For starters, don't throw away your hard work from The McGladrey Classic, as you don't have to look any further down Briny Baird on that leaderboard to find a guy with plenty of success in Mexico. Same can be said for Brian Gay, Kevin Stadler, Daniel Summerhays, and the list goes on.
There is also a very strong correlation between success at the Sony Open and the RBC Heritage when it comes to Mayakoba mainstays.
El Camaleon is a 6,987 par 71 layout, meaning it is extremely short. To see a course play under 7,000 yards to a par of anything other than 70 is a dying breed to say the least. There are three par 5s, and the full bevy of par 3s. The longest par 3 is only 200 yards, and 554 yards is the longest of the three par 5s.
The relative "Par" has moved from 70 to 71 on this course since the first edition in 2007, but the type of winner and runner-up has not. Here's how they break down:
- 2007 - Winner: Fred Funk; Runner-up: Jose Coceres
- 2008 - Winner: Brian Gay; Runner-up: Steve Marino
- 2009 - Winner: Mark Wilson; Runner-up: J.J. Henry
- 2010 - Winner: Cameron Beckman; Runner-up: Joe Durant and Brian Stuard
- 2011 - Winner: Johnson Wagner; Runner-up: Spencer Levin
- 2012 - Winner: John Huh; Runner-up: Robert Allenby
If you follow golf in any depth, the above list SCREAMS short and straight. Some of the guys on the list above are excellent putters, but some are far from it. Driving accuracy and GIR are key.
Just for fun, I looked at the best finishes for the six winners at both Harbour Town (RBC Heritage) and Waialae CC (Sony Open). Here's what I found.
- Fred Funk - T5 at 2001 Sony Open; 6th at 2004 RBC Heritage
- Brian Gay - T5 at 2009 Sony Open; Winner of 2009 RBC Heritage
- Mark Wilson - Winner of 2011 Sony Open; T9 in 2013 RBC Heritage
- Cameron Beckman - T15 at 2003 Sony Open; T19 at 2002 RBC Heritage
- Johnson Wagner - Winner of 2012 Sony Open; T18 at 2013 RBC Heritage
- John Huh - T31 at 2013 Sony Open; MC in '12 RBC Heritage (only start)
Due to the fact the John Huh has only played the Sony Open twice, the RBC Heritage once and Mayakoba once, I'm OK tossing him out of the equation in terms of finishes in the Sony Open and RBC Heritage. What we do know to be true about Huh, is that he is an exceptionally accurate player, so that still fits.
Cameron Beckman is the other borderline outlier, but he also isn't in the same class as Funk, Gay, Wilson and Wagner.
If you are looking at a guy without any history at Mayakoba, but solid history at the other two tracks, consider that almost equal to solid history at Mayakoba. Same goes for a PGA TOUR sophomore. Take a look at Sony and RBC if they played them for a hint on form.
One other thing...the weather. I saw a tweet from a PGA TOUR meteorologist today mentioning that there has been a bunch of rain last week and more is expected this coming week. When I looked at the 10-day forecast, there is an 80% chance of rain on Thursday, 100% on Friday and Saturday and 70% on Sunday.
That is to say, all of the past research may not be worth a ton if the weather completely washes out or changes the landscape of the tournament.
Also worth mentioning, this is the first time this tournament hasn't been played in February.
We will return tomorrow with a power ranking. In the mean time, go ahead and start doing a rain dance so we can try and get at least 54 holes in!