The First Look: WGC-Mexico Championship
February 24, 2017
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
- Adam Scott will claimed his 13th TOUR title last year at this event. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
• COURSE: Club de Golf Chapultepec, 7,330 yards, par 71. Constructed in 1928 in an affluent neighborhood halfway between Mexico City and the suburb of Naucalpan, the club has held sway in Mexico since its opening. Willie Smith, the Scotland-born winner of the 1899 U.S. Open, was tasked with the design but ran into problems during the Mexican Revolution and died in 1916 with the project undone. Brother Alex took over and saw the course to completion. The Mexican Open got its start at Chapultepec in 1944, remaining as host until 1960 when the tournament began rotating sites. A Percy Clifford redesign in 1972 made significant changes, and further upgrades came in recent months to prepare for the World Golf Championship.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 550 points.
• CHARITY: The First Tee is the primary beneficiary of World Golf Championships events.
• FIELD WATCH: Dustin Johnson makes his debut atop the Official World Golf Ranking in the first WGC of 2017, joined by former No. 1s Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and back-from-injury Rory McIlroy as each of the world’s top 50 has committed. … The lineup currently stands at 75, though that will grow with a handful of late qualifiers. … Pat Perez, Brendan Steele and Mackenzie Hughes will likely be added off the FedExCup top 10, perhaps joined by Charles Howell III and CareerBuilder Challenge winner Hudson Swafford if they don’t drop from Nos. 9 and 10. … Martin Kaymer has the best chance of moving into the world’s top 50 Sunday night. … Web.com Tour pro Roberto Diaz locked up a spot as the top Mexican in the world ranking.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 261, Tiger Woods (2006 at The Grove).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen (both 4th round, 2002 at Mount Juliet), Bubba Watson (2nd round, 2012 at Doral), J.B. Holmes (1st round, 2015 at Doral).
• LAST YEAR: Adam Scott became the only player ever to capture both ends of the old South Florida double, following up his Honda Classic victory by charging back from a six-shot deficit over Trump Doral’s final 13 holes. The Aussie seemed out after two early double bogeys in his final round, but he quickly turned things around with six birdies in his next nine. He finished with three dramatic pars – from greenside rough at No. 16, a bunker at No. 17 and thick grass at No. 18 that stopped his approach from behind a tree from going into the water. The win was Scott’s 13th of his career, most among active players under 40. Bubba Watson finished one shot back, his fourth top-3 finish at Trump Doral in a five-year span -- but without a win.
• STORYLINES: Johnson, who won this event at Doral two years ago, now faces the added status of having the No. 1 ranking attached to his name. The Genesis Open was his fourth victory in a nine-month span, and he’s finished outside the top six just once since December. … McIlroy tees it up for the first time since aggravating a rib injury at the SA Open in early January. The reigning FedExCup champion sat out four events he usually plays, including The Honda Classic near his U.S. base in Jupiter. … World No. 4 Henrik Stenson is set for his first start in the Americas since last fall’s Deutsche Bank Championship. That also was the last time he didn’t finish among the top eight on the leaderboard, a run now at six straight starts worldwide.
• SHORT CHIPS: Chapultepec is the seventh different venue to host this WGC event, which began in 1999 as the WGC-American Express Championship. Spain’s Valderrama Golf Club played host for the first two editions, rotating through St. Louis (never played after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks), Ireland, Atlanta, San Francisco and England before settling at Doral. … This marks the first time since Doral’s 1962 debut that the PGA TOUR won’t visit the Miami area. Doral had ranked No. 4 on the TOUR’s list of longest annual stops.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 2-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, noon-3 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, noon-2 p.m. (GC), 2-6 p.m. (NBC).
• PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. ET (Featured Groups), 2-7 p.m. (featured holes).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.COM).