Players set for another Blue Monster challenge

Wed Mar 4, 2015 5:24pm EST
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(Reuters) - An elite field including the top 50 in the world rankings will vie for supremacy at this week's WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami where the infamous Blue Monster course will once again pose a daunting challenge.

Last year, only four players were below par at the midway point of the $9.25 million event and many questioned the fairness of a layout which had been extensively redesigned since the 2013 edition of the World Golf Championships event.

Business magnate Donald Trump poured $250 million into renovating the Trump National Doral Resort, and the Blue Monster was stretched by 150 yards with more bunkers and trees added while greens were completely reworked with testing undulations.

"The greens are very firm again which is going to make it tough," world number one Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday while preparing for Thursday's opening round.

"Since the course was re-designed, the last couple of years it has been in fantastic shape. Previous years, it was scraggly and sort of messy in places but they've done a really nice job with it."

World number seven Sergio Garcia felt increased familiarity with the Blue Monster one year on should help players this week.

"We all know the course a little bit better now," he said. "We know how much tougher it is. We kind of know what to expect."

Masters champion Bubba Watson, a runner-up at Doral twice in the last three years, described the course as being in the best shape he had seen.

"The greens are perfect, the fairways are unbelievable," said the American left-hander. "The challenge around here is trying to hit your drive halfway decent; miss the water, miss the bunkers and make putts.   Continued...