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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Meanwhile, Down in Puerto Rico...

Although Tiger's car crash dominated the news Tuesday, tournaments continue to prepare for this week's competition. One of those is the Puerto Rico Open, the opposite field event to the WGC--Workday.

Defending champion Viktor Hovland

The Grand Reserve Country Club is, according to pgatour.com:

...located along the northern coast of the eastern edge of Puerto Rico that wasn’t spared by Hurricane Maria in 2018. Exposed to the sea, wind always is the primary challenge on the Tom Kite design. To help make it enjoyable (and playable), fairways are generous, the primary rough is trimmed to two inches and average-sized paspalum greens are receptive. They also are governed to just 11 feet on the Stimpmeter.

At 7,506 yards, length can be an advantage, but like any proper host, all skill sets have a fighting chance. Frequency of hitting greens in regulation and precision on approach will yield low numbers even in gusts up to 20 mph all week. They will be prevailing out of the east. Passing showers will be but a minor nuisance.

The defending champion is Viktor Hovland but he's in Bradenton FL instead, prepping for the WGC. That means we'll be seeing a new champion this year, and it appears the favored player -- at least in the pgatour.com Power Rankings -- is Emiliano Grillo, who finished T3 last year.

GC's live coverage runs from 10am-1pm ET on Thursday, leading into their WGC coverage. Now that Hovland has broken the legendary Puerto Rico curse, having won at Mayakoba earlier this year, I suppose players will be even more excited to get a win there. Wonder if we'll see anybody top Hovland's 20-under score from last year?

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