Doral Resort and Spa's Blue course (a.k.a. the Blue Monster) and
the Genuity Championship have gone through 40 years together,
longer than all but two other venue-and-event pairings on the
PGA Tour, Augusta National and the Masters (68 years), and
Colonial Country Club and the MasterCard Colonial (56). The
marriage between Doral and the tournament has endured a
disastrous face-lift (a course renovation gone wrong, in 1996),
seen the extraordinary (Greg Norman's 65 for 19 holes in 1990)
and been the subject of rumor (the tarpon in Doral's water
hazards are said to weigh 200 pounds; in fact, the resort comps
the player who lands the biggest fish during tournament week).
This old couple will celebrate its anniversary from Feb. 28 to
March 3. What's the secret of its longevity? Spontaneity born of
wind, water and sand. They turn D-o-r-a-l into o-r-d-e-a-l (just
add one ill-timed e), and that's why we still tune in. How about
that? A marriage that survives because of its volatility.
Alfred Kaskel buys 2,400 acres of swampland in Miami for a golf
resort called Doral--a hybrid of his wife's name, Doris, and his
own. Skeptics dub it Kaskel's Folly.
Construction begins on clubhouses, lodges and courses. Dick
Wilson designs now-fabled Blue course. High-profile amateur
Frank Strafaci is hired as director of golf.
Born to Be Wild
Kaskel's Doral Hotel and Country Club opens in west Miami.
Meanwhile the $25,000 Sunshine Open Invitational in Miami Beach
is played for the last time. Kaskel sees an opportunity and
proposes a stunning $50,000 tournament for the same spot on the
At the first Doral Country Club Open, 92 Tour pros go 104 over
par on the par-4 18th hole in the third round. "This is a
monster...a blue monster," Strafaci tells the press.
During the pro-am before the tournament Kaskel notices players
cutting the corner of the dogleg-left 16th. Displeased, he
orders a row of palm trees planted there that night. When George
Bayer gets to 16 the next day, his caddie eyes the palms and
says, "Things grow pretty fast down here."
The 1968 U.S. Open champion, Arthur Ashe, joins Doral as
director of tennis in the prime of his career. He will go on to
his greatest win, at Wimbledon, in '75.
The Great Confrontation: Jack Nicklaus beats Forrest Fezler and
Bert Yancey by three strokes and archrival Johnny Miller--already
a three-time winner this year--by four.
Big, affable Floridian Andy Bean gets the first of his 11
victories on the Tour--he'll win twice more at Doral--as the
final round falls on his 24th birthday.
Another Floridian, future TV commentator Gary Koch, aces the
watery 225-yard 4th hole on the way to an easy five-stroke
victory--his first at any level in six years.
Tournament leader Mark McCumber goes way right on 18. TV shows a
ball stuck in a palm tree; Peter Oosterhuis and a marshal find
the real one 40 yards away. Mac wins.
After shooting 66-66 on Friday and Saturday, Lanny Wadkins holes
a 91-yard wedge shot on the 374-yard 5th on Sunday and finishes
three clear of the field.
Ben Crenshaw, flatstick savant, takes 26, 28, 25 and 26 putts
over four days. With one final draino--an 18-footer--he becomes
the first to birdie 18 on Sunday to win here.
Shark attack: Greg Norman chases his final-round 62 with an
eagle chip-in on the first hole of sudden death. His
seven-stroke comeback is the biggest at Doral.
After taking a stance in the water hazard on 18, Paul Azinger
kicks away rocks, hits out and signs for a 69. A TV viewer calls
in the infraction: Zinger is DQ'd and hopping mad.
Omnipresent teaching pro Jim McLean becomes Doral's director of
golf, but not for his record in the tournament. In his only
start, in 1982, McLean shot a 74 and WD'd.
Two weeks after a fire guts his Indian Creek Island, Fla., house
(above), Ray Floyd, 49, wins a third Doral title in what becomes
known as the Monster Miracle.
The Monster is in pieces after Hurricane Andrew blows down more
than 800 trees at Doral--the biggest cosmetic change to the
course in its history.
Shark attack redux: For his second Doral W, Greg Norman shoots a
23-under 265 to obliterate the old tournament scoring record,
set by Hubert Green in 1976, by five.
In an odd twist, literally, Fred Couples blows out his back on
the range, so winner John Huston has to play the first 11 holes
on Sunday by himself.
Greg Norman rinses his approach on 18, opening the door for Nick
Faldo, who despite a bogey on the 72nd hole wins for the first
time on U.S. soil since the 1990 Masters.
A Whole New Blue
With pros making a meal of the Monster, Ray Floyd and Ted
McAnlis shave the grass around the greens so wayward shots roll
into the water, and add 186 yards and 27 bunkers to give Big
Blue a new swagger.
In the first of two Steve Elkington victories at Doral, he jars
a 150-yard six-iron for eagle on the 430-yard 3rd and beats
Larry Nelson and Nick Price by two shots.
The only Doral appearance by Tiger Woods looks promising--he
enters the final round three shots off the lead--until he fires
a Sunday 73 to tie for ninth. He'll try again this week.
With nobody loving Raymond (or Ted)--says Scott Hoch, "They
butchered a good course as bad as I've seen"--Jim McLean removes
23 bunkers, widens fairways and lets the safety net of grass
regrow between greens and water hazards.
There's a new title sponsor (Genuity, signed on through 2006)
and nearly a new tournament scoring record as Jim Furyk ties
Greg Norman's 23-under total.
Two weeks after winning the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, comeback
player of the year Joe Durant shoots a record-tying 12 under
(67-65) on the weekend to win by two.
The Answer Is Blowin' in the Wind
Is the Blue still a Monster for the world's best players? South
Florida's famous wind hasn't blown at the Genuity since 1998, and
storms leading up to the last two tournaments have so saturated
the rough that it failed to grow high enough to irk the pros.
(Not so in 2002: It'll be an inch higher than usual.) The result:
scores like Stephen Ames's course-record 61 in 2000. Still, this
Monster can bite. The 18th hole ranked as the third-toughest hole
on Tour with a 4.5 stroke average in 1998. Why?
A stiff breeze--it's what makes the Monster come to life.
Hole Par Yards
1 5 529
2 4 376
3 4 409
4 3 236
5 4 394
6 4 442
7 4 428
8 5 528
9 3 169
OUT 36 3,511
10 5 551
11 4 363
12 5 603
13 3 245
14 4 443
15 3 175
16 4 372
17 4 419
18 4 443
IN 36 3,614