It once was a popularly held notion that the golf season began at Doral (under a variety of different tournament monikers), to the chagrin of the West Coast tournaments that often produced formidable winners. Tiger Woods' Buick Invitational dominance and the appearance of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on the schedule buried the suggestion that Doral was golf's de facto starting line.
This notion has been unearthed for 2009, however, notwithstanding Woods' cameo at the Match Play last month. The PGA Tour moves to Doral this week for the WGC-CA Championship, marking the week that golf begins in earnest. For starters, it will be the first 72-hole event in which Woods will have played this year. It also will mark the first time that Woods and wunderkind Rory McIlroy will be in the same field over 72 holes. Last week, McIlroy, 19, tied for 13th at the Honda Classic in his PGA Tour debut in a 72-hole event, and his potential was on display. He led the field with 18 birdies (though he was undone by 13 bogeys and a triple bogey).
Geoff Ogilvy, meanwhile, is the defending champion at Doral, where Woods has won three times (twice in the Ford Championship at Doral).
In summary, Doral will have golf's full and undivided attention for 72 holes for the first time this year.
-- John Strege