Winning on the PGA TOUR never is easy, but even though Dustin Johnson has 20 titles, including at least one in every season since debuting as a member in 2008, that he's been shut out since his video game-like performance at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship last year is surprising.
DJ has averaged one victory in every 13 starts of his career. His title defense at Club de Golf Chapultepec is his 17th start since his five-shot romp, so there's a narrative that he's due.
Scroll past the extended ranking of projected contenders for how Johnson got the job done, how the host course challenges and more.
POWER RANKINGS: WGC-MEXICO CHAMPIONSHIP
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 20 Branden Grace 19 Abraham Ancer 18 Rafa Cabrera Bello 17 Patrick Reed 16 Paul Casey 15 Bryson DeChambeau 14 Shane Lowry 13 Bubba Watson 12 Matt Kuchar 11 Xander Schauffele 10 Webb Simpson 9 Sergio Garcia 8 Louis Oosthuizen 7 Hideki Matsuyama 6 Tommy Fleetwood 5 Adam Scott 4 Jon Rahm 3 Justin Thomas 2 Rory McIlroy 1 Dustin Johnson
Jordan Spieth, Marc Leishman, Gary Woodland, Sungjae Im, Kevin Kisner and Tyrrell Hatton will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
Johnson already is going for his third title in the event since its relocation to Mexico City in 2017. Last year, he led the field in both greens in regulation (58 of 72) and Strokes Gained: Putting. He gave back only three strokes (with one bogey and one double) en route to 21-under 263. To classify it as vintage DJ would be understating it. Lights-out performances occur far and few between, but he proved that it's possible on deceptively cozy Club de Golf Chapultepec.
The par 35-36–71 can stretch to 7,355 yards, but it plays about 10 percent shorter given its altitude north of 7,500 feet. (The course is 10 yards longer than it was in the last two years due to the extension of the par-5 11th hole to 632 yards.) Naturally, because of the thinner air, every ball in it flies further than at sea level, so you'd expect the course to ranked among the longest on average off the tee. In fact, at 303.6 yards in distance of all drives last year, it easily was the longest of 35 measured.
Adjusting every club by converting cover distance is more important than getting it as far from the tee as possible. Course management is critical. Primary rough is allowed to grow two-and-a-half inches and the Poa-bentgrass greens are small on average. They're also among the most undulating the field of 72 will attempt to solve all season.
All bunkers were upgraded with new sand and drainage since last year, but they essentially present the same challenge from the same spots of bother.
Approach-putt performance isn't a statistic discussed much, but it can reveal various levels of experience and challenge. Last year, Club de Golf Chapultepec was the stingiest track with an average of two feet, seven inches. Given that small measurement, a single inch can affect overall ranking considerably, but consider what it means in an of itself. Even in its third spin as host, the greens continued to serve as the primary defense. They also might be allowed to run as long as 12 feet on the Stimpmeter, so they will be faster than before.
Mother Nature will do her part in seeing to it, too. Sunshine dominates the forecast. Winds will be moderate at worst, and not steadily influential.
DJ's impressive work aside, last year's field still averaged 70.861 last year. Even-par 284 finished T39. There is no cut. The winner receives 550 FedExCup points and a three-year membership exemption.
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.
TUESDAY*: Power Rankings (Puerto Rico), Sleepers (WGC-Mexico), Fantasy Insider
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.