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Mexico Open at Vidanta Preview

Tony Finau

Tony Finau

Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot of talk about the designated events on this year’s PGA TOUR schedule.

They can’t all be elevated though, and that presents a good opportunity for mid-tier and journeymen to rise to the occasion. They will have a chance to do just that at this week’s Mexico Open at Vidanta.

Jon Rahm is headlining the field as the defending champ and Tony Finau is also making the trip for a second straight year. The field thins out rather quickly after that, leaving it wide open if both of the superstars arrive with anything less than their best.

There are 144 golfers lining up with the low 65 and ties playing the week. It’s back to normal cutline rules after a switch-up with last week’s team event in NOLA.

The Course

Vidanta Villarta returns to host this event for the second straight season.

This Greg Norman design is a par 71 that 7,456 yards. As you’ll hear in the quotes section below, this is one of the longer courses they’ll play all season.

Off the tee, golfers will see wide, resort-style landing areas which provides them a lot of opportunity to pound driver. Distance is not required but certainly preferred.

On approach, golfers will be attacking from cushiony paspalum turf, aiming at relatively large and soft targets. That combination allows for shorter hitters to contend with the big dogs, as the receptive greens will let them hold the greens with a longer iron in hand.

The primary defense is wind but the course is ripe for the picking in calm conditions.

For grass, they’ll see wall-to-wall paspalum grass which is common in more tropical climates.

Course Quotes

Sifting through some past quotes, let’s try to break down the course to see how it will play.

Brendon Todd in 2022: “Length is definitely an advantage, but you’re going to see guys of all types play well just because whenever there’s wind and receptive greens and no rough, anybody can access any pin from anywhere.”

Camilo Villegas in 2022: “You’re going to have to hit your mid to long irons pretty good. This golf course is very long, it could be one of the longest golf courses we play on the PGA Tour and you’re definitely going to have some long irons coming to the greens.”

Patrick Reed in 2022: “There’s some pretty wide fairways out there and you still have to set up and hit a quality golf shot, because even though they’re wide, you have to play from certain angles into these greens.”

The length of this golf course was certainly a popular talking point last year.

Correlated Courses

Using historical data we can look at overperformance and underperformance at this week’s host course and compare that to all of the courses played out on TOUR. Here are the ones that shared a lot of overlap:

Grand Reserve
Muirfield Village
TPC Deere Run
Memorial Park

It’s a combination of wide fairways and long iron play that mostly stands out here.

The Weather

Thursday: Sunny with a high of 82 degrees. Wind at 6 to 12 MPH.

Friday: Sunny with a high of 81 degrees. Wind at 9 to 15 MPH.

Wind is the primary defense of the golf course but at press time, the course looks rather defenseless given the light wind forecast.