Fantasy Golf: OHL Mayakoba Preview


The Tin Anniversary of the OHL Classic Mayakoba  at El Camaleon sees the Tour visit country No. 4 in the last six weeks.

That’s right. Starting in 2013, the OHL Classic has been played in November!


With the new season underway, I will keep these historical numbers up until Thanksgiving so we can look back to forecast ahead.

2016-17 Winners (at time of victory)

Brendan Steele (Safeway), 33
Justin Thomas (CIMB), 23
Hideki Matsuyama (WGC-HSBC), 24
Cody Gribble (SFC), 26*
Rod Pampling (Shriners), 47

*Rookie, first-time winner

2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)


In 2014-15 there were 14 players in their 20’s who won tournaments. They accounted for a whopping 24 victories in 47 events.

In 2015-16, there were 13 players who accounted for 19 victories over 47 events.

Under-30 Winners

multiple winners in bold

Emiliano Grillo, 23;
Smylie Kaufman, 23; Shriners
Justin Thomas, 22; CIMB
Peter Malnati, 28; SFC
Jordan Spieth, 22; HTOC, DEAN & DELUCA at Colonial
Hideki Matsuyama, 23; WMPO
Jason Day, 28; API, WGC-Dell Match Play, THE PLAYERS
Danny Willett, 28; Masters
Branden Grace, 27; RBC Heritage
Daniel Berger, 23; FESJC
Si Woo Kim, 21; Wyndham
Patrick Reed, 26; Barclays
Rory McIlroy, 27; DBC, The TOUR Championship

Prime-Time Players

The guys between 30-39 years of age produced 16 multiple champions in 17 events in 2014-15.

Last year, 22 players accounted for 26 wins in this category.

Winners, 30-39

Russell Knox, 31; HSBC Champions, Travelers
Graeme McDowell, 36; OHL Mayakoba
Kevin Kisner, 31; RSM Classic
Fabian Gomez, 37; Sony Open
Jason Dufner, 38; CB Challenge
Brandt Snedeker, 35; Farmers Insurance Open
Vaughn Taylor, 39; AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Bubba Watson, 37; Northern Trust Open
Adam Scott, 35; Honda Classic, WGC-Cadillac Championship
Charl Schwartzel, 31; Valspar
Jim Herman, 38; Shell Houston Open
Charley Hoffman, 39; Valero Texas Open
Brian Stuard, 33; Zurich Classic
James Hahn, 34; Wells Fargo Championship
Sergio Garcia, 36; AT&T Byron Nelson
William McGirt, 36; Memorial
Dustin Johnson, 31; U.S. Open, WGC-BI, BMW
Billy Hurley, III, 34; Quicken Loans National
Aaron Baddeley, 35; Barbasol Championship
Jhonattan Vegas, 31; RBC Canadian Open
Jimmy Walker, 37; PGA Championship
Ryan Moore, 33; John Deere Classic

Old Guard

There were only four winners in 2014-15 from 47 events (Jim Furyk, Alex Cejka, Davis Love III and Padraig Harrington).

Winners, 40-plus

Greg Chalmers, 42; Barracuda Championship
Henrik Stenson, 40; The Open Championship

This is a stark reminder that the “name” doesn’t automatically translate in fantasy golf.

No wins from top 100 OWGR players Mickelson, Furyk, Westwood, Stricker or Kelly.


In 2014-15 the only rookie to pick up a first-place check was Canadian Nick Taylor.

In 2015-16, that number doubled after the first two events of the season yet didn’t add one until the final regular season event, the Wyndham Championship, when reclassified rookie Si Woo Kim won.

Emiliano Grillo;
Smylie Kaufman; Shriners
Si Woo Kim; Wyndham

Rookies in the FEC

In 2015-16, six players made the leap.

Smylie Kaufman
Emiliano Grillo*
Patton Kizzire
Harold Varner, III
Brett Stegmaier
Michael Kim

*Only Grillo advanced to East Lake

Remember, 2014 was the only year a rookie has NOT found a spot in The Tour Championship.

My thought on rookies is quite simple. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Grillo had won on multiple Tours around the world and has done his time. That could be a clue in finding diamonds in the rough to begin the new season.

First-Time Winners

Rookies, journeymen, up-and-comers, I’ll keep track of them all. It’s a life-changer.

2013: 12
2014: 10
2015: 11
2016: 16

Emiliano Grillo (
Smylie Kaufman (Shriners)
Justin Thomas (CIMB)
Peter Malnati (SFC)
Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions)
Kevin Kisner (RSM)
Tony Finau (PRO)
Jim Herman (SHO)
Danny Willett (Masters)
Branden Grace (RBC Heritage)
Brian Stuard (Zurich Classic)
William McGirt (Memorial)
Daniel Berger (FESJC)
Billy Hurley, III (QLN)
Greg Chalmers (Barracuda) in his 386th event!
Si Woo Kim (Wyndham)

Interesting to note that almost one third of the events last season were won by first-timers. The history above points out that this is NOT a normal occurrence but should not be dismissed. With the help of technology, trainers, analysts, psychologists and the rest, there have never been so many with so much.


This Week — El Camaleon

Greg Norman was a fantastic ball-striker so it’s not surprising that his biggest challenge this week for the pros will be working the golf ball from tee-to-green. Jungles, mangroves, ocean breezes and increased rough will challenge those who can’t keep their focus but most of today’s pros are fearless and used to a challenge. With the winning score averaging 18.5 the last three years, keeping the big numbers off the card will be priority No. 1. Glancing at the winners below in my preview column also suggests the experienced, patient player has had the most success here rather than the young, aggressive bomber.

Top Finishers  from 2015

1 Graeme McDowell
T2 Jason Bohn
T2 Russell Knox
4 Derek Fathauer
T5 Scott Brown
T5 Harold Varner, III
T8 Keegan Bradley
T8 Johnson Wagner
T10 Peter Malnati
T10 Boo Weekley
T10 Patrick Rodgers
T10 Zac Blair
T10 Spencer Levin
T10 Jon Rahm
T17 Charles Howell III
T17 Jim Herman
T17 Si Woo Kim
T17 Jason Kokrak
T25 Shawn Stefani


ONE field will make this section relevant again! I always find some guys that could be or could not be in the preview so when space is tight, I’ll throw them in here for those of you who take the time.

Aaron Wise: T-10 last week saw him auto-qualify for this week. Hot is hot and this track shouldn’t put him off as it will also require scoring like last week.

Troy Merritt: Stays on the list again this week after T-48 last week after T-11 and T-15.

Patrick Rodgers: He’s gone from The Chalk to the Cookies as his inconsistent play is killing gamers who can’t time him. His talent is there and you might want to just stick him away in salary cap leagues to make it easier on your sanity!


Trey Mullinax: Fired 65 at SFC. Fired 66 last week. Made all three cuts this year.

Fabian Gomez: He’s made six weekends in a row and half of them are inside the top 30.

Webb Simpson: Best finish in eight events with T-31 in Las Vegas last week doesn’t raise any eyebrows but leaving his comfort zone to play Mayakoba for the first time is interesting. Simpson’s problem is rarely finding fairways and greens and with true, slow-ish Paspalum, this might be what the doctor orders. He’s also finished in the top 30 in scoring the last two years with that wonky putter.

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