The defending champion always deserves respect in this grade, not least because his temperament in contention is rock solid. Wilson hasn’t really got his 2010 campaign going yet, but could easily return to form this week.
Another big name worth considering in this weaker company, but a short course that emphasises accuracy is hardly Howell’s ideal.
The former Open champion is guaranteed to be a popular pick after storming back to form with the runners-up spot on Sunday at Pebble Beach. As he also showed in last year’s US Open, Duval remains well capable even if those good days are few and far between.
Stadler has made the top 20 on two of his three previous visits to El Camaleon, and on two of his last three starts. That level of form warrants great respect in a field where no more than a dozen players can boast anything much of late.
Boo’s career has fallen away from its rapid upward trajectory, and he faces a massive fight to regain his Ryder Cup place. He did finish sixth on this course in 2007 though.
Baird is always pretty reliable in the long-game department, and that has enabled top-12 finishes in the last two renewals. He hasn’t won for a decade though, and is a man to oppose heavily if he ever looks like breaking his PGA Tour duck.
BRENDON DE JONGE
De Jonge hasn’t yet fulfilled the promise previously shown on the Nationwide Tour, but can’t be written off this week on a course where he’s twice made the top 15.
It’s strange to see Dougherty in an event like this, and he would have a decent chance if repeating a recent top 15 in the Qatar Masters. I can’t imagine a putting contest on a short course is ideal, though.
Veterans often go well here, as 2007 champ Fred Funk illustrates. Elkington fits the bill in many respects, not least the fact he’s made the top 20 on his last two starts, as well as on this course last year. At a bigger price than the 40/1 on offer, the former PGA champion could well have made the staking plan.
On his best form, this test would be absolutely ideal for short and straight hitting Kelly, and it’s no surprise to see that he finished sixth last year. He can’t be supported with any confidence though, having withdrawn with back problems on his penultimate start.
Andrew Dodt’s victory in India last weekend was a big form boost for the Australasian Tour, where Lyle has been pretty consistent of late. It also bodes well that he finished sixth here last year and had previously won the Mexico Open. The only downside is relatively skinny odds of 50/1, compared to say double that price about Nitties, whom I rate the better player.