This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Mexico Open at Vidanta
Course: Greg Norman Signature Course at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta (7,456 yards, par 71)
Winner: $1,314,000 and 500 FedExCup points
The Mexico Open has been given a revival beginning in 2022. For the first time it will be an official PGA Tour event, with the winner taking home 500 FedExCup points and receiving a two-year PGA Tour exemption and a spot in the 2023 Masters. The Mexico Open dates back to 1944 when it was held a Club de Golf Chapultepec, which recently hosted the WGC-Mexico Championship from 2017-2020. Over the last 20 years, the Mexico Open has bounced around different tours, the most recent of which being the PGA Tour Latinoamerica from 2013-2021. This is now the second official PGA Tour event being held in Mexico to go along with the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba in the fall portion on the schedule.
This will be the first competitive golf event of this magnitude held at Vidanta, which opened back in 2015. Unlike Chapultepec, Videnta is right at sea level, meaning the 7,456 yards on the card will play every bit of that number. This par 71 features five par-3s and four par-5s. Jon Rahm is the highest ranked player in the field this week and will be looking to get back in the winner's circle for the first time since the 2021 U.S. Open. Abraham Ancer leads the Mexican brigade hoping to claim victory in their country's national championship.
Highs for the week will be in the mid-80's with no real threat of precipitation. Winds are projected to be around 15 miles per hour for each of the tournament rounds, which will be the biggest defense of this exposed golf course. We saw a birdie barrage at last week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event and we should be able to expect quite a few birdies once again at Vidanta.
2021 – Alvaro Ortiz (Estrella del Mar)
2020 – None
2019 – Drew Nesbitt (Tijuana)
2018 – Austin Smotherman (Tijuana)
2017 – None
2016 – Sebastian Vazquez (Aguascalientes)
2015 – Justin Hueber (Aguascalientes)
2014 – Oscar David Alvarez (Chapultepec)
2013 – Ted Purdy (Club de Golf Mexico)
2012 – Lee Williams (Leon)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
- Birdie Average
- Driving Distance
As is the case most weeks on the PGA Tour, iron play should tell the story at Vidanta. The landing areas are pretty wide, which should allow players to take more chances off the tee. There are a total of 106 bunkers on this course, most of which heavily protect these greens. Combine that all that with the extra par-3 on this course and you can see why iron play will be so important this week. It's hard to trick up a resort course like this too much, so we should see a lot of birdies this week, even with some extra distance being added to the course. The greens will be set to run at a pretty standard 12 on the Stimpmeter. The putting surfaces are on the larger side and are not overly undulating. You're going to have to make quite a few putts of length to win more than likely, but new course generally seem to favor ball-strikers more. The biggest comps to Vidanta will be two other ocean-side courses we have seen in recent months at Puerto Rico and Punta Cana. The two other Greg Norman designed courses of El Camelon in Mayakoba and TPC San Antonio may also provide some insight on who will play well this week.
FanDuel Value Picks
Jon Rahm ($12,200)
Even at this price, it still feels like a bit of a bargain. Rahm to the second-best player in the field is as big of a gap as we have seen between the top two players in a field for some time. We know about the struggles with the putter, but these are greens where even the worst putters will be able to make a lot of putts. Rahm has put on a ball-striking clinic this season ranking first in SG: Off-the-Tee, 12th in SG: Approach, second in SG: Tee-to-Green, first in total driving and first in GIR percentage.
Tony Finau ($11,500)
Finau's struggles early in the season have been noted, but he is starting to get things back on track. He has now finished top-35 in four of his last five starts. Finau has dialed back the distance a bit this season to try to find more fairways, but that won't need to be much of a concern at Vidanta, where the landing zones are wide and the rough won't be much of a factor. Finau is top-40 this season on the PGA Tour in SG: Approach, GIR percentage and proximity to the hole.
Gary Woodland ($11,300)
Woodland has been in as good of form as anyone coming into this event, posting a trio of top-8 finishes over his last six starts. The wide fairways should be an advantage to this bomber, who has also found success on the Florida Swing on other flat courses. Woodland is now gaining strokes in every category and his approach play has been as good in recent weeks as it has ever been in his career.
Chris Kirk ($10,800)
Kirk has been the second best ball striker in the field, behind only Rahm. The 36-year-old ranks ninth in SG: Tee-to-Green. Kirk has scored five top-35 finishes in his last seven starts as well. Like Rahm, the putter has been the one weakness this season for Kirk, but the slower greens should work to his advantage.
Longer Shots with Value
Wyndham Clark ($9,400)
Clark is coming off a T10 finish at the Zurich Classic last week, marking his third top-35 finish in his last four starts. The Oregon product ranks third this season in driving distance, something I see as a big advantage at Vidanta. Clark will look to combine power and putting once again to a strong finish.
Chad Ramey ($9,300)
Ramey apparently loves these oceanside venues, having scored a T5 in Puerto Rico and a victory in Punta Cana. The best part of his game is his iron play, as he ranks top-30 on Tour in proximity to the hole. Ramey is also 20th in birdie average heading to an event where you are going to need a lot of them.
Nate Lashley ($9,200)
Prior to missing the cut at the RBC Heritage, Lashley had an impressive four start stretch that went T7-T27-T15-T18. Three of those tournaments took place at other oceanside courses in Puerto Rico and Punta Cana and another Greg Norma design in TPC San Antonio. Lashley's iron play has really improved over that stretch.
Brandon Wu ($8,700)
After a tremendous amount of struggles to open the season, Wu has finally found his groove going T3-T33-T28-T21 over his last four starts. That T3 came out another similar style course in Puerto Rico. Wu has ranked inside the top-27 in each of his last three individual events in terms of GIR percentage.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
Even though there aren't a lot of big names teeing it up this week, this is still a top-heavy field. There are a number of quality five figure options this week, but things go pretty dry once you start dipping below $8,500. The $9,000-$10,000 range is where your score will likely be made if you construct your lineups correctly. With all the variables of new course, weak field, timing of this week, if you can find a way to go six-for-six in golfers making the cut you have done extremely well.