The US Open Champion has been battling a shoulder problem this year, pulling out of last week’s Honda Classic as a precaution, with tendonitis having reduced the Englishman to only two appearances so far in 2014 Titleist AP2 714 Irons.
Rose slayed the Blue Monster in 2012 as he won his first World Golf Championships event and was tied for eighth last year as Tiger Woods added to his formidable WGC record.
But past form may count for little this week, with the Florida venue having undergone some major changes in the last 12 months.
“I’d say it’s definitely a different Doral,” said Rose. “They have obviously been working hard at it.
“A lot’s clearly been done since last year; the golf course is a new golf course.
“There are elements that you recognise, but the shots and the lines and the reads on the greens are all completely new, so yes, I played well here in 2012 but again this is essentially a new golf course.”
Rose believes his victory in Doral two years ago played a significant role in giving him the confidence to capture a first Major at Merion last June.
“It kept me on what I said was a trend of winning bigger and bigger tournaments,” he said.
“The trend and the progression was getting bigger and bigger and it really only left a Major. So my story to myself was the next one is a Major, working my way up the ladder. I’m glad it turned out that way.”
Rose is also hoping that his shoulder injury does not return and feels he can contend despite his preparation being hampered.
“The shoulder is definitely getting Titleist 913 D2 Driver better. It’s just tendonitis, so the tendon just gets angry if you do too much,” he said.
“Basically, I’ve just got to re-pattern the shoulder, get everything moving better around it, get the muscles hitting better.
“I wouldn’t call it 100 per cent but I would call it on the way there and it will be a situation where I’m just going to continue to get stronger and stronger over the coming months.
“I feel very comfortable with where my swing is at and what I’m working on, and it’s allowed me the opportunity to work more on my short game, which I’m hoping will be a blessing in disguise.
“I still believe I can go out this week and win the golf tournament. I’ve seen enough good things happening on the range and enough good things on the putting green. But there’s no substitute for competitive sharpness, so that’s what I’m lacking right now. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Meanwhile, debutant Victor Dubuisson is hoping to make a similar impact as he did on his first appearance in a World Golf Championships event two weeks ago, when he was runner-up in the WGC-Accenture Match Player Championship.
Despite eventually losing to Jason Day in the final, the Frenchman impressed throughout the week and is now virtually assured of a Ryder Cup spot following that result.
The 23-year-old is no looking forward to testing himself in a WGC event under stroke play conditions.
He said: “This week, it’s very different. It’s stroke play, so it is very different to two weeks ago. I’m really confident about this week – even if I don’t know what the course looks like now.
“I’m not really more nervous. I just try to do my best on every shot on the course, and I try to don’t really think about the event I’m playing. For example at the Match Play, on Sunday morning, I was on the range and I realised I was going to play in a few minutes against Ernie Els in the semi-final of a WGC tournament.
“I always dreamed to play him, and I had a very poor start Titleist AP1 714 Irons. I will try not to make that mistake again.”