Quick look at the Mayakoba Golf Classic
November 13, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Mayakoba Golf Classic preview
A celebration of Mexican culture and golf comes together in a beautiful part of the world as the fall portion of the FedExCup gets closer to the end. Rookies are chasing vital reshuffle positions … veterans are looking for valuable FedExCup points before the holiday break … and everyone is looking to have a great time in Playa Del Carmen … even the spider monkeys! Welcome to the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
As players finish the closing stretch at El Camaleón Golf Club they come to the 458-yard par-4 18th. Strategic bunkering means they better keep their focus on the game and not the Mayan style clubhouse in the background that provides quite the picture. Last season the final hole played to a 4.084 stroke average meaning if someone needs a closing par to win the tournament it will not be a snack.
From PGA TOUR meteorologist Joe Halvorson: “A front draped across the Yucatán Peninsula will remain stalled to our west through Friday. Out ahead of this boundary expect periods of rain to become likely, with scattered thunderstorms additionally possible. Rain will be heavy at times due to very high moisture values in place. Though rain and storms will be possible at any time ahead of this boundary, expect precipitation/storm chances to peak during the afternoon and evening hours each day. The cold front will finally push southeast of the area Saturday morning, ushering in considerably drier air for the weekend. Showers will remain possible Saturday morning, with dry conditions anticipated for Saturday afternoon and throughout the day on Sunday.”
SOUND CHECKReally excited to come back home and play in front of my people. This is one of my favorite weeks all year, very special. I love playing in front of my family and friends.
BY THE NUMBERS
7 – Number of players representing Mexico in the field led by Presidents Cup representative Abraham Ancer. He is joined by Efren Serna Jr., Sebastian Vazquez, Carlos Ortiz, Alvaro Ortiz, Roberto Diaz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Mexican-born Kristoffer Ventura, who represents Norway, is also in the field.
6 – Number of miles of freshwater canals surrounded by mangroves and birds – and spider monkeys – that connect the four exclusive resorts and residences around the El Camaleón golf course.
5 – Number of the winners so far this season in the field: Joaquin Niemann (A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier), Sebastián Muñoz (Sanderson Farms Championship), Cameron Champ (Safeway Open), Lanto Griffin (Houston Open) and Brendon Todd (Bermuda Championship) are all looking to keep up their strong form. Six of the eight winners in the fall portion of the 2018-19 PGA TOUR Regular Season qualified for the 2019 TOUR Championship.
30 – Number of yards added to El Camaleón Golf Club this season. It will now play 7,017 yards with the par-4 16th hole lengthened to 515 yards.
Chris Kirk returns to competition after taking time off to deal with alcohol addiction. The four-time PGA TOUR winner last played in April before walking away to remedy his situation. Read about his incredible journey here.
Defending champion Matt Kuchar is making his first start of the 2019-20 PGA TOUR season. He will look to successfully defend a title on TOUR for the first time in his career. This will be his fifth appearance at the Mayakoba Golf Classic (Won: 2018, T68: 2015, T3: 2008, T18: 2007). Last season he went bogey-free on the front nine in all four rounds on the way to victory. Kuchar is one of just nine players who has advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs all 13 seasons.
Harold Varner III wants nothing more than to win his first PGA TOUR event. But he realizes there is more to life than golf and winning takes many shapes and forms. This week Varner III is already a winner thanks to this story about his connection with a young Mexican man garnered over a video game.
FedExCup leader Lanto Griffin looks to extend his 24-point lead over Rory McIlroy and seeks to overtake RSM Birdies Fore Love leader Sungjae Im who is not in the field. The RSM Birdies Fore Love program awards the player with the most birdies (or better) during the Mayakoba Golf Classic a $50,000 donation to his charity of choice. The top three players who accumulate the most birdies (or better) in the fall, beginning with A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier and concluding with The RSM Classic, will be awarded $300,000, $150,000 and $50,000, respectively, for charitable donations to children and/or family-focused organizations of the player’s choice. Im sits atop the standings with 115 birdies, three more than Griffin (112). Denny McCarthy, with 104 birdies, is the next-closest challenger in the field.
Speaking of love, Davis Love III, the 55-year-old PGA TOUR Life Member and World Golf Hall of Fame member with 21 TOUR titles, will play his 769th PGA TOUR event, fourth-most all time (803: Mark Brooks, 799: Jay Haas, 784: Dave Eichelberger).
Chris Stroud is the only player in the field who has competed in all 12 editions of the Mayakoba Golf Classic. He has eight made cuts and four top-15 finishes, plus a withdrawal after an opening-round 70 in 2018. Had consecutive top-five finishes in 2011 (4th), 2012 (T5) and 2013 (T3).