WGC- Mexico Golf Championship

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, March 4th, 2017

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TOM WARD
tompward@sbcglobal.net

The eyes of the golf world will be focused south of the border
down in Mexico this weekend for the WGC- Mexico Championship. Players
from more than 15 different countries are scheduled to compete in the
championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City. This marks
the first time that Mexico will be the host country for the first of
the World Golf Championship events in 2017.
I can tell you having played the Club De Golf Chapultepec on
many occasions over the past few decades it’s going to be a fun
challenge for the players. Most of the players in the field have
probably never seen the course until this week, however the course has
hosted numerous Mexican Open’s over the decades.
The bigger issue that they will have to deal with is the
altitude adjustment. The course’s sits approximately 7,780 feet above
sea level. That’s an altitude that’s 50 percent higher than Denver,
the “Mile-High City.” That kind of height will have a big impact on
how far the golf ball travels. Under those type of atmospheric
conditions, you can expect the golf ball to fly 10 to 15 percent
farther than normal.
The course has a narrow, tree lined look and hitting fairways
and greens will be at premium giving straight hitters an advantage.
For a landlocked course there is a lot of risk reward if the longer
players use driver off the tee. I don’t imagine the rough will be
grown too high this week giving players a good chance to advance
wayward shots.
There is very little water on the course and the 17th green has
a shaved bank that could lead to some intriguing moments down the
stretch.
Another thing players will have to deal with are the greens
which can be tricky to putt with lots of undulations. Par is 71 and
the length of the course is 7,330 yards.
This year’s field is a stellar one headed by new world number
one Dustin Johnson. The usual suspects are playing such as Jordan
Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler (who won last
week), Adam Scott (defending champion), and Rory McIlroy to name a
few.
The solo Mexican player in the tournament is Roberto Diaz.
Opening Hole #1
Par 4, 316 yards
A short, downward hole that will be accessible for the big
hitting players. It has two greens, of which the right one is more
often used. Players aiming at this green will face a line of trees
that will have to be carried to reach the green off the tee. The
conservative play is to shoot 200-225 yards to the left of the fairway
and then play a short wedge. The green on this hole is very
undulating, with a slope from the back to the front and from left to
right.
Hole #2
Par 4, 387 yards
Again big hitters can get awfully close to this green off the
tee. A tree that is 140 yards from the green in the right rough makes
it necessary to hit a first shot left that sets up an approach shot of
approximately 150 yards. The green has a slight slope from back to the
front and from left to right, and has two bunkers at the front.
Hole #3
Par 3, 186 yards
Choosing the correct club off the tee is critical here. Players
will need to hit a short to mid-iron which is protected by two
bunkers, one at the front, one to the left.
Hole #4
Par 4, 506 yards
Is the longest Par 4 on the course which doglegs left off the
tee. A good drive is needed to be able to gain visibility to the green
and its three bunkers: one to the left and two to the right. A
downward shot with a mid-iron will be necessary to hit the green,
which slopes from the back to front.
Hole #5
Par 4, 445 yards
Players will need to set up an approach shot short of the bunker
located to the right of the fairway, leaving about 100 plus yards to
the green. The second shot will be a downward shot with a mid to long
iron. The green has pronounced slopes from the back to the front and
lighter slopes from right to left. The hole is protected by three
bunkers, one on the left side and two to the right.
Hole #6
Par 5, 625 yards
This uphill Par 5 with a dogleg to the right. Avoid the bunker
that protects the right side of the fairway off the tee shot. On the
approach, players will have to play around a large tree located on the
right side of the fairway. For the third shot, players will need to
shoot a long-iron towards the green, which is protected by a lake, two
bunkers to the right and one to the left. The green has two levels:
the front covers less ground than the back, but both are well defined
and relatively flat.
Hole #7
Par 3, 235 yards
This is a good, tough Par 3. The green is protected by two
bunkers at the back, another to the left, and a lake that goes from
front to the right of the green and a tree that blocks access from the
right. Players should favor the left side of the green. Par is a great
score on this hole.
Hole #8
Par 4, 525 yards
The shortest par 5 and a great opportunity to make birdie or
better here. The first shot should be towards the right of the fairway
