Every golfer on the planet dreams of winning one of the major championships but just below those four tournaments in terms of reputation are the four World Golf Championship events. We’ve got the first WGC event of 2016 starting on Thursday with the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
This is undoubtedly the biggest event of the year so far. The quality of the field is unrivalled with 48 of the top 50 players in the world taking part. That quality is matched by the venue which is, for the 10th year running, Trump National Doral in Florida. The winner will have to somehow get the better of the fearsome par 72 that stretches to over 7,500 yards.
The course earned the nickname the ‘Blue Monster’ years ago after developing a reputation as one of the most difficult tracks on the PGA Tour. However, as the years went on players began to overpower the track – Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have both won with 19 under par. That all changed shortly after Donald Trump bought Doral. He hired Gill Hanse to make alterations throughout and in the two years which have followed the winning scores have been -4 and -9. That -9, set by Dustin Johnson, was something of a template for future success. This year’s winner is going to have to hit it a long way off the tee whilst remaining mentally strong enough to deal with the inevitable bogeys that come their way.
Johnson is the second favourite with the bookies at a top price of 12/1 with Ladbrokes but the man at the top of the outright betting is Rory McIlroy at 9/1 with Coral. Rory certainly has the distance required to go well this week but coming off the back of a missed cut at the Honda Classic neither his game nor mindset are in the right place. The same looks to be the case with Jordan Spieth but there are two well fancied players in good touch just now.
Both Bubba Watson and Adam Scott won their last tournaments by displaying some of their best golf. Bubba saw off the challenge of Scott by just a single shot at the Northern Trust Open before the Aussie went one better, outclassing a quality field at the Honda Classic. Watson is the longer of the two but Scott has enough distance off the tee to keep up with the vast majority of his competition. Both players have done well at Doral in the past and they should both be in the final couple of groups come Sunday when it will come down to who can remain mentally tough and take their chances. At 12/1 with Bet365 (Scott) and 14/1 with Betfred (Watson) they should both be included in your betting this week.
Henrik Stenson finished tied for fourth at this event last year and having found his way back to somewhere near the top of his game following knee surgery he must be good value at 28/1 with Bet365. He knows what it takes to win a WGC event and loves competing amongst the best in the world so back him each way.