The Confidence Factor: Mayakoba Golf Classic

This week and next and then it’s SIESTA TIME BAYBEE!

Well, not really.

I’ll publish my thoughts, in chunks, on the Web 50 from last year, the 125 plus everyone else that has some eligibility. It will include a fall wrap as well because why not?

Is it “late”? I don’t know. I bet it will be useful as we turn the page to 2019.

As always, my picks will be added later this afternoon, hopefully before TWITTER TV with Bolton.

Mayakoba Golf Classic

El Camaleon Golf Club at the Mayakoba Resort

Playa del Carmen, Mexico


El Camaleon Cheat Sheet

Yards (per official scorecard): 6,987
Par: 71 (36-35)
Greens: Sea Isle 1 Paspalum
Stimpmeter: 11.5′
Rough: Sea Isle 1 Paspalum
Bunkers/Water Hazards 36/Canals on multiple holes
Architects: Greg Norman (2006)
Purse: $7.2 million; $1.296 million, 500 FedExCup points (winner).
Defending Champion: Patton Kizzire (-19; 265)
Fact of the Week: Last four winners have been 30+
Fact of the Week II: Of the 11 winners, nine have placed all four rounds in the red.



  • 12th edition all played at El Camaleon
  • Became Par-71 in 2010
  • 132 players, 72 holes, top 70 and ties play the weekend.



2017-18 Winners

Looking back to look forward as you’ll notice no Spieth, Fowler, Scott, McIlroy, Matsuyama, Fleetwood, Finau, Stenson or Garcia.

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Mayakoba Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook**
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
Farmers Insurance Open Jason Day
WMPO Gary Woodland
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Ted Potter, Jr.
Genesis Open Bubba Watson
Honda Classic Justin Thomas
WGC-Mexico Championship Phil Mickelson
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
Arnold Palmer Invitational Rory McIlroy
WGC-Match Play Bubba Watson (2)
Corales Puntacana Resorts Brice Garnett*
Houston Open Ian Poulter
Masters Patrick Reed
RBC Heritage Satoshi Kodaira*
Valero Texas Open Andrew Landry*
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy
Wells Fargo Championship Jason Day (2)
THE PLAYERS Championship Webb Simpson
AT&T Byron Nelson Aaron Wise**
Fort Worth Invitational Justin Rose (2)
Memorial Bryson DeChambeau
FESJC Dustin Johnson (2)
U.S. Open Brooks Koepka
Travelers Championship Bubba Watson (3)
Quicken Loans National Francesco Molinari
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier Kevin Na
John Deere Classic Michael Kim*
The Open Championship Francesco Molinari (2)
RBC Canadian Open Dustin Johnson (3)
Barracuda Championship Andrew Putnam*
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Justin Thomas (3)
PGA Championship Brooks Koepka (2)
Wyndham Championship Brandt Snedeker
THE NORTHERN TRUST FEC I Bryson DeChambeau (2)
Dell Technologies FEC II Bryson DeChambeau (3)
BMW Championship FEC III Keegan Bradley
TOUR Championship Tiger Woods


The Confidence Factor is the weekly column I write for PGATOUR.COM. I’ve included the link here for you. Please read as I’m not going to write it all out here.


2018-19 Winners

Event Winner
Safeway Open Kevin Tway*
CIMB Classic Marc Leishman
WGC-HSBC Champions Brooks Koepka
Sanderson Farms Cameron Champ*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Bryson DeChambeau



Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record (Par-71): 263 (-21); Pat Perez (2017), Harris English (2013)
Course Record (Par-71): 62*; Harold Varner III (2016), Perez (2017) and Kizzire (2018)
Recent Defending Champion(s): 11 different champs in 11 previous events.
Multiple Winners (event or course): None.
First TOUR Win (last): Kizzire.
First-time Event: Johnson Wagner (2011), John Huh (2012) and Harris English (2013).
Oldest: Fred Funk, 50.
Youngest: John Huh, 21.
Low Round 2017: 62; Kizzire (Round 1).
Odd Fact: Charley Hoffman is the only defending champ to MC.


