Posted on: March 8, 2012 7:12 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 7:48 pm

Video: Dustin Johnson nearly hits camera crane

By Shane Bacon

Dustin Johnson is known for a lot of things, but his length is number one. He can absolutely mash a golf ball off the tee, and the above video might be the best example of that ever. 

Granted, he wasn’t exactly trying to hit his drive near the camera crane on the par-4 18th at Doral on Thursday, but he did, and it turned out to be a pretty sweet view of a errant drive passing by. 

This isn't the first time Dustin has had issues with crazy drives at Doral. Just one year ago, Johnson hit a drive that struck his own grandfather on the fly, and talked about it after his round in 2011. 

Johnson made a bogey on the hole, shot 75 for the day, and is one of the many that has some clawing back to do for the rest of the Cadillac Championship. 

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Category: Golf
Posted on: March 8, 2012 6:33 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 7:01 pm

Sergio Garcia has roller-coaster of a round

Sergio Garcia's scorecard for the first round of the Cadillac Championship. (CBS.com)

By Shane Bacon

Oh, Sergio. Sergio, Sergio, Sergio. He is one of the most famous golfers in the world, some because of his early success as a teenage sensation, and some because he always seems to be the guy that does the wrong thing at the wrong time. 

But as he’s grown older, the luster has gone, and Sergio Garcia has become another pro golfer that has a ton of fans, an incredible golf swing, and a putting stroke that, when on, gets him into contention. He could still win a major or two, and when Thursday kicked off at Doral, looked like he had found the form that had won him two late European Tour events in 2011.

But sadly for Sergio, golf is not nine holes. Five-under on his outward nine, Garcia looked superb. He was hitting the ball great, rolling in putts, and taking it to playing companion Tiger Woods. And then the back nine happened. 

Garcia made exactly one par (As you can see by this scorecard) on his final nine holes, one birdie, and a host of bogeys before a final triple-bogey dropped him all the way down to a tie for 54th. 

You can’t help but enjoy the comments Sergio made after his round. He was honest, saying he lost trust in his golf swing on the back nine, something any golfer can attest to. And also, this is golf. It’s a frustrating sport for amateurs, but at times, can be just as frustrating for superduperstars like Sergio Garcia. 

The best thing for Sergio? There is always manana

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Category: Golf
Posted on: March 8, 2012 6:19 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 6:56 pm

Diagnosis: McIlroy has Honda hangover

By Steve Elling

DORAL, Fla. -- Tiger and Rory, Rory and Tiger.

For obvious reasons, after last weekend's scintillating Sunday at the Honda Classic, those names were thrown around in close proximity abut a bazillion times this week heading into the Cadillac Championship.

"After what happened last Sunday, Tiger shoots 62, I end up winning to go to world No. 1, obviously people are going to talk," Rory McIlroy said Thursday. "Everyone has to remember, there's 80 other players in this field or whatever it is, and it's not just about a couple of guys."

Well, call it a competitive hangover, but the two primary combatants in last weekend's shootout had something in common at Doral Golf Resort & Spa as well -- neither broke par.

While Woods was shooting 72, McIlroy never got anything resembling momentum going while playing alongside the last two players to have been ranked No. 1 before him, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood. He finished with a 1-over 73.

"To be honest I felt a little flat out there," McIlroy said. "I don't know, I shouldn't, it's a World Golf Championship, but just felt a little flat out there. But, look, I'll go out there tomorrow and try my best, try and get it into red figures and see what I can do."

McIlroy managed birdies on three of the Blue Monster's four par-5 holes, but nothing else. He has finished T5 or better in 10 of his last 11 global starts. It represented his first score above par since a 2-over 73 at Kolon Korean Open on Oct. 8.

He played in the finals of the Accenture Match Play Championship outside Tucson, Ariz., where he lost to Hunter Mahan, before wining last week in Palm Beach Gardens. Even at 22, he might be getting a little frayed.

"I mean, physically, I'm fine," he said. "But mentally, I don't know, it's tough. Arizona and you've got a chance to go to world No. 1; and then Honda, you've got a chance to, then -- all of a sudden you're there, and you're like, well, what do you do?

"I just need to go out and set myself a target tomorrow and try and post a number."

Posted on: March 8, 2012 3:10 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:21 pm

Doral putting surfaces called greens for a reason

Sergio Garcia lines up a putt on Thursday. The grounds crew at the Doral Golf Resort painted the greens to make them look better on TV. (Getty)
By Steve Elling 

DORAL, Fla. -- As the day began, the thrust of the conversation centered on how much green new owner Donald Trump would be spreading around Doral to spruce it up and make it look better.

Turns out, that general notion was discussed the night before, too.

In an attempt to make the resort's splotchy putting surfaces look better on television in the first round of the Cadillac Championship, the maintenance staff threw green paint on several greens, catching players off guard when they showed up for the first round on Thursday and found the course different than what they had seen in practice.

