This past Monday I had a fun day at the Doral Golf Resort, site of this week’s WGC Cadillac Championship. I was in town for the official launch event for Nike Golf’s new game-changing 20XI golf ball, which was held on Monday evening (post coming soon). It was my first visit to Doral, so earlier in the day I took the opportunity to get out onto the Blue Monster course and see in person some of the holes I’ve seen so many times on TV. There are links to a couple of videos and a gallery of photos at the bottom of this post.
I headed out onto the course with my good friend Rob Hayashida from Sandbox8.com and we started at the putting green, which sits directly behind the main lobby of the hotel. You get a great view of the putting green from the restaurants and patio at the back of the hotel. From there we headed over to the 18th green where we met up with someone else from our group, new friend Gary Esayian from GolfBallSelector.com. After checking out the green complex, the lake to the left and the fairway landing area, we headed back to the tee where you see what the players face and why they call this one of the hardest, if not the hardest, holes on the PGA Tour. The players face a small landing area with water left and a bunker and trees on the right, an intimidating tee shot on any given day. But on Sunday afternoon at a World Golf Championship event, with the pressure on the leaders to place the ball in the fairway with the tournament on the line makes the hole exponentially more difficult.
At the 18th tee we met up with Ryo Ishikawa and a small army of Japanese photographers. There weren’t many players out on the course on Monday morning, and a film crew was taking advantage by shooting what looked like either some commercial footage or training tips during Ishikawa’s practice round. From the 18th tee we headed down 17 and back to the 17th tee, then to the 3rd tee and then to the 4th green. We then crossed over to the 16th green, then back up hole 2 and back up hole 1 to the clubhouse. We didn’t tour the entire course, but we saw enough of the key holes to get a feel for the challenge the players will face with a World Golf Championship on the line, especially with wind and weather in the mix. (link to new post)
I always get a kick out of seeing a tournament course in person for the first time, seeing firsthand the golf holes I’ve seen on TV. It makes watching the tournament on TV a little more fun, and gives an additional perspective to what I’m watching. Monday was no different, and it will be fun watching the tournament having been to the Blue Monster. I hope the photos below give you a sense of what it was like to be there in person.
Editor’s note: Expenses for travel to and accommodations at this event for the author of this post were paid for by Nike Golf. The author was not paid for this post, and the opinions expressed in the post are strictly those of the author.