Brutal Doral takes no prisoners


DORAL, Fla. -- The best player in the world is ...?

Uh, this isn't the week to ask. Not after what's happened during the first two rounds of the WGC-Cadillac Championship -- otherwise known as the %@#*&! Wind Tunnel Open.

"It's so difficult, it's laughable,"  Bubba Watson said. "Easily the toughest [conditions] I've played in the U.S."

"Horrendous -- that's the word for it,"  Webb Simpson said. "The setup is horrendous."

"You're not going to see a lot of smiling faces,"  Jim Furyk said.

Friday was a great day to be a flag, a paper airplane or a kite, but it was an awful day to be part of the 68-player field at Trump National Doral.

The scoring average during the second round was 76.0, a full 4 strokes above par. How your foursome of leaders -- Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan -- finished at 1-under is beyond the comprehension of many of the players here.

Simpson, a former U.S. Open winner, shot 80-78. When asked if he wished there was a 36-hole cut for the event, he said, "A little bit.

"I played terrible -- I want to get that out there," Simpson said. "But so much luck comes into play. You're not seeing a true golf performance."

We did see lots of plump numbers on the par-72 Blue Monster, which was given a major combover by owner Donald Trump. The Donald paid big money for the course redesign but got Friday's 30 mph gusts of wind for free.

Those winds, plus greens that were as hard as Trump's nearby helipad, plus a course setup that earned harsh post-round reviews, plus more water than Biscayne Bay, all combined to make shooting par here a near fantasy. Only 14 guys were under par after the first round, only four after the second round.

"We don't want this to happen again," Simpson said of the PGA Tour-produced setup. "It felt like a million years out there."

This is supposed to be a tournament that helps further identify the world's best player, but the conditions (think Dorothy ... Kansas ...Toto), setup (the tees were Chris Berman-back, back, back, back, back) and Lex Luthor-evil greens have screwed up everything.

How can you judge how well someone is really playing when several of the greens are so slick they could double as water slides? How do you put scores into perspective when you can hit a perfectly wonderful approach shot ( Phil Mickelson can tell you all about it) and then watch in disbelief as the ball rolls off the green and into the wet stuff?

Simpson wasn't the only guy whose scorecard had bruise marks on it. Luke Donald went 70-82. Justin Rose went 74-77. Lee Westwood went 75-79. Steve Stricker went 77-78. Furyk went 78-79.

The world's No. 1-, 2- and 3-ranked players -- Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson -- are a combined 14-over-par for the tournament. And, despite the ugly numbers, Scott is only 5 shots out of the lead, and Woods and Stenson are only 6 behind.

What a weird day for numbers. Sergio Garcia was a combined minus-1 for 34 holes but 7-over for the remaining two holes.

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