If you needed a refresher of what happened at the 2018 World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, all you need to do is to recall what transpired in the last two weeks.
Phil Mickelson, who prevailed in a standoff, er, playoff with Justin Thomas at Club de Golf Chapultepec a year ago, recorded a convincing victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am that required a Monday finish. JT then settled for runner-up honors at the Genesis Open where he held a four-stroke lead entering the final round.
The two will see each other again this week in Mexico City, site of the second WGC of the 2018-19 season. Scroll past the extended ranking of 20 for more on the host course, how experience rapidly has emerged as a component, the new twist on the construct of the field and more.
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 20 Matt Kuchar 19 Rafa Cabrera Bello 18 Patrick Cantlay 17 Tony Finau 16 Tommy Fleetwood 15 Hideki Matsuyama 14 Webb Simpson 13 Bryson DeChambeau 12 Paul Casey 11 Sergio Garcia 10 Rickie Fowler 9 Marc Leishman 8 Xander Schauffele 7 Gary Woodland 6 Bubba Watson 5 Phil Mickelson 4 Rory McIlroy 3 Jon Rahm 2 Justin Thomas 1 Dustin Johnson
Tuesday's Fantasy Insider will include Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari, Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson among other notables.
The first two editions of the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec have fulfilled two expectations. For one, averaged-sized and undulating greens on unfamiliar courses even the playing field better than larger, flatter targets. Secondly, world-class golfers are quick studies.
After debuting just above its par of 71 in 2017, Club de Golf Chapultepec surrendered a scoring average of 70.348 last year, slotting it beside fellow par 71s, TPC Scottsdale and El Camaleón, as comps. The difference is that the field in Mexico City is just 72 deep and there is no cut.
One of the tournament's objectives this year was to increase field size. So, golfers outside the top 50 in the latest Official World Golf Ranking were added. Among the automatic qualifiers, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Adam Scott and J.B. Holmes declined to compete. Si Woo Kim, Brandt Snedeker and Adam Hadwin – three of the first six outside the top 50 in the OWGR – turned down spots in the field.
Thirty-five in this week's field appeared here in 2017 and 36 competed in 2018. Twenty-three qualified for and competed in both, including Mickelson and Thomas, while 24 others are making their debuts on the course.
At an altitude above 7,500 feet, Club de Golf Chapultepec tests the math skills of golfers and caddies alike, but the rough estimate is that it plays about 10 percent shorter than its posted 7,345 yards. Calculating a tip is more challenging.
Last year's learning curve included an increase of 8.6 yards in distance of all drives (302.7 yards) and a reduction of 4.65 percent in fairways hit (56.72) versus the inaugural contest. Directly correlating to hitting it longer, the field averaged more greens in regulation, buried more par breakers after hitting GIR and scrambled better.
The combination bentgrass-Poa greens are prepped to tip at 11-and-a-half feet on the Stimpmeter. This measurement accounts for the hills and thrills while catering in part to a global field in which some are not accustomed to the slickest of surfaces. The thickest of the kikuyu rough has been trimmed to two inches.
Similarly pleasant weather to what was experienced the last two years is in store this week. The heartiest challenge will be in the form of moderate breezes, but the daytime temperature will flirt with 80 degrees. The greatest chance of rain exists on Sunday, but it's barely worth the mention.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings (WGC-Mexico)
TUESDAY*: Power Rankings (Puerto Rico), Sleepers (WGC-Mexico), Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done (WGC-Mexico), One & Done (Puerto Rico)
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.