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WGC-Cadillac Preview: Passing Up the Big Boys

Greg Vara

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

Some weeks on the PGA Tour are as predictable as a backache after shoveling a foot of snow. Others are like what we had at the Honda Classic last week. Heading into the Honda Classic, Michael Thompson had missed three of four cuts and finished T78 in his other start. In 10 rounds of golf prior to the Honda, he posted a score in the 60s just once. In other words, there was nothing to indicate he'd even make the cut at the Honda, let alone with the dang thing. It wasn't just Thompson, though. The only player to put any pressure on Thompson last Sunday, Geoff Ogilvy, has been in a slump that spanned a couple years, and his results this season looked eerily similar to that of Thompson's. Add to that a top-10 from Lucas Glover as well as Erik Compton and you have a scenario that just about no one saw coming. This happens from time to time on the PGA Tour, though. In fact, it was bound to happen. Consider that six of the first eight events this season were won by golfers who had won multiple times on the PGA Tour, and I dare say, this season was unfolding quite predictably. Consider the Honda the exception to the rule, the result that keeps the balance. If last week's results are bothersome, though, no need to worry. With another WGC on the horizon, the golf world likely will reset itself this week and another top-tier golfer will take the crown. As for me, it's time to grab a shovel and get to work.

This week:
WGC-Cadillac Championship

Last Year:
Justin Rose shot a final-round 70 on his way to a one-stroke victory over Bubba Watson.

Players to Consider:

1. Matt Kuchar

Kuchar steamrolled the competition two weeks ago at the WGC Match Play event and returns to Doral this week where he's finished in the top-10 in his three appearances here.

2. Justin Rose

Rose is the defending WGC-Cadillac champ and looks to be rounding into form. Rose tied for fourth with a large group of players last week at the Honda.

3. Keegan Bradley

Bradley earned a top-10 in his only prior start at this event last season and looks like he might be ready to go on a roll. Bradley is one of the best in the world when he gets on a roll, and he might be on his way as his T4 last week showed.

4. Adam Scott

Scott struggled mightily at Doral early, but his performance the last two years here suggests he might be ready to make some noise this year. Scott finished with a top-15 here last year and a top-10 the year before.

5. Charl Schwartzel

Schwartzel continued his streak of top-10s in stroke-play events last week at the Honda, though it wasn't a conventional top-10. Schwartzel came from well off the pace Sunday to make a run into the top-10. He'll likely be in a better spot heading into Sunday this week as he's posted two top-5s in his last three starts at Doral.

Players to Avoid:

1. Phil Mickelson

The last time I placed Mickelson on the Avoid List, it turned out very well ... for Mickelson. There is a good reason he's here, though. It's been a few weeks since he's played on the PGA Tour, and we have no idea how his game will look this week. His track record here is all over the place, as well.

2. Tiger Woods

I'm guessing this is a first; Tiger and Phil both on the Avoid List. This doesn't mean Tiger is bound to play poorly this week, but considering he only plays a limited number of events each year and his track record at Doral is just so-so,(by his standards), this might be a spot to pass on him.

3. Rory McIlroy

This is getting a little ridiculous, but there is a good reason for McIlroy to be on this list, as well. In case you haven't been paying attention, McIlroy is not, well, he's not himself right now. As he proved last season, he can pull out of a funk without notice, but do you really want to take a chance on him this week?

4. Ian Poulter

When we last saw Poulter he was tearing through his competition at the WGC Match Play event, but that's nothing new. He loves that format and often thrives there, but stroke-play is a different story and so is his record at Doral. Only two top-30s in six tries at Doral.

5. Lee Westwood

Westwood may never live up to expectations on this side of the pond. Year after year we expect great things from Westwood, but all we get is some solid play, but nothing spectacular. His track record here suggests another ho-hum week is in store.

YAHOO! FANTASY GOLF

Group A

1. Bubba Watson
2. Geoff Ogilvy

Without a doubt, a very risky pairing this week, but I think it's the right move. It would be easy to go with Tiger and Rory this week, but that didn't exactly work out well last week. Watson was runner-up here last year, and Ogilvy seems to have found his game. One of the two should pick up some big points this week.

Group B

1. Justin Rose
2. Matt Kuchar
3. Keegan Bradley
4. Steve Stricker

Plenty of good options in Group B this week, and only Kuchar and Rose are "musts." Bradley is also a good option, but I'm a little concerned about his limited track record here. The Stricker pick is a little out of character for me, but he's proven this season that when he chooses to play, he's a threat. Stricker has two top-5s in two starts this season.

Group C

1. Charl Schwartzel
2. Adam Scott

This looks to be a solid pairing in Group C. Schwartzel is on fire and should be on every team this week. Scott might not be on every team this week, but he should be considered by all. He's a little under the radar, and that's when he usually strikes.

Starters Round One

1. Geoff Ogilvy
2. Justin Rose
3. Matt Kuchar
4. Charl Schwartzel

Might as well go all-in with Ogilvy this week, right? Actually, I'm not totally comfortable with this pairing, but that has more to do with who I left off the squad than who is on the squad. Considering the pair I do have, Ogilvy seems like a good option as he's coming off a good week and, more specifically, a good round at the Honda. Group B looks pretty straightforward out of the gate with Rose and Kuchar, who look like two of the best picks in the field this week. Easy choice in Group C, as well, as Schwartzel is on an extreme roll. He almost fell off the pace last week, but a solid final round saved his top-10 streak.

Round Two and Going Forward:

As you already know, Group A will be interesting this week. I'll have one eye on my players and the other on the two guys I left off my team this week. As for my golfers, it really could go in any direction. I'll just have to wait and see how Ogilvy comes out before I make a call Friday. Group B is in the hands of Rose and Kuchar until they falter, or better yet, if they falter. I'm going to be conservative with Bradley this week as I've already used him four times this season. Stricker likely will be the first one in off the bench if he starts well. Group C is Schwartzel's to lose, but I don't think he'll force my hand. Scott could play his way in, of course, but he'll have to play really well early to do so.