After Hunter Mahan chipped in for a birdie from beside the green on the 14h, he and caddie John Wood noted the difficulty of trying to gauge the various factors involved, like wind, slope, grain of the Bermuda grass, and the paint that partly obscured the latter.

"You can’t really see the grain," Wood said.

Players and caddies judge grain by identifying dark and light patches, which indicate whether the putts roll up- or down-grain. The paint takes away some of that ability to distinguish between the color shades, and also can affect the speed.

As he stood behind the 18th green, Mahan noted several areas where patchwork had been done with strips or plugs of sod, and pointed out areas he suspected had been painted.

A PGA Tour media official confirmed that officials "added some color to all the greens for aesthetic reasons."

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Category: Golf
Tags: doral, greens, paint
Posted on: March 8, 2012 3:08 pm

Video: Tiger Woods eagles first hole at Doral

By Shane Bacon

There are a few interesting things about the above video showing Tiger Woods making eagle on his first hole of the Cadillac Championship. Not only was it a great start, but look at some of the other fun facts about it.

-- With his birdie-eagle finish last week at the Honda Classic and his eagle here, it means that Tiger had a three hole stretch where he was 5-under. 

-- With eagles on both the par-5s on Sunday at the Honda and the eagle to start his Thursday round at Doral, it was the third straight eagle on a par-5 for Woods. 

-- It means that the last 19 holes Tiger played, he was 10-under. 

And hey, eagle time is always fun! 

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Category: Golf
Posted on: March 8, 2012 11:08 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 12:03 pm

What would a win mean for each of these players?

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood pose in China. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

The WGC-Cadillac Championship kicks off this Thursday, and all top-50 players are in the field for the stacked event. And while all of the guys in the field have a chance, we decided to give you an idea of what a win would mean for some of the bigger names in the field. 

Rory McIlroy (World Ranking: 1) -- A win would really cement all those “next Tiger” stories, and show that while he’s happy to win events like Honda Classic, he isn’t exactly content with one win early in his season. Rory probably has the most pressure this week because he has to back up a big performance at the Honda, and if he can pull a victory out at Doral, it would really show his internal fortitude. 

Luke Donald (WR: 2) -- Lost in all this McIlroy-Woods chatter, we must remember that Donald was the No. 1 player in the world before Rory took it from him, and still has tons of game. A win by Donald would show that he’s tougher than we think, and is really ready to fight against the best for big wins. 

Lee Westwood (WR: 3) -- Talk about lost in the shuffle, Westwood closed with a final round 63 at the Honda Classic, but barely anybody remembered it because of Tiger’s 62. He has barely won anything on American soil, but his game is sharp, and if he won it would mean that he is finally ready to claim victory at events with all the big names in them.

Phil Mickelson (WR: 12) -- You never know what you’re going to get from Lefty these days, but his win at Pebble Beach showed he is still hungry to win, and a victory at Doral this week would show that 2012 might be another year that Mickelson goes wild. He’s the type of player that can still win four or five events a season, and if he won at the Blue Monster, we’d all have to put him first on our Masters prediction lists.

Tiger Woods (WR: 16) --  A win for Tiger? It would mean everything. He could stop answering questions about how close he is. He could finally get a real tournament monkey off his back (unlike the small field at the Chevron). He would show that he can play well back-to-back weeks and would tell the rest of the golfing world that he isn’t exactly ready to hand over the game to the younger generation. 

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Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:40 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 12:04 pm

Trump: Doral will sparkle like never before

By Steve Elling

DORAL, Fla. -- A consummate showman, billionaire real-estate mogul Donald Trump has a lot of P.T. Barnum in him, and he certainly knows how to feed the media beast.

But when the guy talks about golf, you know it's not just blather and bluster intended purely for hype. The guy plays the game, is a single-digit handicapper, pays attention to the professional tours, and reads stories about the state of the sport.

As Trump was introduced on Thursday as the new owner of the Doral Golf Resort & Spa, which will undergo a $200 million makeover over the next three years, he promised he'd be a responsible steward and the end result would rock.

Doral, a landmark, has hosted the PGA Tour for 50 years, including this week's Cadillac Championship, which features the best field so far this season.

"We think that Doral has just tremendous opportunity, it's a tremendous location, 800 acres right smack in the middle of Miami, and we look to make this one of the great places anywhere in the world for golf," said Trump. "It needs a lot of work. It's a little bit tired and that's okay, and we are going to do something special."

Trump basically stole the place at fire-sale prices, paying $150 million, or roughly $187,000 per acre. The Blue Monster will be completely made over by Gil Hanse, who on Tuesday was named as the architect of the 2016 Olympics course in Brazil.

"That price allows me to pour some money into this thing," he said.

