Lusetich: You're mired! The Donald's Doral course devours field
MAR 07, 2014 11:16p ET
The Donald, incurably, regrettably, must be the star of every show.
Donald Trump, if it wasn't already obvious, is the Tiger Woods of egomania.
Even if he couldn't, because outside of his own mind he's not one of the world's best golfers, Trump found a way to wrestle away the spotlight on Friday, when he turned the Cadillac Championship into an episode of Celebrity Apprentice.
And for his schadenfreude, he deserves to fire himself.
After buying the Doral resort two years ago, Trump oversaw the redesign of the iconic Blue Monster by architect Gil Hanse.
Predictably, The Donald wanted it to be tough.
And tough is fine -- but what happened on Friday afternoon, when 35mph winds buffeted South Florida -- "bordered on unfair," according to a Donald who'd actually know, Luke.
Doral's 18 new greens are as hard as concrete -- typically the case with freshly laid putting surfaces -- but they're also undulating, which makes hitting approach shots in blustery winds a guessing game requiring more luck than skill.
"The last time I played in wind like that was in Baton Rouge during Katrina," said co-leader Patrick Reed.
(By the way, Donald, there was a reason the old greens were flat: it tends to get windy in Miami most afternoons.)
If that weren't bad enough, Trump instructed Hanse to add water to the layout.
And did he deliver on that order.
“The last time I played in wind like that was in Baton Rouge during Katrina.”
"There's water all over the place," bemoaned Francesco Molinari, "There's always a hazard in play."
And there are banks bordering many greens that lead to those hazards.
And that's where it got unfair.
No matter how conservatively some played iron shots, their balls were springing not just off the greens, but in some cases into the water, because the banks didn't have enough grass on them.
"There's just nowhere soft to land the ball on this course. Well, I guess the water. That's soft," said Bubba Watson.
And that's where 113 balls -- a record by a large margin -- ended up on Friday. An absurd number, given there are just 68 players in the field.
"I contributed to that number," Woods said, with a hint of a smile.
That, he did. Woods rinsed three shots in his second round and also had one in the morning as part of his first round.
"One of them was a perfect shot right down (the eighth hole), right down the middle of the fairway with a 3-wood. Just ran out too far," he said with a shrug.
Woods completed his opening round on Friday morning, which normally is an advantage given the winds tend to not pick up until later. But on this morning, they were whipping early and Woods struggled, turning in a 4-over par round of 76.
It was his highest ever score at Doral. Indeed, in his career, he's only ever shot three rounds over par here.
But that, obviously, was a different Doral.
The pity for Woods is that he really has no idea how to gauge where his game is after playing in these conditions.
He's off to the worst start to a season in his career, but what could he learn from grinding his way around here?
His play looked forlorn at times and then suddenly inspired.
After making the sloppiest of double bogeys on the 14th hole in his first round, Woods seemed to get angry, and that might have helped. He made three straight birdies after that.
He started the second round with two birdies, but then came five bogeys before back-to-back birdies and a respectable score of 73 (on a day the field average was 76).
"Just grind it out," Woods replied when asked what the day was about.
"I think when we made the turn, there were nine guys under par, and now there's only (four), so basically, you've just got to hang around.
"You just never know. We've all got a shot at it now. No one is going anywhere."
Indeed, at five over par for the tournament, Woods, though far from his best, is only six shots off the lead.
He conceded that, after 26 holes, his back -- which caused him to withdraw last Sunday from the Honda Classic -- needed rest.
"I'm a little bit sore right now," he said.
"Long day. Long day. So be nice to get some treatment tonight and be ready for tomorrow."
Although he generally hasn't putted well, Woods did make the lone birdie on the brutal par 3 4th on Friday. And he did it from 91 feet, 7 inches, making it the longest putt made on the PGA Tour since 2009 and the longest putt Woods has made since 2001.
"Just of those things," he said.
"I just tried to get the ball close."
Hard to do, though, with The Donald in the way.