Denny McCarthy … Don't forget about this guy. After finishing atop the money list in the Web.com Tour Finals, he stumbled and missed the cut at the season-opening Safeway Open. After a two-week break, the 25-year-old regrouped and finished T7 in Mississippi and T15 in Vegas. That kind of extended confidence makes sense both in the context of how he performed in the Finals and with the added comfort of fully exempt status north of the graduate reshuffle category throughout 2018-19. Making his return to Mayakoba where he eked out a T68 thanks primarily to a bogey-free, 6-under 65 in the second round when no one went lower.
Adam Hadwin … Now that he's again outside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking (at 61st), he's back on the radar to qualify for this space. After a tough three-month run to close out 2017-18, he recorded three straight top 25s in the FedExCup Playoffs to total 10 on the season. Since, he's added a T10 at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES. That matches the result of his last trip to Mayakoba in 2016 when he ranked T4 in fairways hit, T3 in greens in regulation at T1 in par-5 scoring.
Nick Taylor … Since rallying to keep his job by finishing the 2017-18 regular season with six consecutive cuts made, he's turned the page and opened the new campaign by going 3-for-3. The 30-year-old Canadian opened last fall similarly strong before signing for a second-round 75 at Mayakoba to miss the cut by two, but he had connected five straight red numbers at El Camaleón dating back to a share of 15th place in 2016.
Adri Arnaus … The 24-year-old from Barcelona was the recipient of one of the four designated sponsor exemptions reserved for golfers of Latin descent, and he's comin' in caliente! He traveled from the United Arab Emirates where on Sunday he captured his breakthrough title on the Challenge Tour at the Ras Al Khaimah Grand Final. It vaulted him to season-ending second on circuit's order of merit and yielded a European Tour card in 2019. He also paced the 2017 Alps Tour in earnings on the strength of two victories, including at its season finale as well. Currently 134th in the Official World Golf Ranking, he's making his PGA TOUR debut in the same field as former Texas A&M teammate and recent Sanderson Farms Championship winner Cameron Champ.
Viktor Hovland … The last amateur to make his PGA TOUR debut with arguably as much fanfare was Joaquin Niemann at the 2017 U.S. Open. Hovland, a 21-year-old from Oslo, Norway, doesn't splash with the same pedigree as the Chilean who turns 20 on the Wednesday before the Mayakoba Golf Classic begins, but you'll be seeing quite a bit of him all season as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. The title yielded exemptions into the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship in 2019 as long as he remains an amateur, as well as others invitationals. The junior at Oklahoma State University currently sits No. 4 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and he's fresh off tri-medalist honors at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate in Texas where his Cowboys prevailed by 32 strokes. (Senior teammate Zach Bauchou also received a sponsor exemption to compete this week.)