Quick look at the WGC-Mexico Championship
February 20, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
WGC-Mexico Championship preview
Tiger making his first career start in Mexico. Phil making his 600th career PGA TOUR start. Bryson making his first World Golf Championships start. Players practicing in shorts for the first time. Lots of firsts at Club de Golf Chapultepec – which, by the way, is first on the PGA TOUR in elevation, with 7,835 feet at its highest. The thin air should do wonders for those driving distance averages.
At 388 yards, the uphill par-4 18th is too long to be drivable, even in the thin air. But Bubba Watson came close last season with a 348-yard drive in the final round to set up his birdie. Most players will go the safe route, especially with trees surrounding the tee to create a tight window.
Club de Golf Chapultepec - 18th hole
The par-4 eighth ranked as the most difficult hole last season, yielding just 15 birdies over the four rounds with a stroke average of 4.277. It’s easy to understand why – at 525 yards on the scorecard, it was the second longest par-4 hole on the PGA TOUR last season (the 17th at the Plantation Course at Kapalua is 549 yards). In last year’s final round, the tee was moved back an additional five yards, with the stroke average increasing to 4.422. Here is where all tee shots landed last year.
From PGA TOUR meteorologist Wade Stettner: “Sunny skies are forecast for Thursday with partly cloudy skies on Friday. The weather pattern will change this weekend and there will be a chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms in the mountains on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Rain is not expected at the golf course, but there could be thunder and lightning in the mountains just west of the golf course during the late afternoon hours (mainly after 4pm).”
For the latest weather news from Mexico City, check out PGATOUR.COM’s Weather Hub.
SOUND CHECKIt's a cool little golf course. It's all right in front of you, there's nothing tricky to it. You can play the course a lot of different ways.
BY THE NUMBERS
2.1 – Percentage of PGA TOUR winners since 2000 who were 47 years old or older when they won (18 of 856). Phil Mickelson’s name is the most recent on that list after his win at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago.
58.82 – Percentage of drivers over 300 yards last season at Club de Golf Chapultepac. That’s the highest percentage at any golf course on TOUR last season.
120 – Number of hole-outs at the WGC-Mexico Championship in the last two years. Six of those hole-outs belong to Jordan Spieth, the most of any player.
233 – Length of hole-out by Justin Thomas two years ago at the 13th hole. It’s the longest of Thomas’ three hole-outs from 100-plus yards on this course.
Tiger in the WGCs: Given that he’s won a record 18 World Golf Championships events, it’s no surprise that Tiger Woods’ name is attached to many other WGC superlatives, such as: most times leading/co-leading after any stroke-play round (39, next closest is Dustin Johnson at 10); most under par (256 under, next closest is DJ at 129 under) and most rounds under par (84, next closest is Sergio Garcia at 82).
WGC Slam: The only thing Tiger Woods hasn’t done is win all four World Golf Championships events (he’s been shut out at the WGC-HSBC Champions in two starts). Dustin Johnson has five career WGC wins and is the only player with a victory at each event. In 2017, he won back-to-back WGC events – the first one in Mexico, followed by the Dell Technologies Match Play.
High altitude: The lowest elevation at Club de Golf Chapultepac is 7,603 feet; the highest is 7,835 feet. That makes it the highest course currently played on the PGA TOUR, and thus players must take that into account with their club selection. But length off the tee, says Justin Rose, isn’t necessarily the most important thing this week. “I think it favors a high ball hitter really, whether it be a long hitter,” Rose said. “If the ball's in the air longer, it's going further. So guys who can launch the ball higher making the most of the available altitude to give them that extra distance.”