The first World Golf Championship of the year gets underway this week with 72 players competing in the limited elite field in Mexico.
Club de Golf Chapultepec hosts the Mexico Championship for the fourth year in succession and the undulating tree-lined course in many ways plays more like a European track than the ones typically used on the PGA Tour.
The 7,345-yard par 71, which has a number of risk reward holes with drivable par fours, is played at altitude with the ball travelling around 10 per cent further than courses at sea level. An ability to putt confidently on the greens which are a mixture of bentgrass and Poa annua, similar to last week at Riviera, is an advantage.
Rory McIlroy To Win
Rory McIlroy is 6/1 favourite and the world number one merits plenty of respect. McIlroy looks bound to contend, having finished inside the top seven on his two starts at the tournament, but his disappointing final round at the Genesis Invitational may linger and lead to a slow start in Mexico.
Dustin Johnson – Each Way
Dustin Johnson is the undisputed king of Mexico and the defending champion is backed to hold onto the trophy this weekend. Johnson has an outstanding record at this course with two wins from three starts.
The American won the inaugural event at Chapultepec in 2017 and produced a strong defence, finishing tied seventh 12 months later. Johnson was in a class of his own last year as he dominated the tournament to win by five shots. Breaking par every time he has teed up here, Johnson is 47-under-par for 12 rounds at the course.
Johnson has a stellar record in the WGC events with six victories from his last 23 starts at this level. The 20-time PGA champion is a prolific winner and he has looked close to claiming another title since returning to fitness, following knee surgery, at the end of last year.
The 35-year-old was seventh at the Tournament of Champions, runner-up in the Saudi International and tenth in LA last week. Significantly, Johnson led the field for putting at Riviera and his confidence on the greens should give him a huge chance of a third win in Mexico at 7/1.
Tommy Fleetwood – Each Way
Tommy Fleetwood burst on to the global stage with his performance in Mexico three years ago and he can claim the biggest title of his career this week.
Fleetwood surged through the field, as a rank outsider, with back-to-back weekend rounds of 66 to finish second behind Johnson in 2017. The English golfer enjoys the strategic challenge of Chapultepec, with its European style, having finished inside the top 20 during the last two years.
Fleetwood tees up this week in excellent form and will have his sights set on contending for his first WGC title. The world number 11 ended last year superbly with a win at altitude in the Nedbank Challenge before taking second place at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The 29-year-old has carried this momentum into 2020, with a tie for second in Abu Dhabi followed by 11th place at the Dubai Desert Classic. Fleetwood, who is ranked third for strokes gained tee to green on the European Tour, has the confidence and long game control to threaten victory at 20/1 each way.
Brandt Snedeker – Each Way
Brandt Snedeker caught the eye on his sole appearance at Chapultepec three years ago and the American looks a tempting selection at appealing odds.
Snedeker recovered from an opening round of 75 to climb into a tie for seventh. His final three rounds were hugely impressive, shooting a combined 14-under-par to race up the leaderboard. It is his best performance in a WGC event and Snedeker will be relishing the chance to compete here for the second time.
Snedeker has nine victories on the PGA Tour and is a proven performer on Poa annua greens. His pop stroke is ideal for the bumpy surfaces as his combined total of four wins at Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach highlight.
The 39-year-old started this year with 12th place at the Sony Open before contending at the Farmers Insurance Open as he finished third. Ranked tenth for strokes gained around the green and 22nd for putting, Snedeker’s renowned short game can help spearhead a strong challenge in Mexico at 66/1.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout – Each Way
Christiaan Bezuidenhout comes into this week following a win on Sunday and the rising star can threaten an upset at a big price.
The South African produced an outstanding performance, leading from wire to wire, to win the Dimension Data Pro-Am. An eagle at his final hole clinched the win with a total of 25-under-par. The result took Bezuidenhout inside the top 50 of the world rankings for the first time and his reputation continues to grow.
Bezuidenhout’s breakthrough European Tour title last year came at Valderrama, a classic tree-lined course which shares some similarities with this week’s test. The 25-year-old underlined his comfort level on parkland tracks by finishing third at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Bezuidenhout almost started this year with a win at the Dubai Desert Classic, losing in a play-off to Lucas Herbert. With his confidence soaring following a low-scoring win in South Africa, Bezuidenhout is backed to contend at 100/1 each way at Chapultepec.