Golf Rankings for WGC - Mexico Championship
The venue for this week's WGC-Mexico is marked at 7,330 yards, but will play significantly less than that due to the high altitude at which the course is located. It's hard to make this exact calculation, but the true yardage will be well under 7,000 yards. That tends to even the field in terms of distance, and the tree-lined fairways further skew this course towards short, accurate hitters. DJ overpowered this course last year, but he was the exception to the rule. The GC at Chapultepec features kikuyu fairways and rough – which we've seen recently at Torrey Pines and Riviera – and poa annua greens. We want to look at some putting splits, but pay extra attention to players who performed well at those tracks on the California swing. Digging further into the scorecard here, I noticed that the par-5s are very long, which again may mitigate the advantage of the bombers. Par-4 scoring is going to be critical this week, since we have 11 par-4s this week, some of which are extremely short. It should be a birdie fest, and I think the winner will be the player who wins par-4 scoring for the week.
In terms of stats I feel are important, birdie or better percentage, SG:Tee-to-Green, SG:Approach, and par-4 scoring seem to be good targets. Correlating courses that I'll take a small look at this week are Riviera and Torrey Pines (due to similar grass types), TPC Kuala Lumpur (CIMB Classic), and three European Tour venues: Crans Sur Sierre (Omega European Masters – this is at a very high altitude, as well), Wentworth (BMW PGA Championship), and Woburn (British Masters rotation).
This week's field is headlined Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and a ton of the top European Tour players. If I had to pick one of these guys to win this week, it would be Jon Rahm.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG:APP): Ball-striking, especially with irons, is going to be a major key for players this week. Chapultapec is way above sea level, so distance control becomes exceptionally difficult. Last year's leaderboard was littered with elite ball-strikers, and I expect more of the same. In terms of recent play, the players to target in strokes gained approach are Justin Thomas, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Alex Noren, Russell Henley, Phil Mickelson, and Paul Casey.
Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee (SG:OTT): Every week, off-the-tee play is a main target. Guys who can hit it long and straight have a huge advantage over the rest of the field. It makes courses shorter, and allows them to hit approach shots from shorter distances, setting up birdies. Even though this course is narrow, we saw DJ, Rahm, and Pieters atop last year's leaderboard. The best off-the-tee players are Jon Rahm, .Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey, Gary Woodland, Tommy Fleetwood, Kevin Chappell, and Bubba Watson.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%): There are really not many weeks where we aren't going to target birdie or better percentage, because that's what fantasy golf scoring is all about. This event should lend itself to higher scores, so players who can steal the most points for birdies will be ahead of the pack. The best players in this field in recent birdie or better percentage are Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Paul Casey, Phil Mickelson, Brendan Steele, and Gary Woodland.
Par-4 Scoring (P4): Chapultapec plays as a par-70, meaning we don't have the usual par-5 barrage these guys typically see. The ones we do have are very long, so the majority of scoring will be on par-4s. That means par-4 scoring will have an added emphasis, especially longer par-4 scoring average. Some of the best par-4 scorers in this field are Kevin Chappell, Jon Rahm, Tony Finau, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, Chez Reavie, and Jordan Spieth.
Dustin Johnson - World Ranking: #1
Jon Rahm - World Ranking: #11
Justin Thomas - World Ranking: #12
Tommy Fleetwood - World Ranking: #21
Jordan Spieth - World Ranking: #6
Alex Noren - World Ranking: #8
Phil Mickelson - World Ranking: #24
Justin Rose - World Ranking: #13
Rickie Fowler - World Ranking: #9
Paul Casey - World Ranking: #16
Sergio Garcia - World Ranking: #5
Patrick Cantlay - World Ranking: #119
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