After a pretty tame week in the golf, the big names, sans Jason Day - citing ill health - are all rested and ready for the first WGC event of the year. 2017, unfortunately for seasoned bettors, sees a change of venue: The Cadillac Championship from the Blue Monster at Doral was one of the easiest events on the PGA Tour for profiling winners at but instead, we move on to Club De Golf Chapultepec near Mexico City. First impressions of the new venue are very positive. With tall trees framing pretty generous fairways and white sandy bunkers guarding undulating greens, aesthetically, it has an Augusta look about it. 550 Fedex Cup points are on offer for the winner.
Jordan Spieth is second in the betting at 9.50, while Rory McIlroy - 13.00 - makes his return from injury. This course though looks tailor made for new world number one and event favourite Dustin Johnson - 7.50 - after his win at Riviera: From research on the new track, Total Driving looks a potential key metric this week and DJ is 1st in strokes gained off the tee. This also makes Hideki Matsuyama - 13.00 (19th in TD) prominent towards the head of the market. Swede Henrik Stenson - 17.00 - makes his first appearance of the year Stateside, and his tee to green ability should stand him in good stead at Chapultepec.
Rickie Fowler - 15.00 - had a new shortened driver in the bag for his impressive win at Honda at the weekend, which saw him hit more fairways (38/56 for T17 in driving accuracy) and when you couple that with a 57/57 putt conversion rate from 7' feet and in, this is a concoction that could potentially see him go back-to-back, just as defending champion Adam Scott did in 2016 on the former Florida swing.
The course - Club De Golf Chapultepec, par 71, 7,330 yards
As mentioned, it looks like long and straight will be a key advantage, but like Augusta, there looks to be some room for errant shots in places despite a deep tree-line. Unlike Augusta, the shot shape here seems to suit the left to right fade, gauged from going through the holes on the tournament site. Premium will be on distance control from approaches with most of the "wavy" greens incorporating tiers and sloping from back to front. It will be imperative to keep the ball underneath the hole to avoid super-fast putts down the slopes. The course should set up a lot tougher than it was when playing to a par 72 for the Mexico Open on the Latino Tour in 2014. -17 was the winning total for that event won by Oscar Alvarez.
WGC Mexico Championship Best Bets
Justin Rose - 21.00 or 5.00 - is a player I quite fancy for this course - he's 17th in driving distance and 5th in strokes gained tee to green in 2017. Rose has a runner up and two 4th place finishes already this year, including the other week at Riviera. I remember the Englishman at an extra fiery Firestone last year talking about allowing for an extra five yard bounce on approaches, so he'll have the wherewithal and smarts to keep his approaches underneath the holes at Chapultepec. If we want to think outside the box, Justin also thrives at Muirfield Village where this smart game plan is a prerequisite. He has the perfect high ball flight for a set up like this and is just hitting top form. The Englishman is a previous WGC winner.
Adam Scott's - 23.00 or 5.50 - Total Driving ability and precision iron play should be an ideal fit for this course also. As alluded to, Scott comes here as defending champ having gone back to back at Honda and Doral last year in the Florida Swing. Scott was ranked #1 in both strokes gained tee to green and approach to green last year. He was also the number one ranked player in proximity to the hole in '16. His putter is his weakness but in 2017 Scott ranks a surprising 2nd in total putting so far and he's warmed up with decent T11 - T14 finishes en route to the new Mexican venue
I'm sticking rigidly to a certain profile for the WGC Mexico Championship and Martin Kaymer - 51.00 or 11.00 - is a player who falls into the categories of expert stock fader from the tee, and master of distance control with the irons. Martin was 14th in strokes gained tee to green and 18th in Greens In Regulation at Honda which would have been significantly higher if not for a 44% clip on day 2. The German was par or better in all four rounds, eventually recording a T4 finish. Kaymer has hit 76% GIR in Europe this season and looks overpriced in this market on the back of his performance at PGA National, and course profiling.