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. It was good to see Xander Schauffele get back in the winner’s circle with his good buddy Patrick Cantlay. I personally wouldn’t mind if the tour had more team events with maybe 3-4 guys instead of just pairs. If we know that the Ryder Cup is popular, why not jump on that and do more. Anyways, we are back to the regular week grind with a brand new event on the PGA Tour schedule.
Let me introduce you to the Mexico Open at Vidanta. Vidanta 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 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 that 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 signature of Norman designs) strategically placed throughout the course.
We will obviously not have any course history to use when making our selections this weekend. I’ll be looking more 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 up the scoreboard with lots of birdies. We will target Strokes Gained: Approach as usual with Driving Distance. 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. I will look at players who have experience playing on paspalum grass as well.
The one negative to this event not being a WGC event anymore is that the field is on the weaker side. We do have Jon Rahm returning to action for the first time since the Masters. We’ve got Tony Finau, Kevin Na, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland and Mexico’s own Abraham Ancer. 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.
ONE AND DONE PLAY: CHAD RAMEY
Let’s take a look at the players I’m targeting this weekend: