Power Rankings: OHL Classic at MayakobaBriny Baird came up just short at The McGladrey but history is on his side in Mexico.November 11, 2013
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist
There's an argument that of the six tournaments comprising the new prelude of the 2013-14 season, the OHL Classic at Mayakoba benefits the most. All are improved as a result of the revamped wraparound schedule, and the annual stop at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, was already included in the tournaments that contribute to the FedExCup, but it's always big news when an additional event is rewarded a home as a stand-alone event no matter when.
In November of 2011, the Madrid-based title sponsor, which, along with providing other solutions, bills itself as the "world leader in hospital and railway construction," agreed to a partnership with the PGA TOUR through 2018. In return, while the tournament wasn't contested during the 2013 season, tournament organizers were given the anchor position of the fall portion of the current slate. The purse has ballooned to $6 million (an increase of $2.3 million) and a full allotment of FedExCup points will be distributed. For the first time, the champion will be awarded an exemption into the Masters Tournament.
As you'd expect with considerable enhancements, this year's field of 132 is arguably the best in the seven-year history of the event. It will be competing on what was the hardest golf course (of eight) measuring less than 7,000 yards in 2012. El Camaleon is a par 36-35=71 that can top out at 6,987 yards. It averaged 71.651 in 2012 to clinch its second consecutive year as the fifth-most difficult par 71 on the schedule.
El Camaleon played as a par 70 from 2007-2009 before the eighth hole was modified into a par 5. In advance of the 2012 edition, holes 1, 2 and 3 shifted to play as Nos. 7, 8 and 9, respectively, while holes 4-9 slid to 1-6 in order. This was done to help with flow throughout the property. The rearrangement resulted in two par 5s measuring 554 yards in a three-hole stretch (Nos. 5 and 7).
How the course plays in November versus its original slot in February remains to be seen, but rain is expected throughout the week. Temperatures will climb into the mid-80s and ocean breezes are always a factor along the Riviera Maya. It's this challenge that has led to tempered metrics from tee-to-green over the years. In 2012, the field hit just 60.14 percent of the fairways (20th-lowest on TOUR) and 63.59 of the greens in regulation (21st). Saving par was no bargain, either, at 55.97 percent (18th). Regardless of conditions, the Greg Norman design has always rewarded veteran ball-strikers.
NOTE: For similar characteristics among all winners of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, please look for "Stats Suggest" in The Stats Report on Wednesday.
Power Rankings: OHL Classic at Mayakoba Rank Player Comment Brian GAY The 2008 champ is second in all-time earnings at El Camaleon. Also has a T20 in 2009 and a T5 in 2011. Tied for fourth at Seaside on Sunday. Daniel SUMMERHAYS Shared 36-hole lead and held outright lead after 54 holes at El Camaleon last year; tied for fifth. Logged a T10 at The McGladrey Classic. Briny BAIRD Close call at Seaside could serve as a springboard at El Camaleon where he's 6-for-6 with three top 10s and another pair of top 15s. Tim CLARK Making his tournament debut. Capped a T2 at The McGladrey Classic with a nine-birdie 62. Ten straight seasons with a runner-up finish. Charles HOWELL III Slipped outside the top 15 with a closing 71 to finish T27 at Seaside. Three top 20s among four cuts made in as many starts in Mexico. J.J. HENRY He's 3-for-3 with two top 20s to begin the season. Perfect in four starts at El Camaleon with a solo second in 2009 and a T9 last year. Charley HOFFMAN Bridged solid form of last season into 2013-14 with a solo fourth in Vegas and a T22 at Sea Island. Sits 26th in the all-around. Ryan MOORE First appearance at El Camaleon. Leads TOUR in earnings and total driving. Ranks T17 in GIR and first in putting inside 10 feet (65-for-68). Matt EVERY A couple of late bogeys at Seaside on Sunday thwarted a run; he settled for a share of seventh. Tied for third at El Camaleon in 2012. Kevin STADLER Top 20s in his last two starts, including a T10 at Seaside. He's 6-for-6 at El Camaleon with four top 20s; placed T16 last year. John SENDEN Fresh off his first top 10 on the PGA TOUR since the summer of 2012. First start at El Camaleon. He's 15th in strokes gained-putting. Robert GARRIGUS Top 25s in each of his three starts this season. Currently fifth in adjusted scoring and seventh in the all-around ranking. Greg CHALMERS After going the entire 2013 campaign with only two top-35 finishes (both top 10s), he's opened the new season with a T15 and a T10. Scott BROWN Two top fives already this season, including a T4 at The McGladrey Classic. Ranks 13th in strokes gained-putting; 39th in the all-around. Brendon TODD Fell outside the top 10 at Seaside with a closing 71, but tied for 16th to secure his 14th top 20 in his last 20 starts spanning two tours.