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The Donald Remakes Doral

March 9, 2014 - Al Stephenson
I don't know about you, but when I tune in to watch PGA golf on television, I expect to be wowed by magnificent shots. I would rather say "wow what a shot" instead of "geez, I could do that well." While watching the WGC-Cadillac Championship this week, it was more of the latter than the former. I'm not so sure I like that.

The tournament is being contested at Trump National Doral on the famed Blue Monster. Donald Trump bought the course a couple of years ago and had it redone. His goal may have been to make the course a tough place to play. He may also be looking for a major down the road, either the U.S. Open or the PGA. Then again, perhaps his plan was to embarrass the best players in the world. If it was all three - the Donald can say check, check, check.

This is a limited tournament field. Only 69 players were invited and there is no cut. These are the best players in the world folks. Tiger is there, so is Rory, Bubba, Sergio, Els, Poulter, Donald (Luke that is, not THE Donald), Rose, Mahan, Dustin, Westwood, Furyk, Kaymer... Well, you get the idea. To say that the best golfers in the world have struggled in the tournament would be a huge understatement. Through three rounds the leader - Patrick Reed - is 4 under par and only a handful have been able to best par. The Donald is ecstatic, I'm not so sure I feel the same way.

Friday's second round was almost comical. With winds howling over 20 mph consistently and with gusts even higher, the pros had to try to just survive. The top golfers in the world combined to hit 113 balls in the water. Water and sand are staples in the new design. Pros do not particularly mind being in a bunker, but water is to be avoided at all costs. That was not the case in round two as the average score was 76, four shots better than par. Young phenom Jordan Spieth spent much of his day on the beach. He shot 79 and was laughing about the fact that about a third of his shots came from the sand. Pros don't mind the sand so much, but they don't often intentionally shoot for it.

The course is tough. Some golf fans like these difficult layouts. I don't have a big problem with it. It was kind of interesting to see clubs being tossed in disgust. Then again, I would rather watch professionals dazzle me than play like me.

The view from my seat suggests that some might say to see the pros struggle gives the amateur hacker hope. I would suggest that for me watching the action this week my hope is that I won't ever have to play Trump National Doral. My goal golfing is to break 80. It is not to wonder how far into triple digits I can get.


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