The PGA Tour is south of the border this week for the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec. Since they will be 7,000 feet above sea level, and since Chappy has relatively firm turf, some players will regularly break the 400-yard barrier off the tee. So in spite of stretching to 7,355 yards on a par-71 layout, this course will play short.
I fully expect this week’s winner to be ultra-aggressive and drive a handful of par 4s. Those who lay up off the tee to give themselves a full yardage will have more difficulty than usual. The variables of the altitude and the firm greens will make it tough for them to get their wedges as close as they typically do. On the other hand, aggressive players will have a lot of short pitches and chips that won’t be as affected by altitude calculations. So when one of the bigger hitters in the field has a hot driving week, he will have many second shots from on or around the green on par 4s. In my opinion, this is very likely to be the formula for victory at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
Here are a few players to target:
Xander Schauffele $9,400
Schauffele is a great pivot play at the WGC-Mexico Championship. He is priced directly under Adam Scott, who will be highly owned after his win at Riviera. Schauffele has performed well in top-flight limited field events such as this one. He drives the ball at an elite level, and when he’s on, he can rack up birdies in bunches. X-Man has placed 14th and 18th in his two appearances at this event.
Gary Woodland $8,300
This play is based on long-term form. Gary Woodland is basically a cheaper version of Dustin Johnson; both fit this course perfectly. While Woodland hasn’t played great lately, his price is way too low for a guy who has the ability to win any tournament, especially one with no cut. Woodland can bomb it with the likes of Rory McIlroy, John Rahm, and DJ, but he can play strategically as well. That’s why he has done well at courses not typically known as bomber’s paradises (Copperhead at Innisbrook, El Camaleon, and Waialae, to name three).
When Adam Scott plays well, he tends to do so for multiple weeks in a row. The last time Scott won on the PGA Tour in 2016, he went on an epic tear. Over the course of three weeks, he racked up a 2nd at Riviera, a win at the Honda Classic, and another win at Doral (the precursor to the WGC-Mexico). So I wouldn’t be surprised to see him retain his form this week.
García is a savvy pick this week if you’re worried about burning a player you might want to use later in the year. He has finished 6th, 7th, and 12th in his three appearances at Club de Golf Chapultepec, and his success at similar courses—including Valderrama Golf Club in his native Spain, where he has won three times in the past decade—bodes well.