Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Furyk seeks Doral win No. 2
By John Hawkins
For all that made last year's Ford Championship at Doral such a success -- Tiger Woods beat Phil Mickelson in a final-round, eyeball-to-eyeball showdown -- a number of "control" players were angry the Blue Monster had virtually no rough. This transformed the tournament into a home run derby and compromised a challenging venue -- no big event did a "better" job of deprioritizing accuracy.
Seeing how Tiger edged Phil, do you think they'll grow rough this year? Not a chance, smarty-pants. Doral's Sunday ratings were among the highest of any tournament in 2005. This year's field is superb, as Woods, Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Sergio Garcia gather at the same event for the first time in 2006.
But I'm going with Jim Furyk, who sits right behind the Big Six in the World Ranking. In five starts at Doral since 1998, Furyk hasn't been worse than T-17. He won here in 2000, but more significantly, at least to me, he lost in the first round at La Costa.
Nobody, with the possible exception of Woods, lights a fire under himself better than Furyk. He's a good wind player, very comfortable on Bermuda greens, and he's a control player who won't let the lack of rough affect him.
Honestly, I'd pick Woods or Singh if it wasn't so easy. Furyk is an excellent bet to finish in the top 10. He plays hard for 72 holes and is tough enough to tangle with the top tier on Sunday.
John Hawkins is a senior writer for Golf World magazine