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2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship: Top 10 Players to Watch at Trump Doral

Fred AltvaterContributor IIMarch 2, 2014

2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship: Top 10 Players to Watch at Trump Doral

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    Tiger Woods won the 2013 WGC-Cadillac and received the trophy from Donald Trump.
    Tiger Woods won the 2013 WGC-Cadillac and received the trophy from Donald Trump.Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    The PGA Tour makes its second stop on the "Florida Swing" at Trump Doral for the WGC-Cadillac.

    Although this is not a major championship, it will have a major tournament feel as only the best players in the world are invited to this no-cut event.

    Tiger Woods won this event last year and will be looking to repeat.

    There is a total purse of $9 million available with $1.6 million going to the winner.

    Doral has undergone a major renovation over the past 12 months, and the players will be getting their first look at the new and improved "Blue Monster."

    Here is a listing of 10 players who have performed well here in the past and have also visited leaderboards this year.

10. Jason Day Won the Match Play

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    Jason Day won the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
    Jason Day won the WGC-Accenture Match Play.Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Jason Day is coming off the biggest win of his career at the WGC-Accenture Match Play.

    This win, coupled with his win last year in the World Golf Championship in Australia, may just be the confidence boost Day was seeking.

    He has a ton of game and seems to perform best in big events, and they don't come much bigger than the WGC-Cadillac.

    Day could make a huge statement with a win at Trump Doral this close to the Masters.

9. Rickie Fowler May Be Ready to Win Again

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    Rickie Fowler finished third in the Match Play.
    Rickie Fowler finished third in the Match Play.Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Rickie Fowler is now a pupil of Butch Harmon, and he seems to be learning at a rapid pace.

    He struggled through the early part of the 2013-14 season, until he finished third in the WGC-Accenture Match Play.

    He defeated Ian Poulter, Jimmy Walker, Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk along the way and was playing very solid golf until he ran into eventual winner Jason Day.

    Fowler rebounded on Sunday afternoon to win the consolation match over Ernie Els.

    His strong play in the match play should give him a ton of confidence heading into Doral.

8. Keegan Bradley Has Not Won Since 2012 WGC-Bridgestone

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    Keegan Bradley finished seventh in the 2012 WGC-Cadillac.
    Keegan Bradley finished seventh in the 2012 WGC-Cadillac.Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Keegan Bradley has not won on tour since the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he finished seventh at the 2013 WGC-Cadillac.

    Bradley is another young player who seems to play his best when the stakes are the highest.

    Just 27 years old, he already has three PGA Tour wins, including a PGA Championship, on his resume.

    He only has one top-10 finish thus far in 2013-14, but he posted three strong rounds at the Honda Classic before a final-round 73 moved him down the leaderboard.

    The time could be right for Bradley to return to the winner's circle at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

7. Graeme McDowell Plays Tough on Tough Tracks

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    Graeme McDowell has three top-10 finishes this season.
    Graeme McDowell has three top-10 finishes this season.Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Graeme McDowell always plays difficult golf courses very well.

    He won the 2010 U.S. Open at a very difficult Pebble Beach, and he finished T-3 at the WGC-Cadillac last year.

    In just three starts this season, he has three top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour.

    He was playing as well as anyone at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, until Victor Dubuisson defeated him one-up.

    McDowell likes south Florida, and he likes this golf course. Doral demands accuracy off the tee and a deft putting touch. 

    GMac possesses both of these golf attributes.

6. Justin Rose Is Battling Shoulder Issues

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    Justin Rose withdrew from the Honda Classic.
    Justin Rose withdrew from the Honda Classic.Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Justin Rose has not played much golf this season and is nursing a sore shoulder.

    He finished T-45 in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera and was knocked out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play by Els in the second round.

    He was scheduled to play in the Honda Classic but decided to rest his shoulder to be healthy for the WGC-Cadillac.

    Rose has had very good success at Doral in the past. He won here in 2012 and finished T-8 last year.

    He will be worth watching this week just to gauge his health and where he is in relation to the Masters looming in five weeks.

5. Sergio Garcia Finished T-9 at the Honda Classic

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    Sergio Garcia is playing some of his best golf.
    Sergio Garcia is playing some of his best golf.Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Don't overlook Sergio Garcia, he is playing some of the best golf of his career.

    Garcia has made every cut in his three starts on the PGA Tour this year. He has two top-10 finishes and one top-25.

    He had a three-up lead over Rickie Fowler at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, until Fowler turned on the jets and nipped Garcia at the end of the match.

    Garcia was T-3 in the 2013 WGC-Cadillac Championship.

    He also just finished T-8 in the Honda Classic.

    He is looking more and more like a player who is ready to win a big event like the WGC-Cadillac Championship. 

4. Adam Scott Had a Great 2013

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    Adam Scott is the No. 2-ranked player in the world.
    Adam Scott is the No. 2-ranked player in the world.Eugene Tanner/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Adam Scott added a Green Jacket to his wardrobe last year and won The Barclays in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

    He made a very successful return to his native Australia in November, winning the Australian PGA Championship and the Talisker Masters.

    He teamed with fellow Aussie Jason Day to win the World Cup team competition and finished runner-up to Rory McIlroy in the Australian Open.

    He has moved to No. 2 in the world and appears ready to win more big events.

    Scott finished T-3 in the 2013 WGC-Cadillac Championship and should be near the top of the leaderboard again this year.

3. Phil Mickelson Missed the Cut at the Honda Classic

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    Phil Mickelson won at Doral in 2009.
    Phil Mickelson won at Doral in 2009.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Phil Mickelson is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.

    One thing for sure, though, whenever Mickelson plays, he will be exciting.

    Mickelson won at Doral in 2009 and finished T-3 here last year.

    In five starts, he has not posted a single top-10 finish yet this season, and he missed the cut at the Honda Classic.

    Beware of the wounded professional golfer. 

    Mickelson's missed cut at PGA National just may give him the motivation necessary to post a high finish this week at Doral.

2. Rory McIlroy Is Trending Upward

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    Rory McIlroy lost in a playoff at the Honda Classic.
    Rory McIlroy lost in a playoff at the Honda Classic.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Rory McIlroy looked very much like the old Rory McIlroy through the first three rounds of the Honda Classic.

    His two-over par 74 on Sunday derailed his victory walk and landed him in a playoff with Russell Henley, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox.

    Henley won the playoff on the first hole, but McIlroy's play was very encouraging to his fans.

    Through three rounds, McIlroy exhibited the form that earned him two major championship victories and made him the No. 1 player in the world.

    If McIlroy were a stock, I would strongly advise that you buy.

    He has fallen to No. 7 in the world, but he will be moving back toward No. 1 in the very near future.

1. Tiger Woods Is the Defending Champion

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    Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw from the Honda Classic.
    Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw from the Honda Classic.Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Tiger Woods is the defending champion this week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. 

    His win last year was his seventh victory at Doral.

    He would have been the prohibitive favorite to win again, but his play has been lackluster at best, and he withdrew from the Honda Classic, citing back spasms.

    Thus far in the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, Woods finished T-80 in the Farmers Insurance Open and withdrew from the Honda Classic.

    He suffered the same ailment last year at The Barclays in the final round and managed to finish runner-up to Adam Scott.

    He was five-over par through 13 holes on Sunday at PGA National and not a threat to win the tournament.

    Saving his back for the WGC-Cadillac may have been a wise move.

    The only thing that can beat Woods these days is his body. He needs more reps, but every swing and round puts more stress on an already overstressed body.

    Will his sore back and achy knees allow him to continue his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus?

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