With the top players competing in the Accenture Match Play Championship this week, the PGA Tour’s supporting cast has travelled to Mexico for the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Johnson Wagner is the defending champion.
Although this event doesn’t carry the prestige of some on the PGA Tour circuit, it does attract a strong field. Set amid the jungle and mangroves with views out to the beautiful Caribbean Sea, it’s not too hard to see why.
Designed by Greg Norman, the course at El Camaleon has played host to this event since it was first held in 2007. Norman will be among those teeing it up this week, a rare start for the Great White Shark. Other seniors playing include Tom Lehman, Fred Funk (winner in 2007,) John Cook and Nick Price.
Last year Johnson Wagner took the title after he came through against Spencer Levin in a playoff. Both men will be back to do battle at El Camaleon again this week.
Rain and thunderstorms are forecast over the weekend so weather delays could be a factor in the final outcome.
Venue: El Camaleon, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Date: Feb 23-26
Course stats: par 71, 6,987 yards
Purse: $3,700,000 Winner: $666,000
Defending Champion: Johnson Wagner (-17)
Johnson Wagner – The defending champion has already won on the 2012 PGA Tour and he has two further top-10 finishes to his name. He clearly enjoys this course and will surely feature again this time round.
Ben Curtis – The 2003 Open champion produced some solid performances in the Middle East, including 13th in Dubai. He could be a dark horse this week.
Jose Maria Olazabal – Another veteran making a start this week, Olazabal has shown glimmers of his best form in recent weeks on the European Tour. In a field where the top-64 in the world are absent, he could leave his mark.
Key hole: 12th. A long par-4 of 451 yards, this testing hole plays back into the prevailing wind. Approach shots must be accurate as the green is small, raised and sloping. Anything just off line will roll off the surface. Statistically, this was the toughest hole on the course in 2011.
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship – Preview