DORAL, Fla. - While the Blue Monster at Trump National Doral Miami hibernates - waiting patiently for its next opportunity to host professional golf - it bides its time by devouring amateurs and wannabes who think they can handle one of the game's toughest challenges.
The PGA Tour left Doral in 2016, ending a streak of pro events held annually on the legendary Dick Wilson course since 1962. No matter what comes next - a PGA Championship or a women's major perhaps? - the Blue Monster will always be a part of golf lore.
Redesign work by Gil Hanse in 2014 and 2015 has sharpened the Monster's teeth for the next generation to come. Hanse added more length, bunkers and a lot more water. The new lakes are especially evident at no. 15, a par 3 with a peninsula green, and no. 16, a great risk-reward, drivable par 4 for those who can carry the hazard. The watery stretch from no. 8 to no. 10 is incredibly nerve-wracking to play. With two par 5s, it tends to be the make-or-break moment in every round. Just ask Rory McIlroy, who rinsed his 3-iron, tossing it into the lake after a bad approach shot on no. 8 in 2015.
Hanse didn't dare tinker with the famous finishing hole, a par 4 named one of the scariest holes in golf by Golf Advisor. It's got triple bogey written all over it.
The Blue Monster remains one of the most expensive rounds in golf. It's money well spent, though, considering the impressive resort upgrades by Donald Trump since 2013 and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to slay the beast.