The first World Golf Championship event of 2017 takes place this week at Chapultepec CC near Mexico City. Adam Scott of Australia defends the WGC-Mexico Championship.
There’s a new venue, and a new country for the first WGC event of 2017. Previously known as the Cadillac Championship and held since 2007 at Doral, the tournament (now the WGC-Mexico Championship) has moved to Chapultepec GC in Mexico this season.
A supremely strong field has assembled for this event. Dustin Johnson makes his first start as World Number 1. Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson and last week’s winner Rickie Fowler will all play. In fact, as it stands, it looks like every player in the top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking will start.
Although the tournament spent 10 years in Florida, it began very much as an international event. The first instalment was hosted at Valderrama in 1999, when Tiger Woods was champion. The tournament also visited Mount Juliet in Ireland and The Grove in Hertfordshire in 2006.
Last season, Adam Scott won at Doral by a single shot from Bubba Watson. Rory McIlroy and Danny Willett were tied for third.
The Club de Golf Chapultepec is one of the most historic in Mexico. Willie Smith, 1899 U.S. Open champion was first tasked with laying out a course on land between Mexico City and Naucalpan but plans were hampered by the Mexican Revolution. Smith died in 1916 and his brother Alex too over the construction of the course. It was finished in 1928. The Mexican Open began at Chapultepec in 1944. In 1972 the course was redesigned by Percy Clifford.
At 7,500 feet above sea level, the altitude will be a factor this week – the ball will be flying some 10% further than normal. Look for those who have done well in the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in the past to cope well with the conditions.
The weather looks set to be reasonable with only a moderate threat of rain. Winds should be light and temperatures warm.
Venue: Chapultepec GC, Mexico City, Mexico
Date: Mar 2-5
Course stats: par 71, 7,330 yards
Defending Champion: Adam Scott (-12)
Thursday 2– Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Friday 3 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Saturday 4 – Sky Sports 4 from 5.10pm
Sunday 5 – Sky Sports 4 from 5pm
Dustin Johnson – It’s tough to look past the new World Number 1 right now. He’s driving the ball superbly well and his excellent wedge play is helping him pick up a huge number of birdies. He’s won four times since last June.
Sergio Garcia – On great form after his win in Dubai, he currently leads the overall driving stats on the PGA Tour. He has a good record in the European Masters where he’s a former champion.
Alex Noren – The Swede loves playing at altitude and has twice been a winner of the European Masters. He won four times in 2016.
Alex Noren fairway bunker tips:
Key hole: 16th. At just 403 yards, it looks pretty innocuous on the card. But it’s all uphill and it’s narrow with bunkers and trees guarding the flanks of the hole. The green is on two levels and missing the correct level will leave a testing two putt.