back to the course, if the wind doesn’t blow Doral is a puppy. The winning score the last two years has been around twenty under, but I guess what do you expect from the “world’s top players” – that’s questionable with the convoluted ranking system. The world rankings leave out a lot of the top American players because there is more weight given to a win on foreign tours among lesser players than competing with the top players over here. Go down the list, you’ll find a lot of good American players left out of the CA Championship taking the week off or playing in Puerto Rico.

These days the only challenge on the Blue Monster is the par three thirteenth and the signature hole eighteen. They both play significantly over par for the week and if you can manage a couple over on each hole you’ve passed a few players. The rest of the course has a couple of drivable par fours, a collection of par fives that are all reachable with the right wind, and the fairways are wide enough to handle today’s long, erratic tee shots. If they don’t grow the Bermuda rough expect a birdie fest.

It seems like everybody is a favorite here so I’m going to only pick a couple of long shots. Watch out for Alviro Quiros, Scott Verplank, a great wind player from Oklahoma, and Anthony Kim this week. Spiderman has run out of energy, Steve Stricker could challenge but may be a bit rusty, and Ian Poulter is still basking in his first win. My absolute favorite is Paul Casey, he’s ready to win.

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