Shane Lowry has promised PGA Tour officials that he’ll do his best to watch his language at the Blue Monster this week. But in common with his golf game, and Graeme McDowell, he will just hope to adapt as best he can to the challenges ahead.
As he chases his second World Golf Championships success in the Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral, the Clara star admitted that he has no intention of curbing his fiery temper or his tendency to blow off steam with a well-chosen curse.
The world No 23 admitted that a PGA Tour fine — believed to be $5,000 — is almost certainly winging it way to him by post after he unleashed a series of F-words after sending a seven iron into the lake at the par-three 15th in the final round of the Honda Classic last Sunday.
He just can’t promise he won’t let another torrent of curses go if he runs up another big number on Donald Trump’s water-strewn resort, where McDowell is hoping that his driving accuracy and pinpoint iron play will allow him to compete with the bombers.
“I definitely won’t be changing,” said Lowry, who tweeted, “So I said a bad word, shoot me,” after his curses drew twitter criticism on Sunday night.
“Obviously I will try not to do that again. I said it to the guys on the PGA Tour, I will do my best. I think there could be a (fine) in the post. But it does go to charity, so that’s the good thing.”
Lowry tied for 17th in his debut at the Blue Monster year despite closing with a 74.
And he’s hopeful he can do better this year and avoid more water disaster on the feared 18th, where he followed a par with three bogeys 12 months ago.
“You have to keep it out of trouble,” Lowry said. "The 18th is just a tough hole.
“It is one of those where you are delighted to be walking off with a four. You just have to stand up with a pair of balls and hit one down there.”
The Bridgestone Invitational winner is hoping to pick up some world ranking and valuable Ryder Cup points this week and he’s impressed with captain Darren Clarke, having played under him in January’s EurAsia Trophy win.
Clarke is in Florida this week, preparing for next week’s Valspar Championship in Tampa and the following week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
Clarke made the first move towards breaking the ice with 2014 skipper Paul McGinley —the pair had a 45-minute Ryder Cup chat on the driving range during the Dubai Desert Classic — and his manager is optimistic he can be a good captain.
“He’s going to be very good,” Chubby Chandler said of the 2011 Open chamoion, who has already prepared his speech for Hazeltine in front of a camera.
“His attention to detail is unbelievable.”
Attention to detail is key at Doral, which Lowry regards as a tough test.
“It’s the same as last week,” he said. “You just have to play well.”
The course has produced a string of big-hitting winners though the winning score has plummeted since designer Gil Hanse ravamped it completely two years ago.
But that it measues 7,543 yards from the tips and features acres of water — hence the name Blue Monster — means the power players excel.
Since the event moved to Doral in 2007, the winners have been Tiger Woods, Geoff Ogilvy, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Nick watney, Justin Rose, Tiger Woods, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson.
Players like McDowell need to course to be firm and fast and the rough to be thick if they are to compete and the 36-year old is trying to convince himself that he has half a chance this week.
“It is kind of a firm golf course so you have to hit fairways,” said McDowell, who tied for third behidn Woods on 2013. "The rough is a litle patchy so in the past when it was a consistent bermuda, if you missed fairways it was very difficult to hold these firm greens. Si that has helped me in the past.”
He likes the course changes and the tweaks in the shape of extra fairway bunkers that are designed to rein in the big hitters a little more this year.
“Driving accuracy has been more of a key and I still think it is a key. I haven’t seen all the course yet but from the few tweaks I have seen they are helping me.
"The change on seven is massive for me. The change on the par-five 12th is a helper for me. There are some nice little assists in the course this year for the mediocre driver, length wise.
“I know if I can drive it good and hit a lot of fairways, the way my iron play is feeling at the moment, I can compete here so. I come in here and look at this as a golf course I can get round. It is not like some of the others, where I feel like I have absolutely no chance. Part of me feels like I have absolutely no chance this year.”
McDowell’s swing coach, Pete Cowen, believes the Portrush native will always compete in major events by the very natire of the venues.
“Thankfully a lot of the big tournamntns are played on tough courses — the US Open, The Open, courses I can get it round,” said McDowell, who wil be 37 in July. “The mid-30s, late 30s iused to be the prime of your golfing career, now you look across that range and I am not sure what the age is.
“There’s a lot of golf for everyone and there are major there to be won —- just as long as I am in them. So I am ticking along.”
McDowell was facing a tough 2016 as he approached the end of 2015. But his win in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba during the Fall Series and his fifth place at last week’s Honda Classic got him into the field this week. At 55th in the world, the WGC-Dell Match Play is also on the radar.
“Winning the Mayakoba cleaned up the schedule,” he confessed. “And last week clearned it up a little bit more.
The year continies to pan out nicely in front of me and I am in a good place bioth physically and mentally.
"I feel like I am swinging it as well as I have in a few years. I kept saying the word patient last week so I have got to let it happen and ride the momentum.”
Trump National Doral, Blue Monster (PGA Tour course guide)
PAR 5, 605 YARDS
This hole has been significantly lengthened by moving the green back approximately 70 yards. Fairway bunkering has also been moved to reflect the driving distance of the pros, and a large centre line fairway bunker has been put in to challenge the second shot. Players will have to decide if they are going to lay up with their second shot to play over or around this bunker. Playing over and to the right will open up a better angle for the third shot. The green is significantly narrower than the original and slopes feeding in off the left will be the bail out for golfers avoiding water to the right, but the front left greenside bunker will need to be avoided to get at this slope. There are some very interesting and challenging hole locations on this green — especially back right.
PAR 4, 448 YARDS
There’s a new angle for the tee shot as it plays farther to the left than the original second hole, and sets up well with the diagonal nature of the fairway bunkers that are now in play. The green has been moved back and the small pond to the rear of the original green is gone, creating room for spectators to view the sloping putting surface.
