The first WGC event of the calendar year is set to take place this week at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City.
The course is hosting for the fourth time and it's a par 71 that plays to 7,355 yards. However, it's important to remember that the course is situated over 7,600 feet above sea level. Depending on the club used and weather, the ball will fly 10 to 20% further for golfers this week. This is an extremely short course when adjusting for the altitude.
There isn't enough high-altitude events to put together reliable stats as to who likes the elevation and who doesn't. The closest comp would be Crans Montana for the Omega Euro Masters but if you put too much weight on those results then you are just rewarding a subset of the field who happens to add that event to their schedules every year.
For DFS gamers, there is no cut-line to sweat this week as the field of 72 golfers will all be guaranteed four rounds of action, barring any WDs.
Let's have a look at the weather, see who is rounding into form, and then check out some golfers that might enjoy the poa annua greens at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
Thursday (R1): Sunny with a high of 74 degrees. Winds at 5 to 10 MPH.
Friday (R2): Mostly Cloudy with a high of 61 degrees. Winds at 5 to 10 MPH.
It looks like a great weather week in Mexico. No rain or heavy wind in the forecast.
I am going to focus on some recent results in this section to highlight what golfers may be trending in the right direction.
Jon Rahm -- He didn't get much coverage last week but he was lurking just off the pace for most of the event at Riviera CC. He didn't lose strokes to the field in any of the four rounds, settling for a T17 by week's end. Looking a little further back, he's lost strokes to the field in just 1-of-16 rounds played in 2020. This run of form has been ongoing since last summer. He's sneaking up on Rory for the top spot in the OWGR.
Dustin Johnson -- He's still shaking off the rust after knee surgery but he's still flashed a lot of upside in his four recent worldwide starts. DJ has lapped the field by 3+ strokes in 6-of-16 rounds played but still needs to tidy up the game before he hits full speed. If those small fixes come around then a win could be just over the horizon. The rate of low rounds recorded recently is a great sign of what's to come.
It's another week of poa annua greens so anyone that has flashed some form in California should be given a bump.
Looking at sample-size-adjusted performance in rounds played on poa annua greens since 2018 (PGA, KFT, Euro Tour) the top performers on a per-round basis looks like this:
Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement on poa annua (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
Charles Howell III
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Other than Reed from the list above, the rest of the names are golfers that can look really lost on the greens some weeks. The variance of poa annua greens seems to help their cause.
Robert MacIntyre: He missed the Abu Dhabi HSBC last month due to a wrist injury but returned the following week to post a top 10 in Dubai. The Scot then missed the cut in Saudi Arabia. The top 10 in Dubai is a great indication that his wrist is okay, which is the only real concern at this week's price point. Other than that, we can look at his brief history of PGA TOUR results and see that he pelted more greens than the field in his Open Championship debut last year (6th place) and also hit more greens than the field in his WGC debut last fall (T17 at the WGC-HSBC). The lefty finished 10th on the Euro Tour in Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee last year and currently ranks 20th this season. That's a useful tool to have on a course this week that really allows you to be aggressive and set up lots of scoring chances if you are comfortable on the tee box.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!