Dustin Johnson returns to defend his World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship title this weekend – his third such victory at this event – having just fallen out of contention in the final round at the Riviera Country Club a week ago.
Another big name heading to Mexico is Rory McIlroy, who is looking to become the second player to complete the ‘WGC Slam’ by winning all four World Golf Championships events – something which Johnson himself accomplished in 2017
Past winners of this tournament making their way to Club de Golf Chapultepec include Adam Scott and Patrick Reed while past WGC Champions Kevin Kisner, Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas will also be in attendance.
Genesis Invitational Recap
With warm temperatures, little to no wind and the best non-major field all year you would expect a birdie fest, but once again Riviera showed why it’s possibly the best non-major course on tour.
Adam Scott won after being the only one in double digits under par for the week in what was a wild Sunday with the course playing the hardest it had all week, and no one was immune to the problems, even Scott had to live with to bogeys and a double on his way to victory.
At one point at least 10 players were within a couple of shot off the lead including Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Bryson Dechambeu and Morikawa.
The negatives for the week included Tiger who, after making into the weekend, couldn’t capitalise and ended last of those that made the cut, while out of our picks as nether Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau or Justin Rose did anything more than make the cut.
Course: Club de Golf Chapultepec
Length: 7345 yards
Greens: Poa Annua
Architect: Willie and Alex Smith
The golfers fly to Mexico City and Club de Golf Chapultepec for the first WGC of the year and while a few of the best have decided to skip it this year, including Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka, the presence of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson provide us with a pretty strong field.
Being at altitude the ball goes 8-12% longer here than at sea level which makes this course one of the shortest on tour; a quirky par-71 with narrow tree-lined fairways that can see you blocked from going at the flag if you are on the wrong side of the fairway.
The greens are small poa annua and in the three years, the tour has been here this event has produced some of the highest number of birdies and eagles, but the bogey and double figures are way above average too, so this is a true risk-reward kind of layout.
In my opinion the small tricky greens and the elevation makes scrambling, general short game and putting more important than most weeks.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
- Strokes gained approach
- Fairways gained
- Strokes gained around the green
- Poa annua putting
- Par 4 scoring 350-400 yards
- Opportunities gained
- Bogey avoidance
2019/20 Season overview:
Wagered: 93 units
Won: 149.66 units
Result: + 56.66 units
Outright winners: Hero World Challenge: Henrik Stensson 25-1 & Farmers Insurance Open: Marc Leishman 50-1
The mad scientist comes off a complete tee to green performance at Riviera where he gained over three shots both off the tee, on approach and around the greens and had he had a better putting week (lost 1,6 shots) he would have turned the 5th place finish into a victory. But Bryson is usually a good poa annua putter so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Before last years WGC Mexico everybody was high on Bryson because of his mathematical approach to the game and how he would have an advantage because of the elevation factor and even though he didn’t have a good debut here last year I still buy into that narrative, especially with the form he showed last week.
Xander does love a limited field no-cut event with three of his four wins coming in these types of tournaments and after a 2nd at the TOC and a MC at Farmers he now comes off two solid performances (16th and 23rd) where he gained strokes in all major tee to green categories; but where the putter didn’t get as hot as we know it can.
He ranks in the top 20 in approach, scrambling, bogey avoidance, around the green and par scoring 350-400 yards. Even though his 18th (2018) and 14th (2019) place finishes at this tournament wasn’t spectacular it’s worth noting that he gained 4,2 and 5,4 strokes on approach, so he has definitely figured out the elevation aspect of this place.
Yes, he has missed the cut in his last two starts, but the 23rd ranked player in the world whose strengths are his approach-play and around the green shouldn’t be triple digits.
Add to that he is a closer having racked up seven wins on the European tour with three of them coming in just the last 8 months the Austrian is a highly interesting pick this week.
*Odds subject to change