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Monday, March 4, 2013

WGC-Cadillac Championship - Power Ranking

It’s a busy week with two tournaments, so I’m going to cut right to the chase with our WGC-Cadillac Championship Power Rankings. The quick review from yesterday is to go with elite players in good form and an established course history, and it helps if he’s a solid driver. Stay away from taking too many fliers.
Here we go:
  1. Charl Schwartzel – He’s one of a couple of guys I've had my eye on for Doral since I first looked ahead to this tournament a few weeks back. As expected, he walked out of PGA National with a top 10 last week and finished inside the top four in two if his last three starts at the WGC-Cadillac. There is a high probability he will be my one-and-done later this week.
  2. Matt Kuchar – Kuch was going to be my under-the-radar guy this week, but he spoiled that with his win at the Match Play. Simply put, he’s played this event three times and never finished worse than eighth. He’s elite. He’s obviously in form.  If I don’t go Schwartzel, I’m going Kuchar for the one-and-done.
  3. Tiger Woods – Honda wasn't great, but it could have been worse. He hung in there for three rounds before getting a little loose on Sunday. His record at Doral is excellent, in that he’s never finished outside the top 10 in the WGC-Cadillac when it has been held at Doral, and he won it in 2007. His history here doesn't rival Torrey Pines, Bay Hill, Muirfield Village or Congressional, but it’s in that next tier of courses where you should never be surprised if he pops up and wins. The week you quit on him is the week he’ll bite you. In the Yahoo! Game, this is an excellent week to keep him on the bench and see what happens.
  4. Justin Rose  - He’s the defending champ and he’s coming off a very steady week at PGA National. It’s a boring and predictable pick, but he fits the profile I keep hammering home.
  5. Keegan Bradley – Tied for fourth at The Honda Classic and tied for eighth in his only start at Doral last season. Sure, I’d like a little more history to go on, but what we've got is good.
  6. Nick Watney – A fun fact, he’s got a win and a runner-up in odd-numbered years in this event. He’s also never finished worse than T26. He’s the epitome of a solid driver of the ball who is borderline elite. I’d prefer for his form to be a little better, but everything else is in place.
  7. Luke Donald – He’s finished in a tie for sixth in each of his last two trips to Doral, but only average finishes to show for it before that. He hasn't gotten off to the fastest start possible, but he hasn't limped out the gates either.
  8. Bubba Watson – He’s a huge wildcard. I noticed on Twitter that he was celebrating Caleb’s first birthday last weekend, so I’m not sure if that puts him in a good place or a distracted one. I guess you could argue that he’s always in a distracted place. Either way, he was last year’s runner-up and has the firepower to be a factor on the par 5s.
  9. Jason Day – Raise your hand if you knew that Jason Day has already cracked $1M this year in just four events. He has. His best finish here is a T20, but nothing would surprise me given his recent return to form.
  10. Adam Scott – What do we do with Scotty? He’s got a T6 and a T13 in his last two trips here, so going off of course history this is about right. His form is okay, but not clicking on all cylinders just yet. While he’s certainly not my first choice to win this week, I feel confident that he nabs a top 25, and a top 10 is certainly possible.
  11. Robert Garrigus – Did you see the confidence he had at Dove Mountain? There was no learning curve in his adjustment to playing with the big boys in the Match Play, knocking off Louis Oozthuizen among others. It took eventual winner Matt Kuchar to cool him off. There is a big part of me that wants to take a giant leap of faith and burn in him in a one-and-done or two-and-done this week to try and go against the grain, but I’m too conservative.
  12. Scott Piercy – Here’s another guy that has zero Doral experience, but he’s hot. Like Garrigus, the WGC-Match Play stage was not too big for him either. Last year this tournament identified future major success for Bubba Watson and I wouldn't be surprised if Garrigus or Piercy put their name in that hat this week.

Next 5: Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan

Even I’m not sure how I didn't find a spot for Graeme McDowell.

WGC-Cadillac games will be coming at you tomorrow, and the power rankings for Puerto Rico will post shortly (tonight). 

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