We have our first WGC event of the year this week with the WGC-Mexico Championship being played from February 21st – 24th. The WGC events are unique in that there is no cut, and only a specific number of players are invited. If you happen to win a WGC event, not only do you get a nice little payday but also a 3 year exemption on the PGA tour. Only the best of the best get to invited play here.
- Thursday Feb. 21st: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM CST on Golf Channel
- Friday Feb. 22nd: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM CST on Golf Channel
- Saturday Feb. 23rd: 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM CST on Golf Channel
- Saturday Feb. 23rd: 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM CST on NBC
- Sunday Feb. 24th: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM CST on Golf Channel
- Sunday Feb. 24th: 12:30 PM – 5:00 PM CST on NBC
Whose Teeing Off
As I said in the opening, only the best get to play in WGC events. 72 players are invited so almost every big name there is will be here playing in a smaller field: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Bryson Dechambeau among many others. We will also see Brooks Koepka play on the tour for the first time in a long time. Some notable guys not teeing off this weekend are Justin Rose, Adam Scott, and Jason Day.
We have a short history here because this will only be the third year this tournament has been in place. Dustin Johnson won this tournament in 2017 and Phil Mickelson won in 2018 in a playoff over Justin Thomas. Therefore we have little track record to go off, and Dustin and Phil are such different players its hard to pinpoint what type of player is going to do well here. What is true, is that both Dustin and Phil are great with their irons. As you will read in the course preview, you need to be VERY good with your irons here to be successful. Let’s look at some notable finishes for guys here.
- Top 15 Both Years
- Justin Thomas ( 2nd 2018, 5th 2017)
- Dustin Johnson (7th in 2018, 1st in 2017)
- Phil Mickelson (1st in 2018, 7th in 2017)
- Sergio Garcia (7th in 2018, 12th in 2017)
- Tommy Fleetwood (14th in 2018, 2nd in 2017)
- Tyrrell Hatton (3rd in 2018, 10th in 2017)
- Jordan Speith (14th in 2018, 12th in 2017)
- Other good two year track records
- Paul Casey (12th in 2018, 16th in 2017)
- Jon Rahm (20th in 2018, 3rd in 2017)
- One Year Players
- Rory McIlroy finished 7th here in 2017.
- Brooks Koepka finished 48th in 2017.
- Xander Scahuffele finished 18th in 2018.
- Hideki finished 15th here in 2017.
- Back of the Pack for Betting
- Kevin Kisner has a good track record, 29th in 2018 and 11th in 2017.
- Alex Noren finished 14th last year but was 55th in 2017.
- Francesco Molinari who had a great year last year finished 25th in 2018 and 20th in 2017.
The boys are teeing it up at Club De Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City. The course is at 7500 feet above sea level, which means the ball is going to fly about 8.7% more farther. Some may say this is important for drives, which it is but more importantly guys are going to have to adjust for irons. So if a guys is great with is wedge from 120, he can now use that wedge at maybe 140. The guys who will win this tournament are going to be great ball strikers more than guys who can bomb the ball. This is also a fairly tight course off of the tee, so guys will have to be accurate off the tee.
The course is a Par 71 at 7,300 yards and was designed by Willie Smith in 1921, re-designed by Percy Clifford in 1972. We have some kikuyu fairways which apparently means the ball can spin a lot on you, the ball is set up nicely, and it’s sticky. Cool.
There are a lot of long holes on this course, but it plays shorter because of the altitude. There are two par 5’s over 600 yards, two par 4’s over 500 yards, and two par 3’s over 220 yards. Those long par 4’s and 5’s will be the times when guys who are hitting irons off the tee, are forced to take out their driver. Let’s look at some featured holes on this course.
Hole #1: 316 yard Par 4
The opening hole on the course is a short one that has two greens actually, although most of the time the green shown here is used. The slop on the green is from back to front, and left to right. Guys will be able to reach this green in one shot, this is straight on form the tees. Would be surprised if we don’t see at least a few eagles on this hole.
Hole #6: 625 yard Par 5
A very long par 5 here that will play shorter because of the altitude. This is also one of the few holes on the course that features water. Guys wanting to get here in two are going to need to absolutely BOMB a tee shot, then be able to get the second one over the water. Don’t see that happening too much here. The green here also has two different levels, and is protected by the water in front, two bunkers on the right and one on the back left. This hole also plays uphill and a little dogleg to the right.
Hole #8: 525 yard Par 4
A long ass par 4 and is the most difficult hole on the course. Players need to avoid the fairway bunker on the left, and then navigate to a green that is protected by three bunkers on the front, and and one to the right. This green also features three different levels and slopes from the back to the front. You can also notice in all these pictures just how narrow the fairways are and how the trees protect them. You need to be accurate and hit fairways here.
Hole #17: 172 yard Par 3
Had to throw a Par 3 on here so let’s look at the playoff hole Phil Mickelson won at last year. This is going to player shorter than 172 but is protected by the pond and sand-trap to the front and left, and then the sand trap on the back right.
Take a look at the highlight video below to get some better looks at the course and last years tournament.
One & Done: I’m gonna use a big name here that is hot and hope he continues his good play. I’m gonna go with Jon Rahm this week. The past five tournaments he has finished 9th, 10th, 5th, 6th, and 8th. He’s been playing phenomenal golf and his a shot or two away every tournament for being in contention for the win. He’s finished 20th and 3rd here, I think he has a great shot to win and will 100% get me at least a six figure pay day. Let’s go Rahm. The other guys I considered here were Rory, Sergio, and Hatton for throw away guy I might not use at all this year.
Betting Winners: Alex Noren (+10000), Tommy Fleetwood (+4000), Hideki Matsuyama (+3000), Justin Thomas (+1000)
Lets start with Noren here, he has finished 14th and 55th at this course the past two years and is one of the better foreign players out there. Him and Stenson are in a similar range but Stenson has just been missing cut after cut, for the odds he’s a good long shot. Fleetwood has finished 14th and 2nd here. He is one of the best players in the world, only a matter of time before he starts winning. Hideki has been playing well and is very good with his irons which will be important here, he finished 25th here two years ago. Thomas is the better favorite for a reason, he has finished 2nd and 5th here, he has three top 5 finishes already this year, and should have had a win last week.
Top 10: Tyrrell Hatton (+600), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (+1100), Paul Casey (+300)
Paul Casey has finished in second twice this year, once at Pebble Beach with another stacked field, he has also finished inside the top 20 here both years, like him to make that jump to the top 10. Aphibarnrat played here last year and finished 5th, at +1100 its not a bad bet for a guy who played well here. Hatton has played decent this year, missed the cut last week but he has finished 3rd and 10th here, good track record to bet on.
*Betting service did not have top 5 odds this week.
- Tommy Fleetwood ($8,200)
- Sergio Garcia ($8,000)
- Tyrrell Hatton ($7,300)
- Mark Leishman ($8,700)
- Alex Noren ($7,100)
- Jon Rahm ($10,700)
One & Done History
- Waste Management Open: Matt Kuchar – $293,467 (T4)
- Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Shane Lowry – $0.00 (Missed Cut)
- Genesis Open: Hideki Matsuyama – $177,600 (T9)
- WGC-Mexico: Jon Rahm –