|CA Championships - March 17, 2008
WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-
Doral Golf Resort & Spa (Blue)
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,266
FedExCup Points: 26,250Winner: 4,725
Purse: $8,000,000Winner: $1,440,000
2007 Champion: Tiger Woods (278, -10)
World Golf Championships-
CA Championship Notes
Tiger Woods’ victory at last month’s World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship meant that the world’s No. 1 player is currently the defending champion of all three World Golf Championship events, including the CA Championship. Woods will be looking for his seventh victory at the World Golf Championships-CA Championship and his fourth in a row at a tournament he has won on six different golf courses in three countries. Only Sam Snead has more victories in a single tournament, with eight wins in Greensboro, NC.
Of the 990 golf holes played in official PGA TOUR competition in 2007, two of the toughest were at Doral Golf Resort & Spa, site of this week’s event. The par-4 18th ranked as the hardest hole on TOUR, playing at 4.625 during the 2007 event. The par-4 third ranked as the fourth-most-difficult, with a 4.567 scoring average.
As a rookie on the PGA TOUR in 2006, Camilo Villegas captured the interest of local fans at the then Ford Championship at Doral after holding a share of the second-round lead with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Scott Verplank. The native of Colombia finished second that week, which earned him a position in THE PLAYERS Championship a week later. Shortly after the 2006 event at Doral, Villegas’ popularity in his native Colombia caused Colombian TV to pick up 30 PGA TOUR golf broadcasts in 2006.
Craig Parry, one of eight players who are currently qualified who has won a World Golf Championships event (2002 Bridgestone Invitational), qualified for this week’s CA Championship via his finish atop the 2007 Australasian Tour’s Order of Merit. While Parry has had success in the past at World Golf Championships, he is probably best remembered for winning the 2004 Ford Championship at Doral with a hole-out eagle from the fairway on the par-4 18th, the first playoff hole, to beat Scott Verplank.
Mike Weir and Ernie Els, the only players other than Tiger Woods to win the World Golf Championships-CA Championship, are both in this week’s field. Weir has played well this season, including a fourth-place showing at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, while Els appears to have regained the form that made him a perennial top-three player in the world for the past decade. Els recorded his first victory on the PGA TOUR since 2004 with a win earlier this year at The Honda Classic.
Ernie Els, who won the World Golf Championships-CA Championship in 2004 at Mount Juliet Conrad in Kilkenny, Ireland, also has a history at Doral Golf Resort & Spa. The 38-year-old won the 2002 TOUR event held at Doral. That year, rounds of 66-67-66 gave him an eight-stroke lead with 18 holes to play. A final-round 72 earned a two-stroke victory over Tiger Woods.
PUERTO RICO OPEN
PRESENTED BY BANCO POPULAR
Trump International GC-Puerto Rico
Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,569
FedExCup Points: 12,500Winner: 2,250
Purse: $3,500,000Winner: $630,000
Puerto Rico Open
Presented by Banco Popular Notes
Dudley Hart was limited to 12 PGA TOUR starts in 2007 due to the illness of his wife, Suzanne, who was diagnosed with a tumor in her lungs. The non-smoking-related diagnosis in May caused the removal of two-thirds of one of her lungs. Hart did not play after the Wachovia Championship to attend to his wife’s recovery while also taking care of their triplets, now age 6. The PGA TOUR granted Hart a Major Medical Extension (under the new family-crisis policy) for 2008. He has 15 events to earn $485,931. Combined with his 2007 earnings of $299,249, that would equal the earnings of 2007's No. 125 player (Mathias Gronberg, $785,180). That amount would give Hart Major Medical Extension status for the remainder of the 2008 campaign. In four starts this season, Hart has made $410,971, including a tie for third at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He has 11 events remaining to earn $74,960.
Eight major champions are in the field this week: Mark Brooks (PGA Championship), Ben Curtis (British Open), Lee Janzen (U.S. Open), Tom Kite (U.S. Open), Tom Lehman (British Open), Shaun Micheel (PGA Championship), Larry Mize (Masters Tournament) and Bob Tway (PGA Championship).
Brian Gay is looking to score an international double, winning the PGA TOUR's first two events outside the United States in 2008. Earlier this year, Gay posted a two-stroke victory over Steve Marino at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya.