February 28, 2014
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- Alex Cejka has already won this season on the Web.com Tour. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
• COURSE: Trump International GC-Puerto Rico (Championship), 7,506 yards, par 72. Located at the foothills of the El Yunque Rainforest, the Tom Kite design began as four separate nine-hole routings before Donald Trump acquired the property. That prompted a 2007 reconfiguration into two 18-hole layouts. The PGA TOUR added Puerto Rico to its schedule a year later, on a new Championship course that begins among scenic man-made lakes and winds its way to the ocean.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 300 points.
• CHARITY: Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico Inc., which works with more than 140 different charities to enrich the lives of island residents. More than $3.2 million has been raised in the tournament’s first six years.
• FIELD WATCH: Defending champion Scott Brown and runner-up Fabian Gomez head a lineup of players from outside the world’s top 50 and not otherwise qualified for the WGC event at Doral. No. 69 Brooks Koepka, a European Tour pro from Florida, is the highest ranked entrant. … Alex Cejka, who won the Web.com Tour opener three weeks ago, tees it up here before heading back to the Web.com circuit. … Six major winners are sprinkled through the lineup: John Daly, David Duval, Trevor Immelman, Lee Janzen, David Toms, Y.E. Yang.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 268, Scott Brown (2013).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Derek Lamely (3rd round, 2010), James Driscoll (1st round, 2011), Chris Tidland (2nd round, 2011), Scott Brown (2nd round, 2013).
• LAST YEAR: Brown used a birdie/bogey swing to leapfrog Gomez on the final hole, setting a tournament scoring record in claiming his first PGA TOUR victory. Gomez, aiming to become the TOUR’s first Argentine winner since 2009 Masters champ Angel Cabrera, led by one on the 18th tee but found bunkers with both his second and third shots at the par-5 finisher. Brown, meantime, played a masterful 3-iron recovery from under trees that helped set up a 4-foot birdie. Jordan Spieth, playing on a sponsor exemption three months after leaving the University of Texas, parlayed a 67-67 weekend into a share of second with Gomez.
• STORYLINES: With the biggest names at Doral, Puerto Rico offers a prime spot for someone to pick up his first PGA TOUR victory. Three of the previous six winners were first-timers: Greg Kraft (2008), Derek Lamely (2010) and Brown last year. … Young sponsor exemptions also have made their mark, with Spieth’s runner-up finish preceded by Ryo Ishikawa’s a year earlier. In both cases, it was good enough to earn them Special Temporary status for the rest of the season. … Rafael Campos, 23rd on last year’s PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit, is one of four Puerto Ricans in the field. He’s joined by Max Alverio, Miguel Suarez and amateur Erick Morales.
• SHORT CHIPS: Brown’s victory last year ended a stranglehold that residents of Florida’s Gulf Coast had on the trophy. All four previous winners live within 130 miles of each other: Lamely and George McNeill (Fort Myers), Michael Bradley (Valrico) and Kraft (Clearwater). At one point, Lamely even bought McNeill’s house. … Austen Truslow, a Florida high-school senior, gets his first taste of PGA TOUR competition. Truslow earned the exemption reserved for the winner of the AJGA’s Puerto Rico Open in January, needing a four-hole playoff to finish it off.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 6:30-9 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 6:30-9:30 p.m. (GC). Sunday, 7:30-10:30 p.m. EDT (GC).
• RADIO: None.