2019 WGC-Mexico Championship picks, predictions, odds: Ranking the field at Chapultepec

It won't be the same class of course this week at the WGC-Mexico Championship, to say the least, but an even stronger field than last week's Genesis Open will tee it up for the first WGC of 2019. Phil Mickelson returns to defend his title he earned over Justin Thomas in a playoff last season, and he'll be joined by another 40-something guy by the name of Tiger Woods. Big Cat will play in just his second WGC event since 2014.

Let's take a look at this week's contest.

Event information

What: WGC-Mexico Championship | When: Feb. 21-24
Where: Club de Golf Chapultepec -- Naucalpan, Mexico

Ranking the field (odds)

  1. Justin Thomas (9-1): No. 1 in the world in strokes gained on approach shots and from tee to green. The best ball-striker on the planet. Lost in a playoff here last season, and finished T5 the year before that.
  2. Dustin Johnson (10-1): No surprises here. D.J. won here in 2017 and finished T7 last year. He and Thomas have been arguably the two best at this course so far. 
  3. Rory McIlroy (11-1): I'm going chalk thus far with somebody who finished T4 at Riviera last week and grabbed a T7 in 2017 in his only appearance on this course.
  4. Jon Rahm (16-1): Finished T3 here in 2017 and has seven consecutive top-10 finishes worldwide. Seven!
  5. Brooks Koepka (18-1): Not necessarily a horse for this course, but I'd be foolish to not at least acknowledge his presence when big boppers have won the first two editions here.
  6. Rickie Fowler (16-1): Didn't play great last year, but he's one of the few coming in rested and refreshed after his victory in Phoenix and two weeks off.
  7. Bubba Watson (33-1): T15 at Riviera and T4 at Phoenix before that. Throw in a top 10 here last year, and I like the odds he's on right now.
  8. Tommy Fleetwood (40-1): Finished second to D.J. in 2017 and had another top 15 last season. Only thing that gives me pause is no top 10s in three months. 
  9. Bryson DeChambeau (16-1): Is there atmospheric pressure to be measured? Will golf be played? If the answer to both of those (in that order) is "yes," then Bryson is a contender. 
  10. Hideki Matsuyama (33-1): Three straight top 15s, and it's clear that he's feeling it once again.

Field strength -- A+: Of the top 50 in the world, only Justin Rose, Jason Day, Adam Scott and J.B. Holmes are sitting this one out. It's as good as fields get at non-majors, and easily the best we've seen so far in 2019. 

Three things to know

1. Genesis exodus: I'm curious to see if there's a hangover from those who played Riviera all week. Tiger looked toasted by the end of the week and said there was no chance he was going to touch his clubs on Monday. What about the guys playing for the third (or fourth?!) straight week?

2. The WGC wins total: How is it affected? Maybe I'm the only one who cares about Tiger's 18 WGC wins and that Dustin Johnson is second with five (yes, five), but I'm curious to see if Phil Mickelson can get his fourth or if Matsuyama, McIlroy or Watson can join the group at three.

3. Phil will almost definitely try to speak Spanish: Don't fall for it!

One story I'm following

Remember when Indian Shubhankar Sharma stole the show last year by getting into the final group with Mickelson and Tyrrell Hatton? He's had a wild last 12 months and notched another top 10 at the CIMB Classic in the fall. I'm curious to see if he can recapture a little of that magic we saw last season at this event. 

Tiger watch

Woods is the seven-time winner here, even though he's technically never played this course. He won all over the world; this event has been played at seven courses in five countries, but this will be his first taste of an, uh, interesting venue in Chapultepec.

Past winners

  • 2018: Phil Mickelson
  • 2017: Dustin Johnson
  • 2016: Adam Scott
  • 2015: Dustin Johnson
  • 2014: Patrick Reed

WGC-Mexico Championship picks

Winner: I'm here for it! Matsuyama has been quietly making hay this year, and is one of just five golfers gaining over a stroke per round on the field with his approach shots. The best version of Hideki is one who's ball-striking the crap out of it (which he is). Odds: 33-1       
Justin Thomas
Top 10: Three top-three finishes in his last four events, and he hit the shot of the year on this course on his 72nd hole last year. Seems a little too easy.  Odds: 9-1       
Sleeper: The only players to post top 10s in both of the events at this course are Mickelson, Thomas, Johnson and ... Tyrrell Hatton. Odds: 66-1   
CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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