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WGC Mexico Championship Preview (& Players To Watch)

This week sees the first World Golf Championship of 2019 take place upon the fairways of Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City as the world's best golfers get ready to do battle with a mouth-watering $10.25M prize fund on offer.

Given the high-quality field, the WGC Mexico Championship often throws up big-name winners.  Justin Rose won in 2012, Tiger Woods in 2013, in 2014 Patrick Reed prevailed, Dustin Johnson is a dual winner (2015 and 2017), while 2016 saw Adam Scott come out on top and last year's event brought a welcome, long-awaited victory for Phil Mickelson.

If that's not enough to whet your appetite, check out our preview below...

The Venue

Course: Club de Golf Chapultepec
Yardage: 7,345 yards
Par: 71

The event back in 2017 was the first time the WGC Mexico Championship took place at Club de Golf Chapultepec as the PGA Tour switched their venue choice from Trump Doral much to the annoyance of the newly appointed American President.

The golf course's massive elevation will play havoc with the golfers' yardage calculations while the tree-lined fairways throughout will have many playing it relatively safe from the tee.  There's also a pretty challenging climax to the round with 16,17 and 18 providing a particularly brutish trio of holes which play uphill and threaten to derail any golfer's challenge.

Other highlights of the old Mexican Open venue include the long par-4 4th hole which plays as a downhill dogleg left as well as the uphill par-5 6th.

Catch a few glimpses of the course below:

2018 Champion: Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson returns to the scene of the win that revitalised his career back in February 2018. His first victory since the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield in Scotland was a great shot-in-the-arm and has spring-boarded him to great performances since - not least at this month's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Forced into a playoff by Justin Thomas’ stunning hole-out for eagle on the 72nd hole during last year's event, 'Lefty' summoned all his competitive know-how to get the job done.  With 101 starts since his last win, it was a welcome weight off the shoulders for the five-time major winner.

Catch the highlights of Phil's win below...

The Field

It's a World Golf Championship. There's a winner's share of $1.7M up for grabs.  Yep, that's right, the big guns are out in force.

From the current top ten in the Official World Golf Rankings, only world number one Justin Rose has opted to miss the trip to Mexico City.  Last week's Genesis Open winner J.B. Holmes has also decided to take a week off and head for a family vacation to celebrate his fifth PGA Tour title.

Tiger Woods - currently world number 13 - has committed to the first WGC event of the year and will be looking to add to his record 18 wins to date.

Standout featured groups for Thursday and Friday include Rickie Fowler, John Rahm and Patrick Reed, as well as the all-American trio of Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Players To Watch

Leading Chance: Justin Thomas

Despite a final round collapse at last week's Genesis Open, 'JT' is playing great golf at present and seems primed to take Club de Golf Chapultepec apart.  During the third round last year he set the course record on his way to a second-place finish behind eventual winner Phil Mickelson.

In four events in 2019, the young Kentuckian has secured a top three position on three separate occasions - failing only at the Sony Open (T-16).

Crowd Pleaser: Tiger Woods

Whether we think he will walk away with the title is pretty irrelevant.  Tiger Woods is the man to watch at every event he tees it up given the great man's global appeal.

As it turns out, we do think he's in with a good chance of featuring at the head of affairs this week as he makes a first ever competitive start in Mexico.  Two top-20 finishes in his last two starts have been solid without being overly impressive, but we think Tiger may be ready to roar once again.

Worth A Look: Haotong Li

The Chinese superstar is coming off the back of a runner-up finish at the Saudi International on the European Tour and has been steadily improving his performances in World Golf Championship events over the past few years.  We think he could be in the mix this week.

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