1. Getting hot
Adam Scott is on a roll, and he's understandably on a list of favorites being tossed about to win next month's Masters.
The 2013 champion at Augusta National, Scott, 35, has won consecutive starts after finishing second at the Northern Trust Open, and you have to love the way he has gotten it done at the Honda Classic and WGC-Cadillac Championship, overcoming some big numbers along the way.
But if history tells us anything, it is that winning in Florida is no guarantee for success at the Masters. Jordan Spieth bucked that trend last year when he captured the Valspar Championship, where he defends his title this week at Innisbrook.
It was the first time in 10 years -- since Tiger Woods won at Bay Hill in 2005 -- that a player won in Florida and went on to win the Masters.
Scott is the first player since Woods in 2001 -- he went on to win the Masters that year too -- to win consecutive starts in Florida.
"I'd love to bottle up where my game's been the last couple of weeks and move forward a month,'' Scott said after his victory at Doral. "That's going to be the hard thing for me to do, is manage my expectations and manage my game to keep it right there.''
2. The other end of the scoreboard
While Scott was winning at Doral, fellow Aussie Steven Bowdich was looking to crawl into a bunker. That he played all four rounds and didn't complain or withdraw was a testament to him, because the scorecard can be cruel.
Bowdich, who has two PGA Tour victories, shot all four rounds in the 80s, becoming the first player in at least 30 years to do so on the PGA Tour in a four-round tournament. (It would be almost impossible to do so in anything other than a WGC event, as consecutive 80s would cause a player to miss the cut.) Bowdich finished 37 over par -- or 49 strokes behind Scott. It was obviously a tough week and he was struggling -- it can happen at Doral -- but his plight helps put in perspective Woods' ability to avoid shooting in the 80s.
In his entire career, Woods has shot the same number of rounds in the 80s -- four -- as Bowdich did in one tournament. And three of Tiger's came in 2015.
3. The man has a sense of humor
Give Bowdich credit. Not only did he withstand shooting four rounds in the 80s -- "Hey, it's just golf,'' he said -- but he also managed to reach out to Scott via Twitter and have a laugh.
Seems about right.. Well done Scotty!! Told you that you wouldn't get me by 50! pic.twitter.com/3uKWkdWeEg
— Steven Bowditch (@bowdo83) March 7, 2016
4. Match Play tweak
The World Golf Championship match play event has a new home, a new sponsor, a new date and a slightly new format.
The WGC-Dell Match Play takes place in two weeks -- and two weeks prior to the Masters -- at the Austin Country Club. And after the event last year went to a round-robin format for the first time (instead of straight knock out), it will now also allow for ties during the first three days.
In the inaugural attempt at a round-robin format, the rules called for matches that ended in ties to play off. That meant several instances where a Friday match -- you play the other three golfers in your group one time -- meant nothing, that both players had already been eliminated from reaching the Round of 16.
Ties will make that less likely, with any ties after the third session being decided with a playoff to reach the Round of 16.
5. Excellent timing
Woods opened a 10-hole short course last week at BlueJack National, the golf course he designed outside of Houston. It is his first domestic design, with nine holes open for play along with the 10 short holes he unveiled. And there could not have been any better publicity for the project when Woods was there to witness Taylor Crozier, 11, take the first swing.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 3, 2016
6. Tiger's status
At the opening for BlueJack National, Woods was part of a news conference, and inevitably his status as a golfer came up. Unless he is trying to be incredibly coy and surprise the world with an early comeback, it seems Woods' return to competitive golf will not be anytime soon.
"I'm progressing slowly. I take it day by day,'' Woods said. "That's the frustrating part. There is no timetable.''
Woods said he had not progressed beyond hitting a 9-iron, and it would seem unlikely that tournament golf could be in his immediate future following months of no competition.
7. Rickie's ace for autism
Ernie Els has an annual event on the Monday following the Doral tournament to raise funds for autism at Old Palm in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has set up a foundation called Els for Autism and typically gets a lot of support among PGA Tour pros. That's where Rickie Fowler comes in, having participated in the event -- and then topping it off by making an ace that meant a $1 million prize for the foundation.
Els was understandably thrilled.
— Ernie Els (@TheBig_Easy) March 8, 2016
8. Champions Tour
John Daly turns 50 at the end of April and won't waste any time making his Champions Tour debut the following week at the Insperity Invitational near Houston. "I'm coming in fresh,'' Daly said in a conference call. "I really don't have any expectations. Just to go play and do the best I can.''
Daly is ranked 933rd in the world and has not been fully exempt on the PGA Tour since 2006. He has spent most of the past decade playing on sponsor exemptions. In his past 29 worldwide starts, Daly has missed 18 cuts, with his best finish a tie for 10th last year at the Puerto Rico Open.
9. Woe is Dustin Johnson
What happened? Johnson was 8 under par and playing in the final twosome with Rory McIlroy, firmly in contention at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, just a stroke behind eventual champion Scott. Then he hit his tee shot in the water at the par-5 10th hole and fell apart.
Johnson played the first four holes on the back nine in 7 over par, making three double-bogeys and a bogey. He did add a birdie to shoot 42 for the final nine holes and finished with a 79 -- a full 10 strokes back of Scott and in a tie for 14th.