There are only two official events left on the PGA Tour schedule this calendar year before the months flip and we’re right back where we start every year: in Hawaii for the Tournament of Champions. Following a rare bye week for this tour, it returns to the Mayakoba Golf Classic, site of great drama and controversy this time one year ago.
Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.
What: Mayakoba Golf Classic | When: Nov. 14-17
Where: El Camaleon Golf Club — Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Ranking the field (odds)
- Viktor Hovland (18-1): I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think he’s the best player in the field.
- Tony Finau (18-1): At some point he’s going to win his second, right?
- Billy Horschel (22-1): Top 10 in two of his last four. Sneaking back into the top 30 in the world.
- Matt Kuchar (16-1): Too much going on this week to overcome it and win two in a row.
- Emiliano Grillo (33-1): Top 10 in strokes gained tee to green, one of the most underrated in the world.
- Joaquin Niemann (22-1): An absolute menace, but no top 10s since winning Greenbrier.
- Lanto Griffin (40-1): Top 20 in each of his last five events!
- Kevin Kisner (33-1): Quietly starting to build his case for a 2020 Ryder Cup bid.
- Jason Day (18-1): Still gets odds like the talent exists (and it does), but he hasn’t showed up of late.
- Denny McCarthy (40-1): Top 20s in each of his last four events.
Field strength — C: It’s not great, but it’s also never that great. Finau is a nice boost, but this event is missing some star power from Rickie Fowler (see below).
Three things to know
1. Matt Kuchar’s return: It sounds like all has been forgiven in David Giral Ortiz’s (known as El Tucan) world after the months-long fiasco over a tiny tip from Kuchar after last year’s win (Kuchar originally gave El Tucan just $5,000). However, there will be endless chatter about it, and Kuchar will have to field question after question throughout the week. I don’t know that I’m looking forward to this, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on throughout the week.
2. No Rickie Fowler: Normally a staple at this event, Fowlerand won’t play. He would be the second-highest ranked player in the field (behind Finau) and one of just three ranked in the top 25. That’s a bummer for those of us watching but an even bigger bummer for the event and those in attendance.
3. Chris Kirk’s return: This re-emergence is a much more heart-warming one as Kirk will play for the first time since the RBC Heritage in April. He’s been out since then battling alcoholism. He’s been a great player in the past and seems hopeful for the future, both on and off the course.
- 2018: Matt Kuchar
- 2017: Patton Kizzire
- 2016: Pat Perez
- 2015: Graeme McDowell
- 2014: Charley Hoffman
Mayakoba Golf Classic picks
Winner: Viktor Hovland (18-1) — Cool to go with one of the favorites, I know, but he’s been awesome of late. And like I said off the top, I think he’s the best player in this field.
Top 10: Emiliano Grillo (+300) — Not talked about enough, and he’s the all-time strokes gained leader on this course.
Sleeper: Si Woo Kim (80-1) — He’s been terrific on this course, and I’m always buying Si Woo stock at higher than 75-1.