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Tag:doral thursday
Posted on: March 10, 2011 7:09 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 7:34 pm
 

With no wind, players blow away Doral

DORAL, Fla. -- If there's anything that has been learned over the 50 years that tournament golf has been staged hereabouts, it's that the Blue Monster without wind is like a dragon that doesn't breath fire.

Helpless, defenseless and vulnerable.

After a storm blew through the Cadillac Championship on Thursday and caused a 2:45 delay, the winds nearly disappeared and players painted the scoreboards in red.

Matt Kuchar eagled the first hole and was 5 under through his first five holes. Hunter Mahan birdied seven of the 10 holes he played and was leading when play was suspended because of darkness.

Years ago, when Doral was considered a long, hard venue, the Blue Monster moniker had more teeth. Sans the wind, it's about as threatening as a septuagenarian with dentures.

"I guess with that storm it brought some tranquility to the golf course, because there was just no wind," Mahan said. "There was nothing out there. The course is in perfect shape. I was seeing there was a bunch of low scores. So, good players and a good golf course and benign conditions, you're going to have some good scores."

There were 26 players in the field of 66 at 3 under of better when the horn sounded, halting play.

"When the wind doesn't blow here," said Lance Bennett, Kuchar's caddie, "people are always going to go low."

Not everybody lit up the place, of course. The big-name trio of Philk Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell was something of a letdown. Mickelson was 2 under and the other pair were both 1 under.

"We had a beautiful day to play golf," Mickelson said. "When the storm went away, the weather cleared up and we just had beautiful weather."

The rain that blasted the course for an hour and tore up severl structures did more than just throw the schedule into disarray, too.

"It definitely made the greens softer," said Camilo Villegas, who was 3 under.

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:50 pm
 

Villegas finally shows signs of life at Doral

DORAL, Fla. -- It almost had to be better.

If only because it couldn't be worse.

Camilo Villegas, whose career coming-out party took place at Doral five years ago, was 3 under through 13 holes on Thursday when play was suspended because of darkness at the Cadillac Championship.

Last week at the Honda Classic, where Villegas was the defending champion, he fired rounds of 79 and 78 to miss the cut by the length of Florida's Turnpike.

"Last week was freaking awful," he said. "I felt like I was a little tense. I felt like I was gripping the club too tight on everything."

That tends to happen when you're putting up nothing but very crooked numbers and barely breaking 80. In his nine rounds in 2011, Villegas was a combined 27 over before Thursday and his three most recent stroke-play rounds were a combined 24 over.

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 10, 2011 6:15 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 8:53 am
 

G-Mac rolls the rock over Tiger, Lefty

DORAL, Fla. -- Graeme McDowell had just knocked in yet another tidy putt and was making the turn in the first round at Doral Golf Resort & Spa on Thursday when he was congratulated on his success on the greens.

"Yeah, now if I can just keep the ball on the planet," he said.

Playing with the two biggest names on the golfing globe, it didn't much matter where the U.S. Open champion was bashing it, given the scoring exhibition McDowell was staging.

Despite a few wayward shots with his 13 other clubs, the Northern Ireland star more than held hs own with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in one of the day's marquee threesomes, dropping putts as though he was a Florida native.

On the very first hole of the day, the par-5 10th, McDowell jarred a 28-footer for a birdie, which was certainly a sight with which Woods has become familiar. Another sight we have seen fairly often -- Woods then missed from 12 feet.

Recall their memorable duel at the Chevron World Challenge last December? McDowell drained long birdie putts on the last hole of regulation and first hole of sudden death to kick the legs out from under Woods, the tournament host. He also one-putted the 71st hole, too.
  
Paired again with Woods at Doral, he one-putted the first five holes on Thursday, running his streak when paired with Woods to eight in a row.

"Like shelling peas," he cracked between holes.

McDowell looks like some sort of Bermudagrass savant.

"Didn't used to be," he said.

Mickelson's caddie, Jim Mackay, overheard McDowell and smirked.

"Alabama Birmingham," Mackay said, a reference to the southern school where McDowell was one of the top collegians in the nation and surely drained a few miles of putts on Bermuda surfaces.

When plkay was suspended for the day, Mickelson was 2 under while McDowell and Woods were both 1 under. McDowell, Woods and Mickelson are ranked Nos. 4-5-6 in the world.

In stark contrast, Woods again was scraping it around on the greens. He had seven close-range attempts from between 10-15 feet over the first 14 holes and made exactly one of them, a par effort on his second hole.

Mickelson, a former Doral champion, was slightly sharper.

"There were some low scores and we had a fun day," Lefty said. "We didn't play our best but we didn't play terrible to where we shot ourselves in the foot. We are in good position tomorrow to come back out, finish the round strong, and play our second round."

Because of the two-year window of the world rankings, Mickelson can pass Woods this week as long as Woods doesn't finish in the top seve. The last time Mickelson was ranked higher than Woods was in 1997.

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 10, 2011 5:44 pm
 

McIlroy still kicking, not screaming, at Doral

DORAL, Fla. -- Rory McIlroy made the start after all, although any soccer plans might have to wait for a spell.

McIlroy, the rising star from Northern Ireland and the No. 8 player in the world, accidentally dropped a 50-pound dumbbell on his right big toe while working out on Wednesday night.

Based on the amount of ice he had on his foot on the eve of the Cadillac Championship, his status seemed a little iffy, but McIlroy made his tee time after all.

Through his first 10 holes at Doral on Thursday, he was 1 under and showing no traces of a limp. He had so much ice on his foot the night before while sitting with friends and family on the Doral outdoor patio, a pool of water was forming under the table.

That's not to suggest he wasn't in some pain, though. Gerry McIlroy, Rory's father, is at the tournament this week with his wife and made a prediction about his son's toenail.

