This week the PGA Tour is traveling to Mexico City to play at Club de Golf Chapultepec. The WGC has previously been hosted at Trump’s course at Dural, but because golf and politics do not get along they have made the move to Mexico City.
Club de Golf Chapultepec is a Par 71 and 7,382 yards that is played at almost 8,000 feet elevation. The elevation will have an impact on the players. Earlier this week Rory was noting he could hit his 8 iron 210 yards, and DJ joked about leaving the driver out of his bag. This course will not play at 7,382 yards but closer to 6,600 which puts alot of Par 4’s in play off the tee. Trees line almost every hole on both sides of the fairway so keeping the ball on the fairway will be vital this week.
The greens are Poa Anna and fairways are Kikuyu. This is a mix of grass that resembles the Poa Anna greens from the courses just played in California while the Kikuyu is often found in South African courses. Since there is a mixture there isn’t a strong enough correlation to favor Poa Anna putters.
Tour Junkies interviewed a player on the Latin America tour that played here in 2015 and mentioned the elevation is noticeable (adding almost 15% length to irons and woods) and the greens have incredible slope to them. As we noted earlier the trees lining the fairway will put driving accuracy as one of statistics we will be weighting more heavily. Now with driving accuracy, this only includes drivers and woods off the tee. Irons are not measured in this statistic, so if players are going to club down to irons they will be more accurate off tee.
Strokes gained approach is another key statistic we are targeting. Since many of the approach shots will be under 125 yards. Jordan Spieth ranks #1 in SGA and will be a staple in our lineups this week since distance off the tee doesn’t carry as much weight in elevation. Some other notable players that rank in the top 25 in SGA are Steele, Rahm, Molinari, Oosthuizen, Holmes and Woodland.
Our third and final key statistic is LT birdie average. This is important with a no cut event and DraftKings rewarding birdies and eagles. You will want to take guys that take some risk and have chances at birdies rather than a guy like Matt Kuchar who is great cut maker but doesn’t light up the scoreboard. Last week we saw Brendon Steele go +7 through two holes and storm back with making the cut and ending with a T14 finish. This is the type of guy you want this week who will not hurt you getting a few bogeys or even worse since he can make it up with his birdies. Some other guys that rank well in LT birdie average per round are Rahm (18), Stenson (17), Spieth (17), Sergio (16) and Rose (15).
Our Core of Players
Jon Rahm ($9,000) – This young phenom is on a tear. He checks the boxes in strokes gained approach and long term birdie average. He has the distance to take advantage of the elevation and reach the par 4’s. For his price he has great odds to win this tournament, and oh yea he is also a Spaniard.
Jordan Spieth ($11,500) – This course has similarities to Augusta with the tight fairways and sloping greens. We all know Jordan’s record at Augusta the past 3 years, he is a magician on the course. With limited time to play the course for all these players, I am taking my chances with him to create an effective plan of attack.
Justin Rose ($9,600) – Justin Rose won the Olympics in Rio on a course he had never played before. I think he has a chance to do the same in Mexico City this week. Rose checks in 4th overall for birdie scoring which is essential this week. He also checks the box in driving accuracy and scrambling.
Brendon Steele ($7,900) – Is there anything else we have to say about Steele after his comeback last week. The guy is a birdie machine and exactly who I want in a no cut event. Yes he may have his share of bogeys but I will take my chances with his ability to birdie.
Bill Haas ($7,000) – Haas has been on fire lately. He has exceeded his salary expectation in 9 of the last 10 tournaments. His scrambling to avoid bogey is best on tour, I expect him to have a great tournament and you will be able to get him at low ownership.
Jhonny Vegas ($6,600) – I might have a slight personal bias after assisting as standard bearer for Jhonny last week in the the Honda Classic. He is clearly mispriced this week and now is the time to take advantage with his strong recent form. His putting is coming around and his strokes gained approach is up there with the best of them.
Bernd Weisberger ($7,100) – This guy has been ripping it up on the Euro Tour. A few weeks ago he made 8 birdies in a row. He has 6 top ten finishes in last 9 events. He is from Austria so he can play in elevation.
Chalk to Fade?
Henrik Stenson ($10,300) – To start off I think Henrik is a great play this week and will be very popular (for good reason). His accuracy off the tee with his 3 wood is just flat out deadly and he should have no problems with the tight fairways. The two reasons I suggest fading Henrik in LARGE field GPP is first he will be very highly owned, and second his putting can be brutal at times. Now I do not think you should avoid him in cash or small field GPPs. This is just purely a game theory play to pivot from the high ownership and his lackluster putting skills.
Dustin Johnson ($12,500) – This is another pick that is tough to stomach but you cannot roster all the studs this week. DJ was playing Seminole golf course Monday in Florida. He only has 2 days to fine tune his game at this unknown course in elevation. Because he hits the ball so far I think distance control could be tough for him and if you roster him at this price, you essentially need him to win if you plan on taking down a GPP. DJ ranks #152 in putting within 10 feet, with sloping and unfamiliar greens this is another reason to fade DJ. I will take my chances but only in large field GPPs like Stenson.