WGC Mexico Championship Tournament Preview

WGC-Mexico ChampionshipWGC Mexico Championship Tournament Preview

Dates: February 26 – March 4, 2018
Where: Mexico City, Mexico
Course: Club de Golf Chapultepec
Par/Yards: 71/7,345
Field: 65 professionals
2016 champion: Dustin Johnson
Purse: $10,000,000 ($1,700,000/winner)
FedExCup: 550 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play competition with no cut.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/wgcmexicochampionship
Twitter: @WGCMexico
Instagram: @WGCMexico

History of World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship

  • The former Cadillac Championship had been held at Trump National Doral since 2007, with Cadillac serving as the title sponsor since 2011. From 1999 through 2006, the tournament was held in Spain, Ireland, England and the United States
  • The PGA TOUR, on behalf of the International Federation of PGA Tours, announced on June 1, 2016 that the World Golf Championships tournament held in Miami since 2007 would relocate to Mexico City and be renamed the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, beginning in 2017.
  • The move is the result of a seven-year agreement through 2023 with Grupo Salinas, a collection of companies based in Mexico City primarily involved in retail, television, telecommunications and other businesses. Grupo Salinas is overseen by founder and chairman Ricardo Salinas and his son, Benjamin.
  • The largest field size for the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship was 80 players in 2009.
  • This year the field size is 65 players.

Club de Golf Chapultepec

  • Located less than 10 miles from downtown Mexico City, Club de Golf Chapultepec is one of the country’s most popular courses.
  • U.S. Open winner Willie Smith started work on the design during the Mexican Revolution and the course was completed in 1921.
  • Since the inception of the Mexican Open in 1944, the golf course was the host venue 14 times prior to 1972 when Percy Clifford, the designer of dozens of Mexican golf courses,
    completely renovated the course.
  • The course today bears little resemblance to the original layout, and instead provides a more challenging, playable, and modern design.
  • After the renovation, the course hosted the Mexican Open an additional four times. Featuring a 7,330-yard, par-71 course, Club de Golf Chapultepec last held the Mexican Open in 2014, which is now part of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
  • Over the course of 18 past editions played there, the club members witnessed Mexican Open wins by stars such as Al Espinoza (1944, 1945, 1946 and 1947), Roberto De Vicenzo (1951, 1953 and 1955), Ben Crenshaw (1981) and Jay Haas (1991).
  • Elevation will be a factor at Club de Golf Chapultepec. According to Shotlink mapping data, the lowest part of the course is 7,603 feet above sea level and the highest part of the course is 7,835 feet above sea level. As comparison, Montreux G&CC, venue for the PGA TOUR’s Barracuda Championship in Reno-Tahoe, Nevada, is in the range of 5,476 – 5,952 above sea level.
  • The 2017 event at Chapultepec yielded 77 hole-outs, surpassing the 2009 World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship for most in a World Golf Championships event (63).

Golf in Mexico

  • Mexico has a strong history with professional golf that includes the PGA TOUR’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba, which celebrated its 11th anniversary last November.
  • Since 1994, the country has hosted more than 70 tournaments on professional golf tours, including the 2002 World Cup of Golf in Puerto Vallarta after it became a World Golf Championships event.
  • Japan’s team of Toshi Izawa and Shigeki Maruyama claimed that title by two strokes over Phil Mickelson and David Toms of the U.S. It was the fourth World Cup held in Mexico (1958 and 1967 in Mexico City and 1982 in Acapulco). Mexico is represented by two fully exempt PGA TOUR professionals – Abraham Ancer and Roberto Diaz.

How Dustin Johnson won the Mexico Championship in 2017

  • Making his first start since taking over the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking following his win at the 2017 Genesis Open, Dustin Johnson earned his 14th career PGA TOUR win at the World Golf Championships Mexico Championship in his 207th TOUR start at the age of 32 years, 8 months, 11 days.
  • Johnson shot 14-under 270 to beat England’s Tommy Fleetwood by one stroke.
  • After beginning the back nine of his final round pareagle-par-par-birdie-birdie, Jon Rahm briefly held the solo-lead before bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17 resulted in a T3 in his World Golf Championships debut.
  • With the win at Chapultepec, Johnson became the fifth player, and first since Adam Scott in 2014, to win his first PGA TOUR start as the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking.

