Week 10 Approach Shots: CA ChampionshipMarch 11, 2009
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: There has only been one American champion in the nine playings of this event. Tiger Woods is a six-time winner of the World Golf Championships-CA Championship, with Canada's Mike Weir, South Africa's Ernie Els and Australia's Geoff Ogilvy rounding out the list.
Quick Facts WHAT: 12th of 37 regular-season PGA TOUR events WHEN: March 12-15 WHERE: Doral, Fla. COURSE: Doral Golf Resort & Spa TV: 2 p.m. ET, Thurs.-Fri. on GOLF CHANNEL; 2 p.m. Sat. on NBC; 3 p.m. Sun. on NBC RADIO: 12 p.m.-8 p.m. ET Thurs.-Sat., 1 p.m.-12 a.m. Sun., PGA TOUR Network (XM 146/SIRIUS 209) WHAT'S AT STAKE: $8,500,000 purse ($1,400,000 for winner) FEDEXCUP POINTS: 550 for winner KEY LINKS: Tee times | Leaderboard
SHOT TRACKER | Tournament page
VIDEO: Opening Shot
In the 45 events held at Doral Golf Resort & Spa's Blue Course before the CA Championship moved there in 2007, there were only five international champions taking home seven titles. Two-time winners were Australia's Greg Norman (1990 and 1996) and Steve Elkington (1997 and 1999), while Aussie Craig Parry (2004), South Africa's Ernie Els (2002) and England's Nick Faldo (1995) each had one win.
PLAYER NOTES: Tiger Woods, who made his return to golf at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship following knee surgery, will make his second start of the season at an event he has won six times at six different courses. Woods will be looking for his seventh victory at the CA Championship. Only Sam Snead has more victories in a single tournament, with eight wins at the TOUR event held in Greensboro, N.C. Besides his 2007 win at Doral, Woods won the CA Championship in Andalucia, Spain; Kilkenny, Ireland; Woodstock, Ga.; San Francisco, Calif.; and Herfordshire, England. ...
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. Shortly after the 2006 event at Doral, Villegas' popularity caused Colombian TV to pick up 30 PGA TOUR golf broadcasts in 2006. Since returning to Doral last year for his first World Golf Championships-CA Championship, Villegas' young career has taken off. With back-to-back victories at the final two events on the Playoffs for the FedExCup (BMW Championship, THE TOUR Championships presented by Coca-Cola), Villegas finished second to Vijay Singh in the FedExCup. ...
Dudley Hart is making his first appearance in this event since the 2000 tournament. He qualified for this event by finishing inside the top 30 in the 2008 FedExCup standings. Hart's previous best finish in the CA Championship was in 1999, when he finished third. ...
Stuart Appleby is participating in his 31st career World Golf Championships event at this week's CA Championship, having competed in every World Golf Championships event since the inception of the series in 1999. He is the only player with this distinction. He also qualified for the 2001 tournament that was canceled due to the events of Sept. 11. ...
Ernie Els and Woods are the only players in the field to have won the Ford Championship at Doral and the CA Championship. Els won the 2002 Ford Championship at Doral's Blue Course, and the 2004 CA Championship at Mount Juliet Conrad in Kilkenny, Ireland. Woods won back-to-back Ford Championship titles in 2005-06 and has collected six CA Championship trophies. Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy and Mike Weir are the other past CA Championship winners in the field this week. ... Woods has won 15 World Golf Championships events in 28 starts. Woods has also recorded 11 victories in the state of Florida, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard (five times: 2000-03, 2008); Children's Miracle Network Classic (two times: 1996, 1999); Ford Championship at Doral (two times: 2005-06); THE PLAYERS Championship (one time: 2001); and the CA Championship (one time: 2007). ON-COURSE OBSERVATIONS: PGA TOUR Network correspondent Michael Collins is on the scene at Doral for this week's satellite radio coverage (XM 146/SIRIUS 209). Reports Collins:
The course right now is playing extremely long, since they have gotten a bunch of rain in Miami this time of year. The forecast is fantastic for the week, though. The players are all raving about the condition the course is in. The fairways are expected to get firmer and faster, although it was pretty windy today. No one has been talking about the wind on this golf course, which is strange because the wind on this course is one of the things that gives it teeth.
