While the Zurich Classic of New Orleans is kind of an off week on the PGA Tour schedule, it did provide us with fantastic golf.  You see friendships in these pairings like the winning squad this week Davis Riley and Nick Hardy.   These two have known each other since they were 14 and had partnered together at the 2014 Wyndham Cup.  Now, they both earned their first career PGA Tour victories together.  While that tournament was fun, it’ll be nice to get back to a regular event on the PGA Tour schedule.    

The PGA Tour heads across the border for the second time of the year for the Mexico Open at Vidanta.  This course is a Greg Norman design.  We’ve seen the Wolf Golf Championships - Mexico Championship hold an event at Club de Golf Chapultepec from 2017-2020 but this event has taken its spot.  These two courses do have similar characteristics like both being Par 71s, both long (Vidanta is longer) and both featuring paspalum grass.  El Camaleon (Mayakoba), Coco Beach (Puerto Rico), and Corales Golf Club (Dominican) all feature that same grass.  All of those courses and Vidanta play alongside water which makes wind a primary defense.  The early weather reports in the area do show milder winds which will likely lead to lower scores.  

The primary difference between Club de Golf Chapultepec and Vidanta is the elevation.  Chapultepec was over 7,000 feet above sea level in the mountains of Mexico City.  While there is only about 100 yards difference between the courses in length, Vidanta sits barely above sea level.  That will make this course feel 10 times longer than Chapultepec because of the added length these golfers would get at high elevation.  That means distance off the tee will be at a premium and not necessarily accuracy.  The fairways are rather wide without many trees to worry about.  There is water featured on half the holes and a lot of nasty bunkers (a Norman signature) strategically placed throughout the course.

We have some course history but not much being that this is a newer event on the PGA Tour.  I will be putting a little more weight into recent form and how their skill sets match this course.  Despite all that I’ve told you about this course, these pros will likely light this course up.  Jon Rahm won the first edition last year at 17 under par.  We will target Strokes Gained: Approach as usual with extra looks at Strokes Gained: Off the Tee.  I’m also going to target Par 5 Efficiency: 600+ Yards because this course has two of them.  There is also a drivable Par 4 on this course which could lead to some fun as well.  I will look at players who have experience playing on paspalum grass as well.

This is not one of the PGA Tour’s “designated events” so the field strength will be weaker this weekend.  We do have defending champion and 2023 Masters champ, Jon Rahm teeing it up in Mexico.  You will see a lot of Latin American golfers playing, led by Nico Echavarria.  We do have a lot of players with experience playing at events like the Puerto Rico Open and Corales.  These guys will have a slight advantage heading into this weekend.



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