PAR 4, 436 YARDS
The tee has been shifted to the left to create a new angle and create room for the 17th tee to be expanded. The remainder of the hole is pretty much intact, with the removal of the coconut palms on the water’s edge being the main change to the fairway. The green has been expanded and offers some interesting changes in elevation to guard the hole locations. The chipping area and bunker to the left of the green provide a varied recovery option from that side of the green, while water on the right offers no recovery option
PAR 3, 227 YARDS
This hole is also basically intact from the original design with the major change being a re-contoured and expanded putting green.
PAR 4, 421 YARDS
This hole has been lengthened about 40 yards by moving the green back. The tee shot has been altered by raising the grade of the fairway and setting bunkers into the elevation change, challenging the tee ball on both the left and right side of the hole. The new green is elevated and small and tightly guarded by bunkers, including one in the approach that appears to be greenside from the fairway.
PAR 4, 432 YARDS
Like many of the other holes on the course the fairway bunkering has been moved (and angled) to reflect a certain shot shape (in this case, left to right) in order to fit in between the bunkers. The angle of the green and the greenside bunkers will then favour a right to left shot. The green has been re-shaped to create some interesting corners for hole locations
PAR 4, 471 YARDS
The entire hole has shifted to the right, and numerous trees were removed so that the lake on the right is now exposed. The tee shot is angled further right and between newly created diagonal fairway bunkers, and the green has been shifted 50 yards to the right and placed at the end of the lake on the right side of the hole. Front hole locations will have the water clearly in play, while a bunker guards the left side of the green for those who are not feeling aggressive on the approach shot.
PAR 5, 549 YARDS
The tee shot is pretty much the same as before – although fairway bunkers on the right have been moved farther down. The second half of the hole has been dramatically changed with the green moving 70 yards to the left and being placed on the lake that is shared with the 10th hole. The second landing area is guarded with two bunkers on the right and water to the left and right side of the fairway. The green is tucked behind three greenside bunkers, and it slopes toward the water away from these bunkers.
PAR 3, 200 YARDS
Another hole that has been completely rebuilt with the tee complex shifting to the area where the old eighth green used to sit. The shot is now played over water to a perched green with water along the entire right side of the hole (as opposed to the being on the left for the original hole). The green has some interesting contouring and the bunker front right of the green feels as if it is in the right front of the green instead of 15 yards short
PAR 5, 614 YARDS
The tee shot on this hole has been transformed into a “bite off as much as you can chew” shot instead of the original hole that used to play down the left side of the lake. Now golfers will have to pick a carry point on the far edge of the lake and shape the shot according to that carry point. The green has been moved back 80 yards from the original location into an area that had been unused space. The green sits up on a plateau and has some significant contour in it, and it is best approached from the left, which is guarded by a small canal on that side of the hole.
PAR 4, 422 YARDS
The strategy of this tee shot will be dictated by the hole location and the appropriate angle to play into that portion of the green. The fairway has a long diagonal bunker cut through the center of the hole and playing left, right, or over this bunker will set up the next shot into this green. The green is one of my favourites on the course with terrific hole locations on the edges tucked into some eccentrically shaped “corners” of the green.
PAR 5, 601 YARDS
This hole is basically the same golf hole with the first set of fairway bunkers moved to again reflect the distance of the modern game. The green has been changed and offers more interesting putts, and the approach is more open in the front than the original hole.
PAR 3, 238 YARDS
Another hole that is basically unchanged in location and distance. The new green has more contour, and is bunkered in a different fashion. Mounding has also been added to the rear of the hole to promote better viewing of this long par 3.
PAR 4, 484 YARDS
The tee is in the same location but the fairway bunker scheme has been altered to create a diagonal carry down the left (and they have been moved into better position for today’s professional golfer). The green has been elevated and moved back and to the left about 35 yards to create a platform over the newly expanded lake on holes 15 and 16. The green has a lot of contour and some very tough pins on the left side over the long and deep-fronting bunker.
PAR 3, 153 YARDS
Perhaps the biggest change on the course is the re-design of this hole into a shorter par 3 with a peninsula green. The green really three greens within a green, with small targets for the golfer in the front right of the green, an upper shelf on the back right, and a lower section of the green to the left that has water to the front, back and left of this hole location. A bunker guards the right side of the green and will provide a stern recovery test as the golfer will have to aim at the water from this bunker. The view from the tee is capped off with the 16th hole serving as the backdrop for the hole and a large spectator mound to the right of the green will mean that a lot of people will get to enjoy an entirely new hole.
PAR 4, 341 YARDS
Although the hole plays in the same corridor, we have removed the trees down the left side of the hole and opened up the challenge for golfers to go for the green on this short par 4. If players go for the green they will have to carry the corner of the lake and navigate a nest of greenside bunkers. Those who lay up will need to carry a long diagonal bunker to find the newly elevated fairway and will then play a short iron into the wide but shallow green. The green has plenty of hole locations to defend against the lack of length on the hole
PAR 4, 425 YARDS
This hole has been lengthened slightly at the tee, and the fairway bunkers have been moved down range and arranged in a diagonal fashion to challenge the golfer to shape their shot to play in between the bunkers. The green has been shifted to the right by about 15 yards, but it retains its long narrow shape and the bunker configuration around it is similar to the original golf hole.
PAR 4, 476 YARDS
By shifting the 17th green, we have been able to create room for spectators behind the 18th tee, and we have opened up the view corridor down the left side of the tee shot by removing trees. The remainder of the hole is basically unchanged -- the exception is the addition of some palm trees down the right side of the hole to complicate the recovery for golfers who bail out into this area.