The WGC-Mexico Championship was without doubt the best tournament of the year so far. Elliott Heath looks at six things we learnt from the action at Chapultepec...
6 Things We Learnt From The WGC-Mexico Championship
The WGC-Mexico Championship was without doubt the best tournament of the year so far. Elliott Heath looks at five things we learnt from the action at Chapultepec…
1) Phil Mickelson is back
Lefty had been saying for a long time that his game is simply too good at the moment not to win and he showed us that as he rolled back the years to defeat Justin Thomas in a playoff. At 47 years of age it’s hard to image he’ll be at this level for a great deal longer but he has tossed his name in the hat for the Masters and has put himself in a great position to complete the Career Grand Slam at this year’s US Open at Shinnecock Hills. It was fantastic to see him win again, let’s hope he can stay consistent in 2018.
Related: Phil Mickelson What’s in the bag?
2) You don’t need 7,000 + yard courses for entertainment
Ok, yes the course at Chapultepec CC measured 7,330 yards officially, but that is right off the back tees and the tournament officials were pushing them forward throughout the week. With the elevation in Mexico City, the course was playing more like 6,500-6,800 yards, much more like the courses you and I play week in week out. Mickelson’s winning score of -16 matches Brooks Koepka’s US Open winning score at Erin Hills last year. The yardage there? 7,800 yards +. The course at Chapultepec, with its driveable par-4s, tight, treelined holes and small, hard and fast greens made the WGC-Mexico Championship a compelling watch.
3) Tyrrell Hatton is big time
The Englishman is known for his temper and that came out on the front nine but he should be known for being a big game player now. Hatton was three-under after four holes before a bogey 6 at the par-5 6th hole and then another bogey 6 at the 11th to nearly end his hopes. He followed that up with a birdie-par-birdie-eagle stretch to match Justin Thomas and Phil Mickelson at -16 before a bad bogey at the last. Not to worry though, Hatton will come again and he’s currently 2nd in the Ryder Cup World Points list – he’s going to be great for Thomas Bjorn’s side in Paris.
4) Tiger Woods can win again
What a 47-year-old Mickelson showed us is that a 42-year-old Tiger Woods can compete on the biggest stages again, if his body holds up. Tiger would surely have been watching the action from Mexico and will have a fire in his belly to go and get himself in contention after seeing Mickelson take it to the youngsters. Five years younger than Mickelson, you can’t help but feel that Woods still has some wins in him.
Related: Can Tiger Woods dominate golf again?
5) Golf needs more big events outside of the USA
The fans and the course at the WGC-Mexico Championship made for great drama and entertainment for TV viewers across the globe. It was a superb decision to take the year’s first WGC to Mexico and I can only hope that more big events go abroad. How good would the WGC-Match Play be at Le Golf National, or Wentworth, or another great course we haven’t seen before? There has been talk of the USPGA Championship going abroad for some time now and the Mexico Championship is surely evidence that if you find a great course with a great fans you’ll have a successful tournament.
6) Europe are looking good for the Ryder Cup
Tyrrell Hatton was superb and showed us just how good he’ll be on the biggest stage at Le Golf National. Tommy Fleetwood has now risen to 10th in the world and if you look at the Official World Golf Ranking, Europe has eight players inside the top 15, as opposed to just five Americans. The top eight Europeans currently are: Rahm, Rose, Fleetwood, Garcia, McIlroy, Hatton, Stenson, Noren and Casey – some team eh?
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