2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic picks, predictions, odds: Ranking the field in Mexico
You know a tournament is good if five of the top nine players are playing the week after a major
We are finally nearing the end of PGA Tour golf season in 2018. Following last week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, only two official events remain on the schedule between this week's Mayakoba Golf Classic and next week's RSM Classic in Georgia. After that it's only unofficial events (mostly involving Tiger Woods) until the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January.
Let's take a look at this week's contest.
What: Mayakoba Golf Classic | When: Nov. 8-11
Where: El Camaleon Golf Club -- Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Ranking the field (odds)
- Rickie Fowler (8-1): He's the favorite, and he probably should be after that show he put on at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He shot 63 there on Sunday, and he also nearly won this event last season before eventually falling to Patton Kizzire.
- Tony Finau (14-1): I'm not sure why he has worse odds than Jordan Spieth, who fired a tepid 71-72 last week to finish T55. Finau shot in the 60s every day at TPC Summerlin.
- Jordan Spieth (11-1): He was 68th (of 74) from tee to green last week but 18th in putting. Eventually he'll put it all together. His first appearance here.
- Gary Woodland (18-1): One of the more underrated guys on the PGA Tour right now. Five (!) straight top 12 finishes for Woodland, including last week's T10 in Vegas.
- Abraham Ancer (45-1): Converging trends as he finished top 10 here last season and also finished T4 last week at the Shriners.
- Billy Horschel (28-1): Top 11 in five of his last eight starts. Love him at that number this week.
- Cameron Champ (28-1): I'll put him in here every week. After a great first three rounds in Vegas, he faded a little on Sunday with a 73. Finished first in driving (was second the week before in a win).
- Emiliano Grillo (25-1): Finished T9 here last year. Along with Woodland, he might be the most underrated talent in this field.
- Joaquin Niemann (40-1): Four rounds in the 60s last week and finished T10. He's still 19! (He turns 20 on Wednesday).
- Si Woo Kim (33-1): Another supreme talent who finished top 10 last year and top 15 last week. I love Si Woo's game, but I'm a little concerned that he led the field in putting last week but finished 73rd from tee to green. Seems bad! He lost seven (!) strokes to the field from tee to green on Saturday and still shot 69. That's kind of incredible.
Field strength -- C+: This is about what I expect from my fall events. One or two stars and superstars with the rest of the field filled out with solid pros, young, aspiring players and some journeymen. It certainly doesn't have the same punch as last week's event.
Three stories to watch
1. Age is a virtue: Interestingly, eight of the 11 champions at this tournament since it started in 2007 were in their 30s or older. That goes against a recent trend on the PGA Tour and all of the data we have this season. Five of the first six winners on the PGA Tour in the 2018-19 season have been under the age of 30.
2. Spieth two weeks in a row: I did not envision either Tiger Woods being ranked ahead of Jordan Spieth in the OWGR at the end of 2018 (like he is right now) or Spieth teeing it up two weeks in a row in the fall series. Here we are after a lackluster weekend from Spieth in which he lost nearly four strokes to the field off the tee in the final 36 holes. I'd like to see something big from him this week before he dives into the (real) offseason.
3. Fowler's answer: I know he doesn't think about this stuff (and he shouldn't), but I'm curious to see if Rickie Fowler has an on-course answer for his Ryder Cup teammatein just his 71st start on the PGA Tour last week at the Shriners. I think Fowler is better than he probably gets credit for, but there has to be some wins to show for it at some point, and he only has four in his first 214 events.
- 2017: Patton Kizzire
- 2016: Pat Perez
- 2015: Graeme McDowell
- 2014: Charley Hoffman
- 2013: Harris English
Mayakoba Golf Classic picks
|Winner: He's been knocking on the door for a while. It's easy to see him having one of those lights out ball-striking weeks and just running away with it here. When he's on, there's nobody who burns hotter. Odds: 28-1 |
|Top 10: Quietly a top-10 machine over the past few months! His odds reflect that. He's only 230 events into his PGA Tour career, which is only a few more than Rickie Fowler, and there's still room to climb a few runs on the ladder. Odds: 22-1 |
|Sleeper: He's such an outrageous talent, and this is such a good number to bet him on. Odds: 40-1 |
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Lefty went on to win the event!
This would probably only happen in a non-Ryder Cup year