Jim McLean gives Doral intimidating one-two punch

By Erik PetersonMarch 8, 2010, 11:57 pm
jim mclean course doral hole 14
No. 14 at Doral's Jim McLean Signature Course is just as intimidating as No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass

MIAMI – For amateurs and PGA Tour golfers alike, the TPC Blue Monster at Doral is one of South Florida's most daunting tests. And with the recent opening of the Jim McLean Signature Course at Doral, the resort now boasts the most intimidating one-two punch in the Southeast.

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The 18-hole championship layout, formerly known as the Silver Course, was redesigned by noted golf instructor Jim McLean, who not only has his flagship golf school at Doral but also was lauded for his redesign of the Blue Monster in 1999.

'That worked out very well,' McLean said of his 1999 project. 'The top tour players came back to Doral. They loved the changes back to the original Dick Wilson look. Our rounds of golf were taking close to six hours, and that dropped way back to under five hours.'

But while the TPC Blue Monster is most notorious for one hole – its water-lined, par-4 finisher – the Jim McLean course – for which McLean consulted Tom Fazio – has three holes in succession that will grab your attention. The trio is aptly dubbed the Bermuda Triangle.

The adventure begins at the par-4 13th, where players must avoid a lake that hugs the right side of the fairway from tee to green. The fairway is broad, but there's little room for error beyond it.

No. 14 is considered the signature hole at the Jim McLean course, and for good reason. This island-green par 3 is as diabolical as it is visually stunning. It's like No. 17 on the Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass, but the green is smaller, and there's a little more rough around the green. Good luck!

No. 15 is the easiest of the Bermuda Triangle holes, but for the third straight hole, any shot right of the target will meet a watery grave. The elevated, two-tiered green is this hole's greatest defense. Play a fairway metal or hybrid off the tee, and you'll have a simple approach shot. Like the other holes in the Bermuda Triangle, par here is a great score.

A tough beginning on the Jim McLean Signature Course at Doral

Don't get ahead of yourself, though. Before you get to the Bermuda Triangle, you'll have to navigate your way through a difficult opening stretch.

'The first three holes from the back tees are the toughest starting holes in Florida and likely the U.S.A.,' McLean said.

So why make the course so difficult? McLean says it's all about creating a memorable golf experience.

'Golfers are not traveling to play mediocre golf courses,' he said. 'The idea was always to get our guests at Doral to take the shuttle over to the Jim McLean course and also to have golfers traveling to South Florida make this a 'must-play' golf course.'

Upgrades at Doral Golf Resort & Spa

If you thought the Jim McLean Signature Course is the only thing Doral has going on, think again. It's just one item on a $16 million list of upgrades the resort is making. Other projects include a partnership with the PGA Tour's TPC to rename the Blue Monster, TPC Blue Monster at Doral, as well as the enhancement of The Great White Course and Gold Course with TifEagle greens.

Proof that positive change is well under way, Mesazul, a South American steakhouse opened during the 2010 CA Championship, as well as Bossa Nova, a Latin lounge.

A $5 million renovation of the spa also took place, with the recent opening of the Pritikin Spa and Wellness Center.

The golf star in Miami shines brighter because of Doral Resort & Spa and the new Jim McLean Signature Course at Doral. But don't be caught star-gazing or bogey beckons.
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.