PGA Picks: World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship Odds
Aussie Adam Scott won for the second time in his career at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, taking the Genesis Invitational at 11-under 273. Only it wasn't his second win there. Officially anyways. He also won the tournament in 2005, but it technically wasn't official because it was rain-shortened to 36 holes. Pretty sure the check still cashed, though.
Scott, Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar were all at 10 under entering this past Sunday, and Scott was the only one of the trio to shoot even par or better. He put up a 70, while Kuchar shot 72 and McIlroy a 73. It was the 14th PGA Tour win of Scott's career (15 if you choose to count 2005).
Arguably the bigger news was Tiger Woods shooting 76-77 on the weekend to finish last among the 68 players who made the cut. It was the first time Woods finished solo last since the Memorial in 2015. He has never won at Riviera and probably would skip the tournament going forward if his foundation didn't run it. My winning pick was Kevin Na, and he missed the cut. Did get Top 10s for Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.
Woods said after he was "rundown" and that's why he's not playing this week at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship even though he would have been guaranteed a check. Probably won't see Tiger again until the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando in three weeks. Woods has won at Bay Hill eight times. Tiger isn't the only top player taking a pass this week as Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Patrick Cantlay, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Jason Day are too.
Let's do a quick segue about Greg Norman before looking at the WGC-Mexico Championship. In the early 1990s, Norman was the face of the sport and he attempted to create a World Golf Tour for the biggest stars. Norman wanted smaller fields, fewer events and bigger purses and even had negotiated a TV deal with Fox's Rupert Murdoch.
It didn't work, but partly out of Norman's idea the four World Golf Championship events were created in an effort to lure the best of the best in the world to play in the same tournament outside of the four major championships. This is back in the news because of the proposed Premier Golf League that would be an 18-event, 48-player circuit with a purse of around $10 million per tournament.
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Needless to say, that would destroy both the PGA Tour and European Tour as we know it - outside of the four majors. Frankly, I don't see it working because golf is all about Tiger in terms of popularity and TV ratings, and Tiger is nearing the twilight of his career. The sport as a whole is in trouble when he's done.
The World Golf Championships events have been pretty successful, but they still simply don't bring a lot of worldwide buzz. Like the majors, any money won is official on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. The PGA Tour has an opposite-field event this week (Puerto Rico) but the European doesn't.
The WGC-Mexico Championship began in 1999 as the WGC-American Express Championship and was played in Spain the first two years. It took on this name and moved to Mexico starting in 2017; it had been the WGC-Cadillac Championship held at Doral in Miami from 2011-16, but that tournament lost Cadillac as its sponsor and, frankly, some Tour officials weren't comfortable playing at a course owned by Donald Trump.
It's a typical 72-hole stroke event but no cut because the field is limited to a maximum of 72 via a few qualifications, the main one being in the Top 50 of the world rankings. The ball is going to travel extremely well in altitude in Mexico City, and the Club de Golf Chapultepec measures 7,345 yards and plays to a par 71. The worst winning score in the previous three events here was 14-under. If there's a playoff, it's sudden death.
Golf Odds: WGC-Mexico Championship Favorites
McIlroy is the +600 favorite this week. He was runner-up to Johnson by five shots last year and seventh in his other visit to Mexico in 2017. He has been Top 10 in both PGA Tour starts this year. McIlroy is looking to complete the "WGC Slam." He won the WGC-HSBC Champions in November.
DJ is +700 as he looks to win this event a fourth time. He has twice in the three years it has been held in Mexico and also in 2015 at Doral. DJ already has accomplished the "WGC Slam."
Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas are each +1000 with Webb Simpson +1600 and Scott +1800 to win back-to-back weeks. Scott won this event in 2016 at Doral. Rahm has a best of third in Mexico. Thomas has been Top 10 all three trips. Simpson's best result here is 37th.
Golf Odds: WGC-Mexico Championship Picks
Going to keep riding Rory (-175) for Top 10s, and DJ (-150) is a Horse for the Course here so him too. England's Tommy Fleetwood is the pick to win at +2200. He was runner-up here in 2017 and has been T2 and T11 in two European Tour events this year.