Out of the Rough: World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba (2022)
After a week in Bermuda with one of the weakest fields we’ve seen thus far this season, the PGA Tour heads to Mexico for the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.
This week’s field is much stronger than last week’s and is headlined by two time defending champion Viktor Hovland who is looking for the elusive three-peat. Other notable names partaking in this week’s event include former World #1 and current World #2 Scottie Scheffler, World #9 Collin Morikawa as well as Tony Finau who is making his season debut.
Additional notable names include Jason Day, Billy Horschel and Justin Rose.
El Camaleon Golf Course at Mayakoba plays as a par 71 at 7,034 yards and traverses through three different Mayan Riviera landscapes. Golfers will encounter the oceanfront, tropical jungle and mangroves.
Expect some low scores this week as annually the winner is in the low minus-20s. The last four winning scores dating back to 2018 have been -22, -20, -20 and -23.
Hitting the fairways is crucial here at the El Camaleon Golf Course at Mayakoba as a slew of penalty areas just off of the fairways can derail any single round.
This Greg Norman design features Paspalum greens that are not necessarily tricky but past results have shown that competent putters can make a run deep into Sunday.
It is crucial to hit the greens in the ideal spots to allow the ball to funnel its way to the hole. With that being said, ball placement will be crucial from shorter approach shots when getting up-and-down.
The par threes play very short here and need to be played properly. For example, hole four comes in at just 116 yards.
The par fives this week will be crucial to anyone looking to seek a victory. They too play on the shorter end and strokes cannot be dropped on these “easier” holes.
As this course is along the Gulf of Mexico and several holes running along the coast line, coastal winds will once again be a major factor. Winds can set the tone this week.
As for weather this week, there is a high chance for precipitation leading into the event. Thursday there is a 90-percent chance of rain and thunderstorms. There is also rain in the forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 60-percent on Friday and decreasing to 40-percent on Sunday. Humidity will be upwards of 93-percent on Thursday with highs in the low 80’s. Temperatures will flirt with the high 80’s to low 90’s throughout the rest of the tournament.
Important statistics to consider this week include Hit Fairway Percentage, Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP), Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%,) Putting Average, Birdie or Better Percentage and Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG:OTT.)
Unlike last week, this price range is loaded with big name golfers. Tony Finau ($10,400) is one of them and is using the week to make his season debut. Last season Finau finished ninth in the FedEx Cup. He did so behind placing fifth on Tour in greens in regulation percentage, 12th in SG: APP, 15th in both birdie or better percentage and SG: OTT and 62nd in putting average. The downfall to his game this week and his ultimate standing in our module is his 122nd finish in hit fairway percentage which we are taking a big look into for this week’s event. Finau has cemented himself as one of the best ball strikers on Tour and that will go a long way this week in Mexico. Also consider Collin Morikawa ($10,600.) Morikawa is an elite ball striker and is making his third appearance this season as well as playing at the Presidents Cup. Over the two scorable events, Morikawa is best on tour in hit fairway percentage. He’s also tenth in SG: APP, 15th in GIR% and 18th in SG: OTT. He’ll need to figure out his putting this week as he has been awful on the greens to start the season but we’re talking about a two time major winner and five time Tour winner. If anyone can figure it out, it’s Morikawa.
Leading off this price range is Tom Hoge ($9,500) who too is an elite ball striker. Hoge has been lights-out to start the season, playing in four events already and his worst finish being T13th at The CJ Cup. He also went T4th at the Shriners Hospital for Children’s Open, T9th at the Zozo Championship and T12 at the Fortinet Championship. Hoge is currently third on Tour in SG: APP, sixth in GIR%, 21st in birdie or better percentage, 31st in putting average, 51st in hit fairway percentage and 74th in SG: OTT. He’s actually one of two golfers in the field who are above average in each of the statistical categories we’re taking into consideration this week. Also consider Emiliano Grillo ($9,100.) The Argentinian veteran has played in five tournaments already this season with a fourth place finish at the Zozo Championship and a T5th at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He’s currently 17th on Tour in GIR%, 56th in SG: OTT, 61st in hit fairway percentage, 67th in birdie or better percentage and 73rd in SG: APP.
This is typically a price range I struggle to find value but the two options we have this week place rather high in our module. Brian Harman ($8,900) has played in two tournaments to start this season where he went T15th at the Shriners Children’s Open and T23rd at the CJ Cup. He’s currently 15th on tour in hit fairway percentage, 24th in GIR%, 33rd in SG: OTT, 35th in birdie or better percentage, 52nd in SG: APP and 103rd in putting average. Also consider K.H. Lee ($8,700.) Lee recently went third at the CJ Cup and has played in three tournaments thus far this season. He’s currently 13th on tour in GIR%, 14th in both hit fairway percentage and SG: APP, 27th in SG: OTT and 74th in birdie or better percentage.
Dean Burmester ($7,700) is actually the highest ranked golfer in my module this week. He’s currently seventh in birdie or better percentage, eighth in putting average, 15th in SG: OTT, 52nd in GIR% and 67th in hit fairway percentage. In the two tournaments Burmester played this far this season he went forth at the Sanderson Farms Championship and Shriners Children’s Open. Also consider Hayden Buckley ($7,500.) Buckley is typically a value pick that pops up in this series in the past but this week comes in third in our module. He’s currently seventh in SG: OTT, 39th in GIR%, 44th in birdie or better percentage, 57th in putting average, 60th in hit fairway percentage and 106th in SG: APP. Buckley has played in four tournaments this season. In the three most recent tournaments he’s played in he’s gone T5th at the Zozo Championship, T20th at the Shriners Children’s Open and T19th at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Leading the pack here in the value picks is Kevin Yu ($6,900.) Yu is fresh off a big week last week at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship where he placed T3rd. He also placed T19th at the Sanderson Farms Championship and T37th at the Shriners Children’s Open on the season. He’s currently 14th on tour in SG: OTT, 39th in GIR%, 41st in birdie or better percentage, 55th in SG: APP, 77th in putting average and 91st in hit fairway percentage. Like Hoge, Yu is just the second qualifying golfer to finish above average in each of the statistical categories we’re taken into consideration this week. Also consider Paul Haley II ($6,500.) In three tournaments he’s played this season he’s placed T12th at the Fortinet Championship and T54th at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He’s currently 54th in putting average, 65th in SG: APP, 71st in birdie or better percentage, 72nd in hit fairway percentage, 83rd in GIR% and 105th in SG: OTT.