Mayakoba Golf Classic preview, odds, and course notes
The final PGA tournament of the calendar year will attract a first-class field for the 14th annual Mayakoba Golf Classic, set in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
World No. 3 Justin Thomas (+600) and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka (+1100) headline the event at El Camaleón Golf Club, a par-71, 7,071-yard coastal course. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson was also slated to compete but withdrew last weekend so he can rest after his Masters win.
Thomas and Koepka will join a field of 132 golfers, including Harris English (+1400), who won Mayakoba in 2013, and rising stars Abraham Ancer (+1600), Daniel Berger (+1800), and Will Zalatoris (+3000).
Mayakoba Classic 2020 - Winner
Thu, December 3 2020, 12:10 PM
Brendon Todd, a +4500 longshot, will aim to defend his title and become the first repeat winner in the tournament’s history.
Other past winners competing this weekend include Patton Kizzire (+6000), Pat Perez (+10000), Charley Hoffman (+10000), John Huh (+10000), Graeme McDowell (+12500), and Johnson Wagner (+50000).
Course notes and relevant statistics
The past three champions — Todd, Matt Kuchar, and Kizzire — all ranked in the top 10 in greens in regulation, while each one ranked first in par-4 scoring at the event.
El Camaleón includes 11 par 4s, ranging from 360 to 485 yards, three par 5s around 540 yards, and four par 3s, from 116 to 200 yards.
The Greg Norman design features three unique landscapes — tropical jungle, dense mangroves, and oceanfront stretches — and the paspalum green complexes are some of the easiest on Tour.
The past seven winners shot an average score around 20-under. Kuchar set the course record at 22-under in 2018, and eight of the last 13 tournaments have been decided by one stroke or a playoff.
Fairways gained, strokes gained approaching the green, scrambling ability, and strokes gained on paspalum are all key statistics to factor when backing a winner.
The Puerto Rico Open and Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship are two other PGA Tour events played on paspalum. Viktor Hovland, a +2000 contender, won the Puerto Rico Open in February, while Adam Long (+5500) landed fifth at Corales in September, and finished second at last year’s Mayakoba Classic.
Players who fit the statistical model
One player who should see his name high on the leaderboard is Russell Henley (+2200). The 31-year-old from Hawaii has made the cut in all five of his appearances on Tour this season and scored a top-five finish at the CJ Cup and Zozo Championship.
Henley is second on Tour in par 4 scoring, sixth in scrambling, ninth in strokes gained approaching the green, and 10th in greens in regulation.
Along with Henley, Carlos Ortiz (+3500) is another prime contender based on relevant course statistics. The 29-year-old from Guadalajara also finished second at Mayakoba last year and comes into the tournament hot off a win at the Houston Open in mid-November.
How to watch the Mayakoba Classic
The winner of the Mayakoba Classic will receive $1.296 million of a $7.2 million purse and 500 FedExCup points.
You can catch all the action Thursday through Saturday, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET on NBC. Live streaming is available on Golfchannel.com/watch and PGA Tour Live.