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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My "5 to Watch" at the WGC-Mexico

After President Trump made news for his comments about Mexican immigrants, Mexico made some news of its own. Now Mexico will get a chance to shine!

WGC-Mexico trophy

The course is the Club de Golf Chapultepec, a 7,330-yard par-71 layout. It was built in 1928 in an affluent neighborhood halfway between Mexico City and the suburb of Naucalpan, and I guess you could say it's the crown jewel of Mexican golf. It definitely sounds like it will be a good test for the players, especially since they'll have to adjust every shot for altitude. Mexico City is 7,349 feet above sea level, so they'll have to contend with both carry distance adjustments and the challenge of having less oxygen to breathe!

The defending champion is Adam Scott, although the drastic change of venue may mean he gets no advantage from that.

Picking my "5 to Watch" this week is a challenge, since I expect fitness to be a greater factor than skill this week, due to the extreme altitude. For that reason, I haven't included Rory McIlroy in this list, as I don't know how his recent rib injury may affect his endurance.
  • I think Dustin Johnson is the logical favorite at this point. I'm tempted to say that's because he's already 6'4" tall and used to altitude. However, given his play over the last year or so, DJ almost has to be a favorite every week until he proves otherwise.
  • Jordan Spieth is also playing well this year and should probably be a favorite. At this altitude, no one will struggle with distance off the tee, so accuracy and the simple ability to breathe will be more important.
  • Henrik Stenson returns to our side of the globe this week, and he has Top10s in his last six worldwide starts. His ever-dependable 3-wood could be a backbreaker for the rest of the field.
  • Hideki Matsuyama has enough wins in the last few months to make him an automatic pick here, especially since he won the last WGC.
  • And my flier pick? This is Jon Rahm's rookie season and he has played well this year on courses he hasn't played before. Wouldn't THIS be a great place to show off that skill?
Everything is so different this week that I think we're going to see a surprise winner. So I'm going with Jon Rahm, who may feel right at home in these cultural surroundings. Combine that with a new course, and I think Rahm has an outstanding chance this week to pick up a big win.

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