More on Dustin Johnson

  • Dustin Johnson became the fifth player to hold the No.1 position in the Official World Golf Ranking for 52 consecutive weeks, joining Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Rory McIlroy in achieving this feat.
  • Johnson, who won the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions for his 17th PGA TOUR title, has now claimed at least one win in each of his first 11 seasons (2008-present) on the PGA TOUR (the best current streak) and joins Arnold Palmer (17/1955-1971), Jack Nicklaus (17/1962-1978) and Tiger Woods (14/1996-2009) as the only players since 1960 to achieve this feat.
  • Johnson is a five-time World Golf Championships winner with victories at the HSBC Champions (2013), the Mexico Championship (2015, 2017), the Dell Technologies Match Play (2017) and the Bridgestone Invitational (2016). When he defeated Jon Rahm in the Match Play final at Austin CC, Johnson became the first player to win all four different WGC events.
  • Johnson joins Tiger Woods (18) as the only two players with five or more World Golf Championships victories.
  • Johnson has four top-10 finishes in WGC-Mexico Championship tournament history – 2nd/2011, T4/2014, 1st/2015, 1st/2017

The WGC-Mexico Championship and the FedExCup

  • The WGC-Mexico Championship enters the fifth season featuring a wraparound schedule that bridges two years with 48 events. The 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season began with eight events during the fall of 2017, each of which awarded FedExCup points.
  • After a six-week break, the season resumed with the Sentry Tournament of Champions, won by Dustin Johnson. The FedExCup Playoffs once again features four events and concludes in September with the TOUR Championship and the crowning of the FedExCup champion.
  • Since the FedExCup’s 2007 inception, the winner of the WGC-Mexico Championship has made it all the way to the TOUR Championship all but once, with Geoff Ogilvy missing the 30-player event in 2008 after victory at Doral: Dustin Johnson (2017), Adam Scott (2016), Dustin Johnson (2015), Patrick Reed (2014), Tiger Woods (2013, 2007), Justin Rose (2012), Nick Watney (2011), Ernie Els (2010) and Phil Mickelson (2009).
  • Woods, in 2007, captured both the WGC-Mexico Championship and the inaugural FedExCup, while Mickelson, in 2009, won at Doral and also claimed the TOUR Championship.
  • The WGC-Mexico Championship also has the longest current streak of past champions advancing to the TOUR Championship with nine, tied with the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Valspar Championship.
  • Justin Thomas, the reigning FedExCup champion, and Jordan Spieth (2015) are the only past FedExCup winners in the field at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
  • Eight of the top 10 players in the current FedExCup standings are scheduled to compete, including three of the top five (Dustin Johnson/2, Jon Rahm/3, Brendan Steele/4).

Eligibility for the WGC-Mexico Championship

  • The top 50 players, including any players tied for 50th place, from the Official World Golf Ranking as of February 19, 2018.
  • The top 50 players, including any players tied for 50th place, from the Official World Golf Ranking as of February 26, 2018.
  • The top 30 players from the final 2016-2017 FedExCup Points List.
  • The top 10 players from the FedExCup Points List as of February 26, 2018.
  • The top 20 players from the final 2017 European Tour Order of Merit.
  • The top 10 players from the European Tour Order of Merit as of February 19, 2018.
  • The top 2 players from the final 2017 Japan Golf Tour Order of Merit, not otherwise exempt.
  • The top 2 players from the final 2017 Australasian Tour Order of Merit, not otherwise exempt
  • The top 2 players from the 2016/2017 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, not otherwise exempt.
  • The top 2 players from the final 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit, not otherwise exempt.
  • The highest ranked available player from Mexico from the Official World Golf Ranking as of February 19, 2018, if not otherwise eligible.
    • Note: The week of The Honda Classic is the final opportunity to qualify for the WGC-Mexico Championship Players not previously eligible could qualify by being inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking or the top 10 of the FedExCup standings following The Honda Classic.

Select Player Notes

Jordan Spieth

  • Eleven-time PGA TOUR winner Jordan Spieth is seeking his first victory of the season. He’s posted two top-10s in five starts (9th/Sentry Tournament of Champions, T9/Genesis Open).
  • In four appearances at the WGC-Mexico Championship, Spieth’s highest finish is T12.
  • Last year at Chapultepec, Spieth’s only round in the 60s was a third-round 63, the low round of the tournament last year.

Sergio Garcia

  • Current Masters champion Sergio Garcia, with 10 PGA TOUR wins and 14 European Tour victories, will make his 54th official start in a World Golf Championships event at the Mexico Championship
  • Garcia remains in search of his first title at any of the four World Golf Championships events.
  • With seven, Garcia has the second-most top-10 finishes in the WGC-Mexico Championship, trailing only Tiger Woods (12).

Jon Rahm

  • At this event last year, Jon Rahm reached 14-under and owned the solo lead for a short time after beginning the back nine par-eagle-par-par-birdie-birdie. Rahm eventually finished T3 in his first WorldGolf Championships event and went one better in his next WGC start, losing the final of the Dell Technologies Match Play to Dustin Johnson. Rahm makes his fifth WGC start this week.
  • In his 12th start as a professional on the PGA TOUR, Rahm carded a 65 in the final round of the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open to win his first career PGA TOUR title by three shots. The win was capped by a lengthy eagle putt from the back fringe on the par-5 18th hole.
  • Rahm is making his 42nd PGA TOUR start and owns 17 top-10 finishes, including two wins (2018 CareerBuilder Challenge, 2017 Farmers Insurance Open) and four runner-up results. Rahm has also claimed two titles on the European Tour (2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, 2017 DP World Tour Championship).
  • Rahm is one of nine players to make their way to the PGA TOUR directly out of college. Other notables included Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth.

