The CA Championship at Doral messes up the PGA Tour's pre-Masters Florida swing
Golf has always been an "insider" sport – and no, I'm not just mad because I wanted to read more of an online golf story but was told I had to be an "insider" to continue. (Note to readers: To read compelling golf drama here, you'll never have to be an "insider.")
This weekend's CA Championship at Doral Golf Resort & Spa is an exclusive event, a World Golf Championships event, an event which eases Doral's pain at losing the Ford Championship. It's a limited-field tournament, bringing together 74 of the top golfers across the globe.
The problem I have with it is that it's messed up pro golf in Florida.
One of the many reasons the PGA Tour's Florida swing used to be exciting was because of the run-up to the Masters. Qualifying for the Masters is a great story line in and of itself.
The tournament at Doral is the last chance to get into the Augusta party, and now a lot of good golfers won't get the chance because they're not in the field. Tom Lehman and Scott Verplank, just to name two. Remember, this comes right after Arnold Palmer's party in Orlando, where he hosted his invitation-only field of 120 at Bay Hill.
To get into the Masters, you need to be in the top 50 of the world rankings or in the top-10 on the money list. There will be some very good golfers who might have cracked those barriers this weekend, if only they had had the chance.
Which leads into a brief discussion of the WGC. The golf world came up with the WGC in the hope the world's best players would compete against each other in the same tournaments, and that these tournaments would be held around the world, to make the game even more global.
There was even hope it would lead to a world golf tour of sorts.
It hasn't, and you'll note that the three WGC events are all held in the U.S.: the Accenture Match Play in Tucson, the CA Championship in Doral and the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.
Downtown Phoenix may be in the cradle of Arizona desert golf but it sure doesn't feel like fairway heaven. Indeed, no golfer would choose this zip code as a base for experiencing the region's wonderland of courses. But if you do find yourself stuck in downtown Phoenix on business or otherwise, itching to hit the links, you're not completely out of luck. Good tracks are within reach, including Papago Golf Course, one of the country's best munis.
Residential golf courses are frowned upon by many, especially the purists who rave about the "core golf" experience. But it's an economic reality that golf courses are often possible only when they're tied to real estate, especially in Florida, where choosing a golf community can be overwhelming. To make the process a little bit easier, GolfCourseRealty.com came up with a list of the communities we feel offer Florida's best residential golf.
For the price, Oak Grove Island Golf Club near Brunswick, Ga. is a good, pleasant play (except for all the homes) and a welcome counterpoint to some of the more expensive courses to the east on the coast. Designer Mike Young built in some gentle mounding that gives the course some movement in its relatively flat setting. There is also a lot of water, on every hole in fact, though not all of it comes into play.