Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Worldwide Technology Mayakoba Golf Championship – Event Overview


The players make the short journey over to Mexico this week, to play on a wonderful course in serene conditions and golf fans could be in for a treat. Low scoring is to be expected, which is nearly always the casein the fall season.

El Camaleón Golf Course, designed by famed Australian golfer Greg Norman and opened in 2006, created golf history in 2007 when it hosted the Mayakoba Golf Classic and became the first PGA TOUR event held outside of the United States and Canada. Th ecourse offers continually changing views as it winds through three varied ecosystems; the tropical Mayan jungle; mangrove wetlands and the Mexican Caribbean Sea coastline. El Camaleón, which Audubon International has accredited for its environmental dedication, has unique risks such as huge bunkers and crystal-clear fresh water canals. It is a superb course that many players will enjoy. The field isn’t as strong as last year but Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland headline the field.

El Camaleon is a simple setup where ball-striking has been an essential skill set in prior tournament renewals, whilst it never appears on the longest driving distance charts. Excellent accurate driving and approach play, on the other hand, is rewarded with scoring opportunities on greens that are soft, slow, and among the easiest on the Tour in terms of putting average.

You can perhaps expect to see super-low scores this week if the winds stay calm throughout the duration of the tournament. The game’s biggest names are featured in the 2022 Mayakoba field, ledby Scheffler, Morikawa, and Hovland plus last week’s winner Seamus Power also in attendance. And so, who will lift that trophy come Sunday evening?

Event & Course Details

  • Course: El Camaleón Mayakoba Golf Course
  • Location: El Camaleon, Rivera Maya
  • Date: Nov 3-7, 2022
  • Par: 71/ Yardage 7,071
  • Purse: $8.2 Million / Winner $1.5 million
  • Fairways/Rough: Paspalum turf
  • Greens: Paspalum Grass
  • Past Winner: Viktor Hovland

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Key Skill Sets Required

Driving Accuracy – Looking at the course details, Driving Accurately is of huge importance. This week’s track is short by PGA Tour standards and the defence of the course comes in from gradually increasing rough lengths as players miss the fairways. The wind will also play a huge part this week. Precision off the tee looks like it will be advantageous according to all the data available and players who excel on sub-7,200-yard tracks are worth considering.

SGT2G – On this short and tactical layout you may be looking for a player who has previously excelled on sub-7,200-yard tracks in T2G performance. Expect the player who is lifting the trophy Sunday evening to have solid T2G stats most recently.

GIR gained – This is a critical stat this week, if not the single most critical stat. When looking at the previous renewals of this event each of the last three winners have ranked inside the top 5 for GIR that given week. You can likely expect the winner this week to also excel in this area.

SG Scrambling – Getting up and down will be imperative this week. When looking at the past 10 renewals of this event, scrambling has been a key factor in determining success. 5 of the last 10 winners ranked in the top 10, getting up and down over 70% of the time during that particular week. You should be looking for a player with long term scrambling ability to complement ball striking this week.

Par 4 Scoring efficiency – Every winner over the past five years has ranked in the top 10 in Par 4 Scoring. The distance of 450- 500 yards proving key and four holes fall within this key distance range this week.

Putting – Putting will always be a critical factor in low scoring tests like you can expect to see this week. You may wish to consider players who have putted well on soft putting surfaces as they are considered soft here at Mayakoba compared to other PGA Tour events.

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Best Outsiders

1. Brendon Todd 45/1

  • A player that may be suited for the RSM Classic, however, he sets up nicely for the test ahead this week.
  • A previous winner of this event in 2019.
  • Ranked in the top 10 for SG Off The Tee over the past 24 rounds on tour from this field.
  • Ranked in the top 10 SG Scrambling over the past 24 rounds on tour from this field.
  • Ranked in the top 10 Proximity to the hole from 75-125 yards, wedge play will be crucial this week.
  • An effective wind player so if it does blow that will only enhance his chances here.

2. Aaron Rai 70/1

  • A poor showing last week but with another week under his belt and on a course that he finished 15th at on debut, he is a much better golfer now.
  • A previous top 20 finish at this event shows his liking for the course.
  • Ranked in the top 20 for Fairways Gained over the past 36 rounds, playing from the short stuff is crucial here at El Cameleon.
  • Ranked in the top 5 for Par 4 scoring on holes of 400-450 yards in length.
  • If the flat stick can work, he can outrun his odds and give a very good of himself.

3. Andrew Putnam 45/1

  • Ranked in the Top 20 for Fairways Gained over the past 36 rounds on course.
  • Gained strokes with his approach play over the field average in each of his last 5 events and this shows his iron game is sweet right now.
  • Ranked in the top 15 for SG Short Game and Around the Green over the past 36 rounds on tour.
  • Gained strokes Putting versus the field in each of his last 9 events, not many players on tour can boast putting stats like that.

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Best Outright Picks

1. Collin Morikawa 16/1

  • His price is too big to ignore. Only a few points shorter than Billy Ho & Tom Hoge. His game may only be approximately 80% right now but if it were close to 100%, he would be 8/1 joint favourite. A course that on paper suits his game perfectly, he is accurate off the tee and elite with iron in hand. He has won the WGC in Mexico thus showing his liking for altitude golf.
  • His iron play has remained solid despite his results being less than ideal.
  • Gained strokes with iron in hand, in each of the last 8 events.
  • Gained strokes Off The Tee in each of his last 5 events.
  • The major concern is his putting on any surfaces but it is hoped that a new grain can inspire a better week on the greens and if it does his price could look silly.

2. Maverick McNealy 22/1

  • His 4th visit to the track, with best placed finishes of 11th & 12th over the past few years and shows that he is coming to terms with the test ahead.
  • 3 top 20 finishes in a row on less than ideal courses show his game is picking up right now.
  • Ranks in the top 10 for SG Off The Tee over the past 24 rounds on courses of less than 7,200 yards.
  • Ranked in the top 20 for SG Short Game over the past 24 rounds on tour.
  • Average 1.65 strokes better per round at this course, than his medium across the PGA Tour.
  • A course that should bring out the strengths in his game at a price people will like, makes Maverick a man for consideration this week.

3. Aaron Wise 16/1

  • A player who hits it well with every club in the bag and can make a push this week for the title.
  • He is in the most consistent form of his career and his ball-striking stats stand out.
  • 2 top 10 finishes at this event in the past.
  • Ranked in the top 10 for SG Approach play over the past 50 rounds on tour.
  • Ranked in the top 20 for SG T2G Performance over the past 50 rounds on tour.
  • Ranked in the top 10 for SG PAR 4 Scoring over the past 50 rounds on tour.
  • Gains strokes on the Bermuda grain putting surfaces he encounters this week.

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4. Jason Day 40/1

  • A risky play and it always is when people put hard-earned cash on the fragile Australian.
  • There have been some solid signs recently with an 8th place at Shriners and 11th at the CJ Cup.
  • He still has one of the best short games around and he is ranked in the top 5 for both SG Around the Green and Short Game.
  • Gained Strokes with his approach play in each of his last 6 events, the last time he did that was in 2020.
  • Gained strokes T2G in each of his last 6 events.
  • A good week with the flat stick and who knows he may just return to form here.

Top 20 picks this week

Maverick McNealy 6/4

  • Strength as outlined earlier.

Jason Day 7/4

  • Strength as outlined earlier.

Prices subject to fluctuation.