Rickie Fowler

  • Rickie Fowler will make his 202nd career PGA TOUR start at the Mexico Championship and his sixth this season. Earlier this season, Fowler finished runner-up to Patton Kizzire at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
  • This marks Fowler’s 26th official start in a World Golf Championships event.
  • Of 12 top-10 finishes, his best result is T2 behind Adam Scott at the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational.
  • Fowler has two top-10 showings in seven appearances at the Mexico Championship (T8/2016, 8th/2011).

Justin Thomas

  • Reigning FedExCup champion Justin Thomas enters the WGC-Mexico Championship at No. 1 in the FedExCup standings after winning The Honda Classic in a playoff over Luke List for his eighth career PGA TOUR victory.
  • He joins Patton Kizzire as the second multiple winner of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season, having already captured the inaugural CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in October.
  • Thomas finished T5 at last year’s Mexico Championship, shooting a final-round 1-over 72 after beginning Sunday with a one-stroke lead over Dustin Johnson. His week was highlighted by a hole-in-one with a 6-iron at the 232-yard, par-3 13th hole in the third round.
  • Thomas was T35 at the 2016 Mexico Championship, his first appearance in this event.

Bubba Watson

  • Coming off a win at the 2018 Genesis Open to move from No. 117 to No. 40 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Bubba Watson earned a spot in the field at Chapultepec.
  • Watson, runner-up at this event in 2016, owns three second-place finishes in the last six years at the Mexico Championship (2/2016, T2/2014, 2/2012).
  • Watson has 10 PGA TOUR victories, including two Masters Tournament wins (2012, 2014) and the 2014 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
  • Watson shares the tournament record 18-hole score of 62 with Retief Goosen (2002), Sergio Garcia (2002) and J.B. Holmes (2015). Watson recorded a 62 in the 2012 tournament.

Tommy Fleetwood

  • The European Tour’s 2017 Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood makes his third appearance in this event. The Englishman posted a runner-up result at the 2017 World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship for his best finish in 26 career starts on the PGA TOUR. He was T71 in this event in 2015.
  • The back nine at Club de Golf Chapultepec suited Fleetwood last year. His 9-under total over that stretch of holes for the week included just one bogey, coming at the par-3 13th hole in the opening round.
  • Fleetwood claimed his fourth career European Tour victory with a two-stroke win over Ross Fisher at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.

Phil Mickelson

  • In 15 prior starts at the Mexico Championship, Phil Mickelson has one victory (2009) and two top-five finishes (5th/2016, T3/2013).
  • Mickelson owns four top-5 finishes in seven starts this season, including three consecutive in his last three starts (T3/Safeway Open, T5/Waste Management Phoenix Open, T2/AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, T6/Genesis Open).
  • At the 2018 Genesis Open, Mickelson recorded his 191st top-10 finish in 577 career starts on the PGA TOUR.
  • At 47, Mickelson is the oldest player in the field this week. Ernie Els, aged 40 years, 4 months, 25 days in 2010, is the oldest winner of the Mexico Championship.

Ross Fisher

  • England’s Ross Fisher was one of six first-round leaders at this event last year and went on to finish T3, one of seven top-10s in 72 career starts on the PGA TOUR. It also matches his best finish on the PGA TOUR (T3/2015 WGC-HSBC Champions).
  • Fisher is making his 21st start in a World Golf Championships event. In the 2009 Dell Technologies Match Play, Fisher advanced to the semifinals where he was beaten by fellow countryman Paul Casey 2 and 1 before falling in the consolation match to Stewart Cink 1-up. In stroke play, his best finish is the T3 at Chapultepec last year, matching a T3 at the 2015 HSBC Champions.
  • Fisher, No. 27 in the OWGR, owns five wins on the European Tour (2007 KLM Open, 2008 European Open, 2009 Volvo World Match Play Championship, 2010 3 Irish Open, 2014 Tshwane Open).

