Fact Pack: WGC-Cadillac Championship, Puerto Rico Open
- By Will Gray
- Mar 5, 2013 2:28 PM ET
This week, fantasy players once again have two events to contemplate. While many of the world's best head down to Miami for the season's second WGC event, the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, a full-field event will also be contested at Trump International Golf Club, which plays host to the Puerto Rico Open. Both courses should provide players ample opportunities for birdies, as prime scoring conditions are expected at each venue this week. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title(s) and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:
• While par was often a good score at last week's Honda Classic, those hoping to contend this week at Doral's "Blue Monster" will need to take advantage of the par-5s. Each of the last two years, the eventual winner has played those holes in 11 under for the week, while Ernie Els played holes 1, 8, 10 and 12 in 12 under par for the week en route to victory in 2010.
• If par-5 scoring is key to success at Doral this week, par-4 scoring will be the stat to keep an eye on for the full-field event in Puerto Rico. George McNeill's winning total last year was 16-under 272, but he was a whopping 11 under on the 10 par-4 holes at Trump International. Two years earlier, Derek Lamely led the field in par-4 scoring, playing those holes in 10 under for the week.
• Getting off to a solid start will be imperative this week on the "Blue Monster," as the opening hole presents what statistically will likely be the best birdie opportunity players will encounter all year. In 2012, the hole - which measures 529 yards but often plays significantly downwind - was the single easiest out of 882 holes on the PGA Tour, playing to a stroke average of just 4.16. Last year the hole yielded significantly more eagles (34) than bogeys (6), and those who leave with a par this week will have literally given up nearly a stroke to the field.
• Taming the Bermuda grass on the greens at Doral will also be important for those looking to hoist the trophy this week at the season's second WGC event. Since 2009, each eventual champion has finished inside the top 10 for the week in putts per round, highlighted by Phil Mickelson, who took only 99 putts en route to his win in 2009. The last player to win without a hot putter was Geoff Ogilvy, who claimed victory in 2008 despite ranking only T-21 in putts per round. It helped, of course, that he led the field with 55/72 greens reached in regulation.
• As the calendar turns to March, golf fans may be surprised to see the name currently atop the PGA Tour's all-around ranking: Robert Garrigus. Garrigus, who finished T-5 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and tied for sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open, is also second on Tour in birdie average, second in par breakers, sixth in driving distance and sixth in GIR percentage. He has yet to finish worse than a tie for 22nd in any of his five starts thus far in 2013.
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