I talked to Tiger today. Tiger was extremely happy with the progress he made at the Accenture Match Play Championship and said he was very much looking forward to being able to get four competitive rounds under his belt. He said right now for him the most important thing is not only the work that he's doing as far as practice goes but getting competitive rounds under his belt as we move closer to the first major. For Tiger, being able to play in an event that doesn't have a cut and one where he knows he will get four strong rounds under his belt is huge.
I also talked to Geoff Ogilvy and he talked about how the mental preparation for the CA Championship is a lot different than the preparation for the Accenture Match Play Championship, which he won two weeks ago. With this event, you can get off to an OK start and still win, where in match play the nerves and the anticipation are at their peak on the first hole. At the CA Championship, you work towards being in contention on Sunday on back nine. That's a little different mental preparation from match play, where you have to be ready right away.
I ran into John Rollins' wife, who gave me some ribbing for what I wrote about her last Sunday night in the PGATOUR.COM recap. It was good-natured teasing. She gave me a fun kick in the fanny and said, I read what you wrote and people better not think that I'm a terrible TOUR wife. John said he has a nine-hole TOUR wife in that she walks nine holes.
Weather forecast for the World Golf Championships-CA Championship THURSDAY, Rd. 1 FRIDAY, Rd. 2 SATURDAY, Rd. 3 SUNDAY, Rd. 4 Sunny
Temp: 80 high/67 low
Temp: 80 high/68 low
Mix of sun and clouds
Temp: 81 high/69 low
Mix of sun and clouds
Temp: 82 high/68 low
Mix of sun and clouds
CA Championship snippets Boy wonder: Rory McIlroy, the 19-year-old from Northern Ireland earned his first European Tour win on Feb. 1 in Dubai. He then played his first Accenture Match Play Championship and reached the quarterfinals. McIlroy finished T13 at last week's Honda Classic. Trying to be the first: There are 17 players making their CA Championship debut this year. No player has won a World Golf Championships event in his first start, except Jeff Maggert -- who won the 1999 Accenture Match Play Championship, the first-ever World Golf Championships event. Last-minute qualifiers: Y.E. Yang's victory last week moved him into the top 10 in the FedExCup standings to qualify. John Rollins' runner-up finish propelled him to No. 8 in FedExCup points to gain entry. Davis Love III's T13 moved him to No. 50 in the world and gave him the final spot. Breaking down the field: With 80 players, this is the largest field in CA Championship history. There are 12 players who have won 32 major championships, 21 who have played in The Presidents Cup, 26 who have played in the Ryder Cup and 24 who have won on the PGA TOUR in 2008-2009. In the spotlight This week: Geoff Ogilvy Each week during the 2009 season, PGATOUR.COM will spotlight one key player in the field. For this week's CA Championship, it's defending champion Geoff Ogilvy, who recently won the Accenture Match Play Championship. Learn more about Geoff
Davis Love III said how he does this week will determine whether his RV goes up 1-95 or 1-75 next week. If he plays well, he will go up 1-95 and go home for a week. If he doesn't play well, he will have to go up 1-75 and play in Tampa and better his chances of getting into the Masters.
KODAK CHALLENGE: The first-of-its-kind competition for PGA TOUR players continues at the CA Championship.
The Kodak Challenge celebrates beautiful holes and memorable moments on the PGA TOUR. The Kodak Challenge offers $1 million to the winner. There will be one designated Kodak Challenge Hole at 24 different PGA TOUR tournaments in 2009, with this week's featured hole the 434-yard 16th.
Players, who must play at least 18 of the holes during the season to be eligible, will count their lowest score relative to par on the Kodak Challenge Hole made during an official competition round. The player, with the lowest cumulative score in relation to par at the end of the challenge, wins.
This week's Kodak Challenge hole HOLE: The par-5, 560-yard eighth at Doral Golf Resort & Spa LAST YEAR: The eighth played to a stroke average of 4.652, with players recording 3 eagles, 129 birdies, 158 pars, 20 bogeys and 3 double bogeys. DESCRIPTION: On this par 5, the lake is very much in play for longer hitters. Numerous palm trees beyond the bunker on the right punish any bailout to that side. Many players go for the green in two, but to do so requires a long, accurate drive usually into the winter wind from the southwest. (Click here for Doral tour)
For more on the Kodak Challenge, click here.