Abraham Ancer

  • Abraham Ancer, 27 on Tuesday, February 27, earned a spot in the 2018 Mexico Championship via the Official World Golf Ranking as the highest-ranked player from Mexico (No. 255) as of Monday, February 19.
  • Ancer was born in McAllen, Texas, raised in Reynosa, Mexico and has dual American and Mexican citizenship. He played college golf at Odessa College and the University of Oklahoma before turning professional in 2013. He won on the Web.com Tour in 2015 at the Nova Scotia Open. Last season, he finished third on the regular season Web.com Tour money list to secure a PGA TOUR card.
  • Despite a bogey at the 72nd hole of the 2017 OHL Classic at Mayakoba, Ancer posted 3-under 68 to finish T9 at 11-under 273. In doing so, he finished highest among five Mexican players in the field. It also marked his lone top-10 result in 31 career starts on the PGA TOUR
  • The Mexico Championship will be his first World Golf Championships start.

Dylan Frittelli

  • The 27-year-old South African golfer, turned professional after the 2012 NCAA Championship and played on the European Tour via sponsor’s exemptions for the rest of that year.
  • In 2015, he lost a playoff at the Australian PGA Championship.
  • In 2017, a tie for second place in the Eye of Africa PGA Championship and a playoff defeat in the Volvo China Open lifted Frittelli into the world top-100 for the first time. He’s currently No. 47.
  • He won his first European Tour event in 2017 at the Lyoness Open. At the end of that season he was runner-up in the Turkish Airlines Open and tied for 4th in the end-of-season DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, both Rolex Series events. He finished 19th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
  • Late last year, Frittelli won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open beating Arjun Atwal at the first hole of a playoff. Frittelli’s only PGA TOUR starts are The Open in 2017 (MC) and the PGA Championship (T63), also in 2017. He also played The Honda Classic last week, where he finished solo 11th.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

  • Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat owns four wins on the European Tour, his most recent at the 2018 ISPS HANDA Super 6 in Perth, Australia. With that win, Aphibarnrat, 28, became only the second player from Thailand, after Thongchai Jaidee, to record multiple European Tour wins.
  • He’s sometimes referred to as “Asia’s John Daly”, a comparison to two-time major champion John Daly.
  • The Mexico Championship will be his 30th TOUR start where his best showing is T3 at the 2013 CIMB Classic.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • All but two past champions of the WGC-Mexico Championship – Nick Watney in 2011 and Patrick Reed in 2014 – have won at least one major championship to go with their Mexico Championship victory.
  • Nineteen countries will be represented at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship this week with the United States leading the way with 25 players in the field.
  • Thirty-four in the field have PGA TOUR victories, accounting for 169 total wins on TOUR.
  • Six of the top 10, and 45 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking are scheduled to compete.
  • Past winners of the Mexico Championship in the field this week include Dustin Johnson (2017, 2015), Adam Scott (2016), Patrick Reed (2014), Justin Rose (2012) and Phil Mickelson (2009).
  • Sixteen of 18 Mexico Championships have been decided by two strokes or less, including the last seven.
  • Only two playoffs have been required to decide the Mexico Championship winner and Tiger Woods claimed the title in both, defeating Miguel Angel Jimenez in 1999 and John Daly in 2005.
  • Tiger Woods went wire-to-wire for victory in 2006 at The Grove and 2002 at Mount Juliet Conrad. Non player went wire-to-wire to win during the 10 years at Trump National Doral. Last year, six players shared the first-round lead before Rory McIlroy held the solo lead after 36 holes. Justin Thomas was alone at the top heading into the final round at Chapultepec.
  • Thomas Pieters was the only player in the field with four sub-70 rounds at Club de Golf Chapultepec last year while earning his first top-five finish in his fourth World Golf Championships start. During the 10 years that Doral hosted the Mexico Championship (2007-2016), only three players completed the tournament with all four rounds below 70 – Phil Mickelson (65-66-69-69/1st) and Jim Furyk (68-68-69-67/3rd) in 2009, and Steve Stricker (67-67-69-68/2nd) in 2013.

First-timer information

  • Nineteen players will make their WGC-Mexico Championship debut this week, with six making their first start in a World Golf Championships event
  • Seven players have made a World Golf Championships event their first PGA TOUR win:
    • Darren Clarke – 2000 Dell Match Play
    • Craig Parry – 2002 Bridgestone Invitational
    • Kevin Sutherland – 2002 Dell Match Play
    • Henrik Stenson – 2007 Dell Match Play
    • Ian Poulter – 2010 Dell Match Play
    • Shane Lowry – 2015 Bridgestone Invitational
    • Russell Knox – 2015 HSBC Champions

World Golf Championships

  • The World Golf Championships are sanctioned and organized by the operational committee of the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour. Events in the World Golf Championships series include the Mexico Championship (Mexico City, Mexico), the Dell Technologies Match Play (Austin, Texas, USA), the Bridgestone Invitational (Akron, Ohio, USA) and the HSBC Champions (Shanghai, China).
  • World Golf Championship events are broadcast to more than 1 billion households in 225 countries and territories in 32 languages.
  • The series as a whole has generated nearly $60 million for charitable causes since its inception in 1999.






Liked it? Take a second to support The Original Golf Blogger on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: