Primer: 2019 WGC-Mexico Championship

Phil Mickelson WGC-Mexico 2018
Phil Mickelson tees off on the third hole during the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship at the Club de Golf Chapultepec on March 4, 2018 in Mexico City. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

After the five-stop West Coast Swing, the PGA Tour heads south of the U.S. border for the third-annual WGC-Mexico Championship.

Phil Mickelson WGC-Mexico 2018
Phil Mickelson tees off on the third hole during the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship at the Club de Golf Chapultepec on March 4, 2018 in Mexico City. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

Headliners include Phil Mickelson – the 2018 champion, and Tiger Woods, who will make his first career PGA Tour start in Mexico.

Including the two aforementioned legends, the elite-field event at Club de Golf Chapultepec will feature 28 of the top-30 ranked players in the world.

As we do each week, here’s a round up of information and historical data to get you prepped for the season’s second World Golf Championships event.


THE SKINNY

Tournament: WGC-Mexico Championship
Dates: Febraury 21-24, 2019
Where: Mexico City, Mexico
Course: Club de Golf Chapultepec
Distance: 7330 yards, par 71
Architect: Willie and Alex Smith
Format: 72 holes, stroke play
Purse: $10,250,000
Winner’s Share: $1,745,000
Defending Champion: Phil Mickelson
Marquee Players: Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, and Rory McIlroy.


TV AND ONLINE

Rd 1: Thu 2-7:00 pm (GOLF)
Rd 2: Fri 2-7:00 pm (GOLF)
Rd 3: Sat 12-3:00 pm (GOLF), 3-6:00 pm (NBC)
Rd 4: Sun 12-2:00 pm (GOLF), 2-6:00 pm (NBC)
Web | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Wikipedia


HISTORY

The roots of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship trace back to 1999. It was titled the WGC-American Express Championship in its inaugural year, and was contested at famed Valderrama in Spain.

Tiger Woods Doral Trump
Tiger Woods walks with caddie Joe LaCava on No. 10 during day two of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral in Miami (FL) on March 7, 2014. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The 1999 event ended on the first sudden-death hole when a 23-year-old Tiger Woods bested native son Miguel Angel Jimenez, 35-years old at the time. It was Tiger’s first victory of a record seven at the event.

The tournament bounced around to a few more countries until 2007 when it finally settled in at famed Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida.

When Cadillac’s sponsorship of the event ended in 2016, the tournament moved to its new location at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City, a move the PGA Tour said it was more about sponsorship money, and less about politics.

HISTORY: TOURNAMENT NAMES

2017-19: WGC-Mexico Championship
2011-16: WGC-Cadillac Championship
2007-10: WGC-CA Championship
1999-2006: WGC-American Express Championship

HISTORY: TOURNAMENT VENUES

2017-19: Club de Golf Chapultepec (Mexico City)
2007-16: Trump National (Miami, FL)
2006: The Grove (Hertfordshire, ENG)
2005: Harding Park GC (San Fran, CA)
2004: Mount Juliet GC (Thomastown, IRE)
2003: Capital City Club (Atlanta, GA)
2002: Mount Juliet GC (Thomastown, IRE)
2001: Bellerive CC (St Louis, MO)*
2000: Valderama GC (San Roque, SPAIN)
1999: Valderama GC (San Roque, SPAIN)
* Canceled following Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

HISTORY: RECENT WINNERS

2018: Phil Mickelson (-16)
2017: Dustin Johnson (-14)
2016: Adam Scott (-12)
2015: Dustin Johnson (-9)
2014: Patrick Reed (-4)
2013: Tiger Woods (-19)
2012: Justin Rose (-16)

HISTORY: TOURNAMENT RECORDS

72-Hole Scoring:
261 (-21) Tiger Woods, 2006

Wins:
7 – Tiger Woods (1999, 2002-03, 2005-07, 2013)
2 – Ernie Els (2004, 2010)
2 – Dustin Johnson (2015, 2017)


DEFENDING CHAMPION

Exactly 1687 days after his last victory (the 2013 Open Championship), then 47-year-old Tour legend Phil Mickelson outlasted then reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Justin Thomas in a playoff at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Phil Mickelson Wins WGC-Mexico
Phil Mickelson with Inés Sainz of TV Azteca after winning the WGC-Mexico Championship in a playoff at Club De Golf Chapultepec on March 4, 2018 in Mexico City. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

A par on the first playoff hole meant career victory No. 43 for Mickelson, which came off the strength of an impressive final round 5-under 66 to reach 16 under for the week.

Mickelson was able to overcome the historically great weekend of Thomas, who played the final two rounds in a record-tying 16-under par (62-64), highlighted by a hole-out eagle-2 on the 18th hole that will make the reel of all-time great golf shots.

The duo of Mickelson and Thomas finished one shot ahead of Tyrrell Hatton, who missed a spot in the playoff by inches as his par putt on 18 came up just short, and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

FINAL TOP 5

1 Phil Mickelson -16
2 Justin Thomas -16
3 Tyrrell Hatton -15
3 Rafa Cabrera-Bello -15
5 Brian Harman -13
5 Kiradech Aphibarnrat -13


STORYLINES TO WATCH

Spieth’s Slump: Can Jordan Spieth break his lengthy slump? The former all-timer stumbled home last season, and even missed the Tour Championship for the first time in his stellar career. The struggles, though, got worse this season, as he’s fallen all the way down to No. 24 in the world (his worst ranking since he was a teenage phenom in 2013), while posting finishes of: T55, MC, MC, T35, T45, and T51.

Mickelson’s Tank: The 48-year old legend won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on a Monday and then played the Genesis Open seemingly on fumes. This will be his fifth straight week without a break which can’t be great for a guy closing in on the Champions Tour.

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods walk off the 8th hole green during the first round of the Genesis Open at Riviera CC on Feb 15, 2019 in Pacific Palisades, CA. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Eyes on the Tiger: As is the case each week the 80-time PGA Tour winner tees it up, much of the media focus will center around Tiger Woods. He’s only made two starts this season, and while he hasn’t contended, he’s been near the first page of the leaderboard, posting a T15 and T20.

Justin Thomas’ Psyche: How does the usually unflappable Thomas respond after blowing a four-shot lead last Sunday at Riviera – especially handing it to someone (J.B. Holmes) who barely broke par (1-under). If there’s a good bounce-back course for JT, Chapultepec would seem to fit the bill, as the 25-year old American has posted a pair of top-5s (2nd and T5) in both career starts.


FULL FIELD & ODDS

The field this week includes 28 of the top-30 in the Official World Golf Rankings, with only No. 1 Justin Rose and No. 10 Jason Day sitting out the Mexico stop.

The event features an attractive array of star power, headlined by legends Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, alongside top-ranked superstars Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, and Rory McIlroy.

Justin Thomas Holes Out WGC-Mexico
Justin Thomas reacts after a hole-out on No. 18 during the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship at Chapultepec GC on March 4, 2018 in Mexico City. Photo by Ryan Young/Getty Images via PGA TOUR

JT, who owns a runner-up and T5 in his two starts in Mexico, is the slight favorite at 9-1, with 2017 winner DJ (10-1) and Rory (11-1) rounding out the top-three favs.

BET ON THE WGC-MEXICO CHAMPIONSHIP AT BOVADO.


Carey Hoffman contributed to this preview.


Credits: PGA Tour, Getty Images


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