Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy will seek to successfully defend his WGC-CA Championship title this week, and so extend his lead in The Race to Dubai, when he tees up alongside the world’s best players at the Doral Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida, USA.
Ogilvy secured his third World Golf Championship title at the WGC-Accenture Match Play two weeks ago, when the €1,101,204 he collected in prize money for his 4&3 triumph over England’s Paul Casey saw him overtake former Race to Dubai leader Sergio Garcia of Spain.
Having taken a week off to recharge his batteries Ogilvy will now attempt to tame “the Blue Monster”, as the Blue Course at the Doral Resort and Spa is affectionately known, and claim his fourth WGC title. Ogilvy heads a field of 52 European Tour Members in action in Miami.
Twelve months ago, Ogilvy triumphed by one shot after resisting the challenge of a quartet of Major champions in Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods.
All four men return to Miami intent on going one better this time around, although Ogilvy is clearly confident of retaining his crown.
The 31 year old, who rose to fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking on the back of his victory over Casey, said: “It’s always exciting to return to defend a golf tournament and go back to a course where you’ve played well. I played well the year before too, so over the last couple of years I’ve had a great time at Doral.
“It’s a cool tournament and they get a great atmosphere, so I’m looking forward to it. It’s obviously one of the biggest tournaments in the world. Doral is another historic venue on Tour – I think they’ve been going there pretty much every year for about the last 40 years. Tiger will be there and Camilo [Villegas] creates a big fuss in Miami, so it’ll be fun.”
Among those bidding to prevent another win for Ogilvy is World Number One Woods, who owns a record 15 WGC titles – with six of them earned at the WGC-CA Championship. Woods resumed his career two weeks ago after an eight-month lay-off following reconstructive knee surgery, reaching the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Woods was knocked out by South Africa's Tim Clark and reported no soreness or swelling afterward. He has enjoyed plenty of success on the Blue Monster, winning the Ford Championship in 2005 and 2006, and the WGC – CA Championship in 2007. He finished fifth last year, two shots behind Ogilvy, ending a streak of six consecutive victories.
Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke is the only other multiple winner of a WGC event with two victories, at the WGC- Accenture Match Play in 2000 and the WGC- Bridgestone Invitational in 2003.
Clarke’s compatriot Rory McIlroy will bid to enhance his burgeoning reputation when he goes in search of a maiden WGC triumph, having captured his first European Tour title at the recent Dubai Desert Classic.
After making it through to the quarter finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play McIlroy rose to 16th in the Official World Golf Ranking, and climbed to third place in The Race to Dubai.
Casey is one place above the teenager in second place, thanks largely to the €668,558 he collected for finishing runner-up behind Ogilvy.
The top five in The Race to Dubai are completed by Garcia, who heads to Florida on the back of a creditable tied 13th place finish at the Honda Classic, and Oliver Wilson, who defeated Korea’s KJ Choi and America’s Anthony Kim at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, and now heads to Doral for his debut in the WGC – CA Championship.
Other debutants include Korea’s Y E Yang, who secured a late berth in the starting field thanks to his win in the Honda Classic on Sunday and Spain’s Alvaro Quiros, winner of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters in January, will be competing in his first stroke play in America as he looks to make a name for himself on the world stage.