The Blue Monster will be shut down immediately after the 2013 tour event, Trump predicted, and be closed for six months during the redesign. Marriott is exiting as the hotel operator on June 1 when the property changes hands, and Trump said the clubhouse and hotel would remain open the entire three-year project while undergoing rehab in stages.

The driving range will effectively double in size and Trump indicated he is toying with the idea of morphing the Red and Gold course into the re-do, and possibly making one big-league-sized course by combining the acreage of the two.

Trump said he hasn’t decided what the venue will be named, excepting one part of the equation.

"I’ll always be keeping the name Doral in some form," he said.

Trump shot the breeze after the formal press conference about Rory McIlroy's win last week at Honda, the state of Tiger Woods' game and Phil Mickelson's re-emergence. He definitely keeps his finger on the pulse of the pro game and wants the sport to fit in seamlessly with the new purchase.

"We are going to do this really right," he said. "I enjoy it, and I view it as a business, but it's not my main business. But more importantly, I will spend much more money on fixing Doral than somebody else, because somebody else is looking on return on investment; I'm not. I'm looking to make an amazing place, and the return will come. I think it's a good thing for golf."

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Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:54 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 5:51 pm

Casey shoulders slow start in Ryder year

Paul Casey dislocated his shoulder on Christmas Eve which delayed the start of his 2012 season.

By Steve Elling

DORAL, Fla. -- Paul Casey knew the photo would induce oohs and ahs.

On the sideline since Christmas Eve with a dislocated shoulder, the first photograph the former world No. 3 revealed on his cellphone showed a large, red blob in the middle of the picture, prompting at least one cringe among the scribes within viewing distance.

Then again, actual injury X-rays he produced a moment later were even harder to eyeball.

Back from a lengthy layoff after sustaining a shoulder injury while snowboarding in Vail on Dec. 24, Casey is making his first start of the year this week at the Cadillac Championship at Doral Golf Resort & Spa.

Unlike the first photo he produced on his phone -- a funny photo of himself dressed in a large, red Teletubby costume -- the reality of his situation is pretty black-and-white, just like the X-rays he produced with a few more flicks of the thumb. He's missed about 20 percent of his traditional season, was unable to defend a title he won on the European Tour, and has played one full 18-hole round since the injury.

"I think my expectations are fairly low," Casey said, laughing.

Finally close to full strength, at around 90 percent in the affected right shoulder, he's got to catch up with the rest of his ever-evolving peers. For the first time, during the layoff, he's been watching golf on TV -- and it's been some of the most exciting stuff on the PGA Tour in years.

"It was inspiring to watch," said Casey, 34. "It lit something, to get back to where I was before or even better."

It's amazing how much can change in the blink of an eye. When Casey, wearing wrist protection and a helmet, slipped on some ice while taking a snowboarding lesson, Luke Donald was entrenched as No. 1. He's since been supplanted by Rory McIlroy, while Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods seems to be rounding back into top form, too.

"I've done it long enough to know that there's always new, fresh faces, and it's moving," Casey said. "You're right, it's moving very, very quickly. But ultimately it's myself against the golf course."

If not his ... doctor? While explaining his shoulder injury, Casey actually said, "I'm not an expert at injuries," with a straight face. In actuality, he's had lingering problems over the past three years with an intercostal injury to his ribcage and painful turf toe on his right foot. All three maladies have forced him to miss multiple starts in the prime of his career.

"I'm clearly the freshest guy out here," he cracked.

Casey hasn’t suffered much in the grand scheme, dropping to 26th in the world ranking, but there's another ledger out there where he's really behind the pack -- the race for the European Ryder Cup team later this year in Chicago. It's not much of stretch to characterize his points total as, "nothing," as Casey put it.

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It's not quite that dire. The European team is composed from two points lists, and Casey is ranked 19th and 41st, with plenty of time to move up if he can play his projected 25-tournament schedule. For starters, he's playing three of the next four weeks, including the Masters. He's also playing at Houston, where he picked up a victory two years ago.

He didn’t qualify for the team two years ago in Wales and was passed over as a captain's pick.

"I don't think it adds any urgency or any pressure," Casey said. "I would love to make that team. I want to make that team. I think I will make that team. I've just got to play the golf I know I'm capable of and start winning tournaments and that will take care of itself."

On the plus side, he hasn’t missed any majors, so there's plenty of points and cash up for grabs. Casey surely sounds like a gung-ho, motivated man, that's for sure. Now, if he can just chip away the rust.

"I've got an awful lot of work to do, but if the body -- if I just stay off the snowboard -- then there's no reason why I can't get that work done and get the golf game back to where I was in 2006 or better," he said.

As for the X-rays, the two shots are of Casey's shoulder before and after his right arm was popped back into place. When it was dislocated, it was actually handing several inches lower than his left arm.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com