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Expert Picks: WGC-Cadillac Championship

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This week the PGA Tour heads in two different directions. While a full field will tackle the Trump International Golf Club in Puerto Rico, 65 of the world's best face the TPC Blue Monster Course at Doral for the season's second WGC event. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: Barring a dental, or mental, issue this week at Doral, the Ulsterman is assured of four competitive rounds (there's no cut at the WGC). Moreso than anything else, the world No. 1 needs reps - well, that and a good dentist.

Group 2: Ian Poulter: No truth to the rumor the WGC-Cadillac Championship has switched formats to match play, but the Englishman was impressive at Dove Mountain. Now it's time for that solid play to transition to a stroke-play event.

Group 3: Bo Van Pelt: He finished 2012 as well as anyone, but wasn't as sharp on the West Coast. Warm weather and Bermuda grass greens should help turn that around.

Group 4: George Coetzee: The South African has emerged as a player to watch every week following his torrid start to the season (T-9 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, T-2 Qatar Masters, T-3 Joburg Open). 


Win McMurry

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: The owner of the first WGC trophy this year doesn't just have that going for him at Doral. His last three finishes here have been T-3 in 2010, fifth in 2011, and T-8 last year. He's 19th in strokes gained putting (better than Donald and Rose) and 16th in scoring average. 

Group 2: Charl Schwartzel: He's first on the European Tour in GIR and has been solid in stroke play over the last few months. He's finished inside the top-10 in each of his last eight worldwide starts, including a T-9 finish at PGA National. Combine that with the fact he was runner up here in 2010 and finished tied for fourth last year and that's too solid to bet against.

Group 3: Jason Day: He was a winner on Sunday at the last WGC event, winning the consolation match. That third place finish was one of three top-10s this year, which also includes a sixth place finish at Pebble Beach. He hasn't contended in his two previous starts at Doral, but he has progressed following his debut's T-45 with a T-20 last year. He's fourth on Tour in the all-around ranking.

Group 4: Tim Clark: He ranks inside the top 25 on Tour this season in both GIR and scoring average. He was runner-up at Sony and made it to the sweet 16 at the Match Play. He tied for 22nd in 2010, his last start here, and tied for 12th in 2008.


Jason Sobel

Group 1: Justin Rose: Last year's champioin should be on the short list of elite palyers who could win again this week.

Group 2: Keegan Bradley: Seems to be rounding into form in time for anotehr title contention at another WGC event.

Group 3: Rickie Fowler: Seriously? I know it's a strong field, but this talented kid mired in the middle of Group 3? Sign me up.

Group 4: Padraig Harrington: If his mind is right and his putter cooperates, Harrington could find himself in the mix come Sunday afternoon.


Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: Coming off a Match Play win, with a week to rest, and has a great record at Doral - top 8s in each of his past three starts there. 

Group 2: Charl Schwartzel: Another player with a stout record at the Blue Monster - T-4 and second in his past two starts in Miami.

Group 3: Robert Garrigus: Sleeper pick to win this week, and hasn't finished outside the top 25 all season.

Group 4: Russell Henley: Quiet top-15 finish last week at Honda, and possesses the kind of power game that should bode well at Doral.