Blue Monster Winning at Doral

Doral Blue Monster Fair Test?

Donald Trump just had the famous TPC course refurbished in Doral, Florida, hiring noted course architect Gil Hanse to do the job. The course was already daunting, but admittedly needed the facelift, but I’ve got to wonder if Mr. Trump played the course after the operation, and if so, what he thought of the job.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or even one who can pass third grade science, to see why the course has been dubbed the Blue Monster. From first tee to final green, it’s gorgeous and deadly, with “water water everywhere.” From the photos I’ve seen of it, they could have just as easily called it the Sand Monster, Bunker Beast, or something of that sort. Add to that some thirty mph winds that whistled through the area in the past day, and you’ve got some pretty disgruntled players entering the third round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

In a field of sixty-eight players, exactly three were under par for the second round…yes, three, and on that day alone, over one hundred balls were sent to Davy Jones Locker, probably setting a recent record for penalty strokes, unless last year’s tournament on the same course exceeded it.

Luke Donald called it “unfair,” and Simpson called the whole arrangement “horrendous.” Of course, Donald had shot a round in the low 80s, and wasn’t in the best of moods. I have often thought it was silly to have pros declare a course unfair just because they weren’t beating it to within an inch of its life, but we have to decipher precisely what they mean.

doral 1If they mean it’s unfair that they can’t score at will against the terrain, too bad. It’s not supposed to be easy for the pros, and sometimes weeks go by where it’s too easy. Now some of them know how the rest of us feel at muni on Saturday. But still, I don’t think that’s what they mean.

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If they think it’s unfair from one player to another, that’s baloney. At least they’re all playing the same mean-spirited course, although changing conditions during the day did come as a blessing to the likes of Rory McIlroy.

Their point, I believe, is that a good shot is not necessarily rewarded, and is often rewarded with something ugly. Tiger points to the PGA officials for the draconian pin placements, playing to the wrong side of the wind, making it even worse. There were balls sent well on to the green ending up in the water – I agree, that is unfair. One successfully avoided the water, only to find the bunker and hit it in the water on the following shot – that is not unfair, just a bad stretch of golf.

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I haven’t gotten close enough to the greens to really tell what’s going on with short putts, but if I was ever to challenge Tiger to a round of mini-golf at a thousand dollars per putt, it would have been on Friday – oh, that is except for his brilliant ninety-footer that eclipsed Paula Creamer’s masterpiece by ten or fifteen feet. Outside of that, Tiger and the other sixty-seven looked, at times, as though they were holding a “lipping” exhibition.

doralWhen all was said and done, with 113 balls in the water and five rounds over 80, we fans have never seen so many great golfers so anxious to get off the course. With round three today, I’ll bet there’s an equal number reticent to get up and travel to the first tee. On a good day, these guys are used to beating the game and the course, at least temporarily – no one ever truly beats the game for long. At the Cadillac Championship, however, the Blue Monster course is clearly in the lead, and leaving a lot of dispirited golfers in its wake.

There will be two more days of this abuse. Is there anyone who can step up and really take this tournament away from the evil genius of Donald Trump and his minions?

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