Quick Thoughts

This isn’t going to be much different than last week.

A shootout is on the cards as the short, resort course has never troubled the pros, even with poorly weather, over the years. With barely any rough, great Paspalum lies, big greens and an average Stimp, it’s hardly a wonder why birdies roll in the front door. As Bolton also pointed out, this is the easiest set of Par-3 holes, usually, on TOUR so that adds more fuel to the fire.

The reason veterans do well here is they know when to push the accelerator and tap the breaks. Some guys don’t believe mangroves, canals and jungles are hazards until it’s too late. Usually the younger guys who are stubborn are the ones that suffer.

While hitting fairways and GIR are NEVER frowned upon, the putter is going to have to work this week as par is as dead as fried chicken. Tyler Duncan led the field in fairways AND greens last year and cashed for T50. It doesn’t take a forensic scientist to figure out which club didn’t work. Of the 79 players that made the cut, one putted worse. Duncan shot 80 his last time out in Las Vegas for those of you thinking you had an “angle” here…

There’s a reason there are NOT multiple winners or defenders in events like this: easy courses open the door to everyone. The other reason is the lack of length and the easy Par-3 holes. The set up is enjoyable and scoring is to be had and who doesn’t want a piece of that?

Recent Event Winners:

Year (calendar) Player Notes
2017 Patton Kizzire (-19) Played 36 holes with Fowler on Sunday and beat him 1-up.
2016 Pat Perez (-21) Tied the tournament record; 62 in Round 3.
2015 Graeme McDowell (-18) Only International winner in 11 events.
2014 Charley Hoffman (-17) Noted wind player hasn’t made a cut here since.
2013 Harris English (-21) Set tournament record; made 1 cut from his next 4 here.



Some very familiar faces that I won’t have to go into great detail as they have played in the last few weeks!

Rickie Fowler: Went close last year in his first trip and will look to complete the deal this time around. Opened his season with T4 last week, his third straight top-10 payday, in Las Vegas as he closed with 63. He’ll need at least one of those again this week!

Gary Woodland: It’s now T12 or better in five straight events. I’m happy I cashed the solo second at the CJ Cup in OAD but he could easily go one better this week. He’s second in the early season in making birdies as he uses almost SIX circles per round! He’s the 36 and 54-hole record holder here.

Tony Finau: Like Fowler, it seems we’re waiting for the affable Utahan to WIN MOAR. He’s been close with top 10’s, including two seconds, in his last six worldwide. His only win was in breezy conditions on Paspalum in Puerto Rico and was T7 here in 2015.

Charles Howell III: He’s 40-under in his last three visits with a trend of T17, T6 and T4 finishes.

Emiliano Grillo: T14 or better in his last six worldwide suggests he’s in form. He’s carded eight rounds here and seven are in the 60’s (T10 and T9 last two years).

Si Woo Kim: Circled birdies on 13 of his last 36 holes in Vegas last week. One bad hole isn’t scaring me off. Only Aaron Wise is making more birdies per round this season. He’s 39-under thru three events with 11 of 12 rounds in the red. I don’t see the train slowing down this week.

Scott Piercy: Of his last eight rounds at Mayakoba, five have been 67 or better. He’s posted a round of 65 in his last three starts on TOUR and the last two have resulted in T5 and T10. Get hot, stay hot.

Aaron Wise: He’s averaging almost SEVEN birdies per round to lead the new season. SEVEN.

Abraham Ancer: Opened 65-68 two years ago and cashed T55. Closed 65-68 last year for T9. The last five months he’s picked up a top-10 finish, including a career-best T4 at TPC Potomac and TPC Summerlin. He was 20-under (T5) at CIMB and 17-under last week so he won’t have to change anything except the expectations in his native country.

Kevin Streelman: Did his job last week keeping it perfect in Vegas but never cracked off a low one. This is another track where he doesn’t miss (5/5) and is 33-under the last three tries.

