Best bets for the PGA Tour World Wide Technology Championship

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World Wide Technology Championship

After a week off, the PGA Tour returns to Mexico for the World Wide Technology Championship but this time at a new venue, El Cardonal Golf Club at Diamante in Cabo San Lucas. The tour and El Camaleon at Mayakoba parted ways with that course now being part of the LIV Golf schedule. It was no surprise because that course was designed by LIV CEO Greg Norman. El Cardonal is also a significant change as it was the first course designed by Tiger Woods in 2014.

 

Twenty-four of the Top 100 in the OWGR (just five of the top 50) are in this week’s field as players have only a few events left to get into the OWGR Top 50 to earn Masters invitations. One of those players is Ludvig Aberg (9-1), who is already a DP World Tour winner and was a runner-up in the Sanderson Farms playoff a few weeks ago.

Cameron Young (12-1) is the highest-ranked player in this field at No. 17 in the OWGR and he has six runner-up finishes (seven worldwide) on the PGA Tour but still has yet to capture his first tour victory. Sahith Theegala (16-1) got the winless monkey off his back in September at the Fortinet Championship.

Lucas Glover (25-1), at 43, had one of the best years of his career with wins in consecutive weeks at the Wyndham and the FedEx St. Jude.

Stephan Jaeger (28-1) is the model of consistency as he always seems to earn a paycheck, making 22 of 24 cuts on tour this year, but has only one top-10 this season.

At 30-1 are Beau Hossler, who just earned his best tour finish in five years with a runner-up at the ZOZO Championship (three career PGA Tour runner-ups), and Emiliano Grillo, a winner earlier this year at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

The Event

The World Wide Technology Championship debuted as the Mayakoba Golf Classic in February 2007 as an alternate event that was held opposite the WGC Match Play. In 2013, the event was moved to November as part of the PGA Tour’s Fall Series. With that move, the tournament became designated as a "full event" meaning that full FedEx Cup points would be allocated along with a Masters invitation for the winner and over a 60% increase in the tournament purse. The current $8.2 million purse is nearly 2.5 times greater than the inaugural event. In 2021, St. Louis-based technology services provider World Wide Technology, named as one of the 100 Most Influential Companies by Time Magazine, signed on as the title sponsor of the tournament through 2027.

The Course

El Cardonal at Diamante, which opened in 2014, is the initial foray into golf course design for Tiger Woods. It is located in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at the Diamante Cabo San Lucas Resort located at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula in the state of Baja California Sur. It is a par-72 of 7,452 yards.

Despite having panoramic views of the sea, the course is set in desert terrain featuring cacti, palo verde trees, scrubby desert flora and encroaching desert arroyos. Those arroyos also effectively form the hazards off the fairway. There is zero rough, and errant tee shots in many cases will find a sandy or rocky location. Fairways are generous at 60 yards wide (widest on tour) in landing areas with only the Plantation Course at Kapalua featuring such wide landing areas. There are few forced carries with arroyos flanking holes rather than cutting across them in the main.

That link to Kapalua also holds further water as the El Cardonal layout is set on land that drops 240 feet along the mile-long stretch from the 17th tee to the third fairway. The undulations and this terrain will prove demanding for both players and caddies. Flat holes are few and far between with ascending (par-5 14th climbs the most at 80 feet) and descending (par-5 sixth falls the most at 70 feet) holes.

Greens (rolling at 11-12 ft on the stimpmeter) are huge at 8,300 square feet and are the second-largest on the PGA Tour. The course is Platinum Paspalum from tee to green.

Every hole basically has an open front for player to run the ball up onto the green.

Unlike El Camaleon, which was an extremely narrow golf course framed by thick mangroves that emphasized accuracy off the tee and wedge play, El Cardonal has massively wide fairways. It is more similar to Vidanta Vallarta, which hosts the Mexico Open in the spring. Both courses have wide fairways and feature Paspalum from tee through green. It can be exposed to wind, but early forecasts call for mostly calm conditions.

Recent History/Winners

2022: Russell Henley (-23/261); 55-1

2021: Viktor Hovland (-23/261); 18-1

2020: Viktor Hovland (-20/264); 22-1

2019: Brendon Todd (-20/264); 110-1

2018: Matt Kuchar (-22/262); 60-1

2017: Patton Kizzire (-19/265); 70-1

2016: Pat Perez (-21/263); 125-1

2015: Graeme McDowell (-18/266); 33-1 *

2014: Charley Hoffman (-17/267); 60-1

2013: Harris English (-21/263); 25-1

2012: John Huh (-13/271); 35-1**

2011: Johnson Wagner (-17/267); 150-1*

2010: Cameron Beckman (-15/269); 100-1

Playoff win over Jason Bohn and Russell Knox – *

Playoff win over Robert Allenby – **

Playoff win over Spencer Levin – ***

NOTE: All of the above events were played at El Camaleon at Mayakoba.

Statistical Analysis

El Cardonal, with its wide fairways, looks like bombs away off the tee with few repercussions.

Driving Distance Gained (Last 50 rounds)