Donald Trump has a knack for marketing a corner, perhaps as well as he corners a market. As 65 of the world's elite descend on the soon-to-be renovated TPC Blue Monster at Trump Doral, 132 golfers will compete at the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com. This is the sixth consecutive season that the island tournament has played opposite the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
Trump International Golf Club-Puerto Rico serves as host once again this year, completing Trump's monopoly of PGA TOUR events, for this week at least. The Tom Kite creation can stretch to a beefy 7,506 yards but veteran grinders and short-game artists alike tend to populate the final leaderboard more than the bombers. Paspalum greens average 6,000 square feet and roll at 11 on the Stimpmeter, a measurement that implies that aggressive putting is encouraged.
For the first time in its five-year run, Trump International averaged over par last year, but just barely at 72.027. Its scoring averages on par 4s (4.08) and par 5s (4.77) were term highs.
If there's one essential key to success, it's to pick up strokes on the par 4s. Four of the five champions have either led or co-led their fields on these 10 holes. Michael Bradley's clip of 3.90 in his first triumph in 2009 is the highest average among the winners. He still finished an impressive T3 in the stat that week.
Typically unpredictable weather conditions are forecast. Rain will fall in and around Rio Grande, but an extended event is unlikely. Daily temperatures will rise into the 80s and the wind will blow as it always does along the coast.
He's 5-for-5 on the season with four top-25s. Leads the PGA TOUR in strokes gained-putting and ranks T10 in par-4 scoring average. Tied for 13th in his debut at Trump International in 2009; then placed T7 the following year.
Closed out The Honda Classic with a field-low 68. Currently T30 on TOUR in par-4 scoring average. Co-led in Puerto Rico after one round last year and held the outright lead at the midpoint before fading into a tie for fifth place.
A mainstay on the leaderboard at Trump International where he's 5-for-5 with two top 10s and another pair of top 20s. His career scoring average in 20 rounds on the track is 69.75.
Coming off a career-best T6 at the Northern Trust Open where he had missed his previous two cuts. Also finished T15 at the Sony Open and T2 at the Farmers. Ranks fifth in strokes gained-putting and ninth in the all-around.
At 5-over 73-72=145, he owned the dubious distinction of posting the highest aggregate on the weekend at PGA National among the 12 that finished inside the top 10. He placed T9 last week as well as last year in Puerto Rico.
Despite the litany of journeymen who have triumphed here, Derek Lamely won as a rookie in 2010. The rookie Guthrie finished solo third at last week's Honda Classic. He's T102 on TOUR in par-4 scoring average, but co-leads on par 5s.
While he missed his cut in his only appearance in Puerto Rico (2011), he's started this season with five straight cuts made, four of which going for a top 25. Ranks 15th on TOUR in greens hit and T10 in par-4 scoring average.
Not necessarily on form at the moment, but he gets the benefit of the doubt thanks to posting top 15s in each of his last three appearances. Ranks 20th on TOUR in strokes gained-putting and T30 in par-4 scoring average.
Fresh off a four-stroke victory at the Colombia Championship on the Web.com Tour where he led the field in par-4 scoring average and par breakers. Polished off the title with a field-low 66 on par-71 Country Club de Bogota.
Undeniably strong in this tournament despite the fact that his only two top 10s on the PGA TOUR in his last 158 starts are victories at Trump International (2009, 2011). He's also finished T15 (2010) and T42 (2012).