"I imagine it will turn black and fall off," he said.

Ouch.

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 10, 2011 1:56 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Cameras fade to black as storm stomps Doral

DORAL, Fla. -- Whenever the Cadillac Championship restarts play in the first round on Thursday, there won't be much in terms of TV highlights coming from stationary shots from behind the eighth and ninth greens.

The television cameras on both holes were obliterated by a microburst in the short, violent thunderstorm that interrupted play shortly after the round began and caused damage that could reach several hundred thousand dollars.

"It really was like a hurricane," Vijay Singh said.

The swirling winds sent the tower behind the ninth green straight backward and into a pond, where one TV camera remained submerged and almost certainly ruined.

"We've got divers on the way," an NBC Sports employee said as he cleared the area.

A scoreboard erected on the side of the eighth green was completely obliterated, creating a pile of scaffolding and bent metal. No injuries were reported, a PGA Tour official at the scene said. A Golf Channel employee said TV cameras cost approximately $150,000 and two were destroyed.

Here's a shot of the monster scoreboard stationed beside the No. 8 green, which serves as the main tote board for fans watching from the nearby 18th green. http://twitpic.com/4877mz

"My understanding is that it was a microburst that popped up," tournament director Eddie Carbone said.

Winds as nearby Miami International Airport were clocked at 55 mph, thought gusts at the course doubtlessly measured higher.

Should the Golf Channel elect to use it, there's some potentially interesting video of the damage as it happened. Veteran NBC reporter Roger Maltbie was in the TV truck when the heaviest part of the storm blew through, watching the live video feed from the camera perched in the tower behind the ninth green when, in the distance, the tower behind the eight green fell sideways.

The camera atop that tower was hauled off in pieces, a witness said.

The wind then shifted, Maltbie said, and the flag on the ninth green "was bent over to the ground" in the gale. In something that resembled footage from a hurricane, Maltbie said the unmanned camera at the ninth panned straight up into the clouds before fading to black as the tower fell straight backward into the lake as the video feed was rolling.

"The cables snap and the picture is gone," Maltbie said. "But you see the sky right before that."

Tournament officials estimated that 17 palm trees were felled by the storm, though the damage was still being tallied during cleanup. There was some damage on the 17th caused by a flying umbrella, but otherwise, the course was relatively unscathed. One of the tour's Shotlink towers, where laser readings are taken for statistical purposes, was down on the first hole.

The PGA Tour planned to restart play at 2:30 p.m. ET. and officials were hopeful that play could continue until sundown at around 6:30 p.m.
Category: Golf
Posted on: March 10, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Doral weather: One hole down, 71 to go

DORAL, Fla. -- Trees toppled, tents flapped, television towers wobbled and chairs were overturned.

Just another flash storm in South Florida.

Play had barely started in the first round of the WGC Cadillac Championship on Thursday when a violent thunderstorm slammed into the Doral Golf Resort & Spa, sending fans and players scurrying for cover and creating the possibility that play won't finish before sundown, short field or not.

The Golf Channel reported that TV towers on at least three holes were damaged or completely knocked down by high winds that zapped the area in a matter of minutes.

With 66 in the field, play had begun a few minutes before the weather horn sounded at 11:45 a.m. ET. Nine players had completed one hole of play and nobody had completed two.

Weather forecasts indicated that it could take 2-3 hours for the storm to blow through and for the course cleanup to be completed.

It's the third time in as many weeks that weather has had a significant impact on play or course conditions. It snowed and hailed on Sunday at the Accenture Match Play Championship, and last week's Honda Classic in nearby Palm Beach Gardens was slammed by such stiff winds, officials didn't mow the greens between the first and second rounds in order to slow them down.

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 10, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Watson pulls plug at Doral as plot thins

DORAL, Fla. -- Say this for Bubba Watson, he tried to gut it out, bad pun very much intended.

Watson, who caught a flu bug this week at the Cadillac Championship, withdrew Thursday before the first round, becoming the third player in the limited, 69-man field to call in sick to work.

Watson walked onto the range about 20 minutes before his tee time and found a spot next to one of his playing partners, Ian Poulter. Watson hit one wedge shot, put the club back into the bag and turned to his caddie, Ted Scott.

"I can't do it," he said.

As he walked off, he turned to Poulter.

"Y'all play good," he said. "I'm out."

Watson has arguably been the hottest American player in the world over the past six to eight months, with two victories and a playoff loss at the season's final major in 2010. He finished fourth last week at the Accenture Match Play Championship. 

It's his second medical punchout in roughly a month. Watson, now No. 15 in the world, withdrew from the Northern Trust event in Los Angeles with a muscle strain in his ribcage area.

There are now 66 players in the field.

Said Watson on his Twitter page: "Hit one ball & knew I could not play. Club felt so heavy. Time to rest & be ready for next week."
Category: Golf
Posted on: March 10, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 11:02 am
 

How low can they go? We're about to find out

DORAL, Fla. -- Two players on the PGA Tour last summer joined the elite ranks of those who have carded a 59 in a sanctioned event.

That number is very much in jeopardy.

Veteran James Driscoll, playing at a PGA Tour event in Puerto Rico on Thursday, made seven straight birdies and is 11 under par through 14 holes at the so-called "opposite" event being staged this week for those players who did not qualify for the Cadillac Championship at Doral Golf Resort & Spa.

Driscoll, 33, who has two runner-up finishes on tour but has never won, made only 13 of 26 cuts last year and had to go back through Q-school to regain his card. He was No. 157 in earnings.

Five players have shot 59 in PGA Tour competition.

The Puerto Rico Open is being staged at the par-72 Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande.
Category: Golf
 
 
 
 
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