In its two-year history, the PGA Tour’s sole trip to Mexico has seemed like a distinctly second division affair, with all the top Americans away at the World Matchplay. However, a glance through this line-up reveals a worrying trend for American golf, showing that even some of their biggest names are no longer ranked in the world’s top-64.
In particular, I’m thinking of Ryder Cup stars such as DAVID TOMS, Chad Campbell, Scott Verplank and Chris Dimarco. In Dimarco and Toms’ cases, the slide can easily be explained by a very poor couple of seasons, but Campbell and Verplank have had their share of success in the meantime. Or then there’s defending champion Brian Gay, who has enjoyed by far the best year of his golfing career and still couldn’t qualify for the WGC event. No doubt they’ll all be hungry to make amends and improve their ranking with victory here.
Previous results at El Camaleon show one very strong trend; driving accuracy is vastly more important than distance off the tee. How else could one explain the victories for Fred Funk and Brian Gay, two of the shortest, and straightest drivers around? It’s easy to see why with this par-70 course measuring less than 7,000 yards.
Both of those previous winners could also boast a wealth of experience, which bodes well for the favourite Toms. It’s three years since the 42 year-old from Louisiana won the last of his twelve PGA Tour titles, but after a poor spell when he’d looked in decline, recent results suggest he’s found a second lease of life. Three of his four starts in 2009 have been excellent efforts, including 2nd place at Waialae and 4th at Scottsdale. The missed cut on his latest start at Pebble Beach can easily be overlooked, as DT has never been effective in bad weather.