Donald Trump may become the 45th President of the United States but whether or not he becomes a distraction as his Trump National Doral course hosts the WGC Cadillac Championship this week, he’s unlikely to change the essence of the way he goes about his business.
The same is true of world No 4 Bubba Watson or Irish stars Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry as they prepare to take on the fearsome Blue Monster.
For Watson, the big-hitting, self-taught left-hander from Baghdad in Florida, golf is a game of feel and confidence and he all but admitted in Miami yesterday that he will never win The Open or the US Open because he simply hasn’t got the will to change his game to suit those tests.
For McDowell and Lowry, flexibility nuance are part of the equation.
“I'm never changing my game for a certain tournament,” said Watson, who has missed the cut in both the Open and the US Open for the last two years. “I play 20 tournaments a year, so that means 20 different swings and thoughts I've got to figure out.
“I love the game of golf over in Scotland, links golf, true links golf. I love it. But one week, going over for one week is hard for me to get where I need to be to perform at a high level.
“The British Open, really it bugs me a little bit just because the imagination, I haven't been able to perform all four days.
“But truthfully, if we ended right today and Bubba could never play golf again, I think my career is better than I ever dreamed it could be.”
This week’s challenge is not quite the Masters but it is still tailor made for Watson — a bomber’s course that requires imagination and a high ball flight.
It’s not the kind of track that is usually kind to the likes of McDowell and Lowry, for all his length, prefers a course where he can take advantage of his short game.
As golf evolves, there will be fewer opportunities for the likes of McDowell to shine and win regular tour events, even if the 7,500 yard Blue Monster has only been kind to him twice — in 2010 when he was tied sixth and three years ago, when he shared third behind Tiger Woods.
Back on track with his game after refocussing following the birth of his daughter in the latter half of 2014, McDowell’s coach Pete Cowen reckons he’s still got another 10 years to look forward to in big events such as The Open or the US Open.
“He’s got a bit more focus, a bit more discipline,” Cowen said at Doral yesterday. “He’s got his eye back on the ball You never lose the talent.”
What Cowen does see changing is the game itself but he’s hopeful that a talent of 36-year old McDowell’s magnitude will be relevant for another decade, especially in the majors.
“The game is evolving, changing,” the PGA Master Professional said. “So over the next 10 years, you are going to see guys burnt out at 35 because of the forces they are putting their bodies through, hitting it so far.
“There again Adam Scott and Sergio are still good at 35. Why? Because technically they are very, very sound. They are not just standing there and lashing it.
“The power game is already there, especially on the resort courses. But you are still going to have a US Open where the power game is not going to be much good to you.
“Certainly in a British Open, flight control is everything and Bubba at St Andrews wasn’t any good because he doesn’t have much control of his ball flight. He has a lot of spin on it but he doesn’t have control of it.
“It is perfect for Augusta. I’d bet on Bubba Watson every year at the Masters. There couldn’t be a course more made for him. But here at Doral, you just have to bomb it, if you look at the results over the years, it is a bomber’s course.”
Watson has yet to win at Doral, though he’s finished in the top three in three of the last four years. But while it is a big ask for McDowell, he finds a way to get around and compete here.
“Graeme is still a player and will be able to play into his mid-40s,” Cowen said. “There is room for everybody. In fact, I think Graeme will get himself in the mix in a few of the majors this year.”
Cowen also has a lot of time for Lowry, who tied for 17th on his debut at Doral last year.
Recalling how the told the GUI that they had two potential star players at an early coaching session he gave over a decade ago — “The’s another one you know, the fat kid with glasses” — he’s not surprised that the Clara lad has become one of the world’s best.
“You can always see he was going to be a very good player. He has always had unbelievable pitching and short game skills,” he said. “And he loves playing golf. He loves the game. And that’s why he does so well.
“He has never been an avid practicer, thrashing thousands and thousands of balls. But he will pitch for hours because he loves it.”
As for tomorrow’s opening round of the first WGC of the year, Rory McIlroy has been “drawn” in the traditional Big Three group with world No1 Jordan Spieth and No 2 Jason Day.
McDowell partners Billy Horschel and Bill Haas as Lowry goes off with Jimmy Walker and Kevin Na.