2017 WGC-Mexico Championship Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

In August of 1996, I attended my first ever PGA Tour event, the Sprint International in Castle Rock, CO.  Clarence Rose (wait, who?) won that year in a playoff over Brad Faxon with 31 points.  Points in golf?  Ah yes, I miss me some Castle Pines, and the Stableford format (which still lives on today in an opposite field event later in the summer).  Why do I mention this?  Because Castle Pines was a PGA Tour event played at elevation.  Some pretty serious elevation actually, 6,400 feet to be exact.

And what’s the correlation with this week’s event, the WGC-Mexico Championship you ask?  Well, amazingly this week will be played at an even higher elevation than Castle Pines, with the host course the Club de Golf Chapultepec coming in at a lofty 7,500 feet.  That means that the 7,330 yardage on the card will be reduced to roughly 6,500 yards, a mere pitch and putt for these bombers.

It may be playing shorter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be playing significant easier.  Ok, well it sort of does.  But, let’s just say that even with doing the math of taking a % percentage off of each shot to compensate for the elevation that you will see lots of puzzled and frustrated looks on the faces of the players this week, and it’s mighty easy to start questioning your caddie (yep, I’m talking about you Bubba), the yardage, el dios y mucho mas es en esta situacion.  Ok, I’ll refrain from any mas espanol. 🙂

My picks last week at the Honda Classic were rock solid, as Lockzilla Paul Casey finished t-11th and Semi-Flier Francesco Molinari finished t-14th, despite two double bogies on the back 9 on Sunday that cost him a much higher finish.  I also remained red hot with my BUST pick of the week as I spot on nailed the previous week’s runner-up Thomas Pieters to miss the cut.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Casey t-11th)

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia
– A mi me gusta Sergio esta semana (I like Sergio this week!).  Sergio pretty much jumps off the page to me this week, given his solid current form (t-14th last week that Honda, won on Euro Tour in Dubai a few weeks prior) and the fact that he’s an average putter and great ball-striker, which is not a disadvantage/a good thing on a foreign course where no one in the field has intimate knowledge of the green breaks, etc… He also will be able to leave those pesky hecklers from the Honda behind and be in his comfort zone among some espanol (albeit a different dialect).  I’m all in on Sergio this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Molinari t-14th)

Emiliano Grillo
Emiliano Grillo
– We might think of the 24-year-old Argentinian as streaky, but he’s only missed one cut on the PGA Tour since the PLAYERS Championship last May and has racked up a solid 10 top 25s in the process.  Add in that he plays well on bentgrass/poa greens (the greens are a blend of the two grasses this week) and I’m loving me some Grillo esta semana.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Schwartzel MC)

Martin Kaymer
Martin Kaymer– As mentioned above, I’ve been rip roarin’ hot lately with my BUST picks, nailing 4 popular players in a row to miss the cut (and 5 out of the last 6).  This week it’s a bit different as there is no cut, so all busts are relative as barring a mid-event WD, everyone will complete 4 rounds.  So, that being said, I’m going with Martin Kaymer as my BUST pick of the week.  His t-4th last week at the Honda was a bit of a surprise, but trust me now and don’t just auto-roster him like so many others will just because he had one good week.  Stay away and thank me later.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: Willett MC)

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood
– See above for what I mentioned about Sergio not being at a disadvantage for being just an average putter, well Westy certainly fits into that camp, as the flatstick has definitely cost him down the stretch of many tournaments over the years.  The fact that he’s only won twice on the PGA Tour in what seems like a 50 year career is pretty pathetic; however, he’s shown some form of late, not finishing worse than t-26th in his past 4 European Tour events and the fact that he is admittedly in a much better place in his personal life right now means that he makes for a great sneaky play this week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

 

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