to avoid the bunker left. The green is protected on both sides by
trees and by three bunkers, two towards the left front and one towards
the left back. The green has three levels and slopes from the back to
the front and from left to right.
Hole #9
Par 4, 382 yards
This hole offers two tee options which play differently. One is
to the right, forming a light dogleg to the right, forcing players to
leave the first shot at around 150 to 100 yards to the green. On the
left, the hole plays shorter. The second shot is uphill and players
will use a short-iron towards a green protected by four bunkers, two
right, one left and one back. The green has a slope that goes from the
back towards the front, with a hill to the right that makes the slope
more pronounced.
Hole #10
Par 4, 450 yards
The back nine begins with a downhill par 4 with a bunker to the
right approximately 150 yards from the green. This hole has a fairway
with a light slope from left to right and out of bounds throughout the
right of the fairway, so a bad shot right can easily lead to penalty
strokes. The second shot, downhill as well, reaches the green which is
protected by two bunkers to the right and left. The green is not easy
to hit having pronounced slopes.
Back 9Hole #11
Par 5, 622 yards
A downhill par 5, players have to avoid a bunker to the left of
the fairway. This way, they can execute a second shot that favors the
left side, as there’s a bunker and tree covering the right,
approximately 100 yards from the green. For the third, the best angle
is from the left of the fairway since the right side of the green is
covered by trees and two bunkers. The green slopes from back to front.
Hole # 12
Par 4, 406 yards
It is critical to hit the fairway here off the tee. There are two
bunkers and an out of bounds to the right. Once in the fairway,
players will face a hard short shot towards a green protected by three
bunkers, with a slope that goes from the back to the front and with a
very pronounced hill at the back right of the green.
Hole # 13
Par 3, 225 yards
This is the longest par 3 of the course and the shot is uphill,
which adds difficulty. Players will hit the first shot with a
long-iron towards a green protected by a bunker to the left and
another to the right of the green entrance.
Hole #14
Par 4, 482 yards
This is the second longest par 4 of the course. I really like
this hole. The first shot is downhill towards a fairway with a slope
from left to right. The second shot is uphill towards a green
protected by two deep bunkers on the sides forcing players to use mid
or long irons. The green has a deep slope from the center towards the
front and a hill behind it.
Hole #15
Par 5, 575 yards
This is the last Par 5 of the course. It is entirely uphill with
a slight turn to the right, and it’s a birdie hole. It’s a narrow hole
and in the first shot players have to deal with a bunker that covers
the left side of the fairway. The second shot is uphill to a narrow
fairway. Since the green has a slope from the back to the front and
from right to left with four well-defined levels, players must be on
the right one in order to keep it at one putt.
Hole #16
Par 4, 403 yards
This is one of the best and most challenging holes on the course
which is played all uphill. The approach shot will be played uphill
with a short iron towards a green protected by two deep bunkers to the
left side of the entrance. Staying on the proper level of this green
is crucial since the difference between levels is very pronounced.
Hole #17
Par 3, 172 yards
Players will use a short iron on this Par 3. The green is
protected by a lake that covers the entrance and the left side, as
well as by a bunker on the back right side and another on the left
side bordering the lake. The green is relatively flat, with two levels
that are well defined.
Hole #18
Par 4, 388 yards
This hole is uphill and has a slight curve to the left. One of
the characteristics is that trees around the tee make the first shot
very narrow, and a bunker on the right must be avoided. The fairway is
relatively wide, leaving an uphill shot with a short iron towards an
elevated green protected by two deep bunkers on the entrance. The
green has a pronounced slope towards the front and a hill on the
right.
I look forward to a great championship this weekend…..the
exposure for the country will be great. Having lived in Mexico (Puerto
Vallarta) for 15 winters during the 1980’s and 90’s I excited that
viewers will get to see the high quality of golf the country has to
offer. I’ve taught a lot of players over the years in Mexico and
helped promote the country as an international golf destination with
their tourism industry. I have seen incredible growth since those
early days in the 1980’s to now. I’m wishing bueno suerte (good luck)
this week to Mexico as I’m sure they will pull off a grand
championship with a deserving winner come Sunday.
Tom Ward can be contacted at www.teetimewithtom.com

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