Sungjae Im: Rolls into town after closing 65-69-65 at TPC Summerlin (T15). He’ll need to avoid that one bad round this week.

Sam Ryder: Back-to-back top-10 finishes last summer secured his card for this year. T4 and solo third in three events in the new season may have done the same for next year. Closed with 62 last week.

Denny McCarthy: He’s 26-under his last two TOUR events (T7, T15) and that’s with two rounds of 71. His best finish last season was solo fourth on the paspalum of Corrales Punta Cana.

J.B. Holmes: Hard to ignore T9, T13 and T23 in his last three. McDowell and Kizzire also won on their second excursions. Holmes MC here in 2007, a lifetime ago.

Harold Varner III: Almost forgot he was the first player to post 62 and NOT win (T4, 2016). The other three have. A pair of top-15 starts in his first three events gets him a top-15 placement this week.



Beau Hossler: I’ll keep banging my head against this wall until it falls over. He was fourth in Strokes-Gained: Putting last season and was in the top 50 in birdie average.

Chez Reavie: He’s 5-5 here and his last two are the best of the bunch, T4 and T17 last year.

Zach Johnson: Form is temporary; class is permanent. Closed with 64 last year in his first visit but has been quiet lately.

J.J. Spaun: Hasn’t MC in four tries in the new season and is 12 from his last 13 stretching back to last year. Rolls in on the back of T10 (CJ CUP) and T15 last week.

C.T. Pan: Checks in 13th (fairways) and T6 GIR from last year so it’s hardly a wonder that he’s only MC once since May in 13 events.

Kevin Chappell: Won’t be bothered by a bit of breeze. Two tournaments this year has seen him close with 65 both times so something is brewing.

Cameron Champ: Didn’t eject last week after his first win but I’m interested to see how the MAD BOMBER gets it around a tight driving layout.

Patrick Rodgers: Ran out with the 36-hole leaders last year before running out of gas. Nothing worse than 71 in 12 rounds in the new season.

Brian Gay: Played eight, cashed eight and won once. Not hard.


Deep-Sea Diving

Brice Garnett: A pair of top-10 checks here way back when and won on paspalum at Corrales last March.

Seamus Power: Played in the penultimate group in 2016 and posted the worst round of the day. Top five at Corrales on paspalum last March provides a clue.

Joel Dahmen: Hasn’t missed in four tries this season and was T23 last year with four rounds of 70 or better. Always room for guys like this!

Oscar Fraustro: His last four here are T25, T13, MC and T9. Solid.

Shawn Stefani: Another gem for course historians T20, MC, T25 and second in four tries.

Carlos Ortiz: Remember when he won three times on the Remember when he followed that up with one top 25 in 29 events on TOUR? His T3 at SFC will probably influence a few.

Cameron Davis: I was surprised he didn’t win last week in Las Vegas after MC for me in OAD at SFC. Pair of top 30’s in his other two starts encourages as he returns to the course where he played his first TOUR event (T15).

Anirban Lahiri: Won on paspalum at the “old” TPC Kuala Lumpur on the European Tour but his recent form suggest blind long shot.

Brandon Harkins: Kicking myself for leaving him out last week. I’m not making that mistake again. Sat one off the lead after 36 last year and banged a T10 with a closing 64 last week.

Vaughn Taylor: Never missed here in five tries but nothing spectacular either.

Corey Conners: Second to Champ at SFC but had to Monday qualify this week. In the middle is probably the answer.


Shark Bit

Charley Hoffman: Plenty of folks will see he’s won here before and note he’s a very solid wind player. That’s all accurate. He’s also 0-for his last three after that victory. When in doubt, I’m out.

Jordan Spieth: I bet he had you worried last week after 36 holes! I know I was! Sadly, he didn’t break par on the weekend on a course where 21-under was the winning score and limped in T55. It’s just not happening for him right now as he’s got LIFE STUFF going on (marriage, bachelor party, etc.).

Kevin Kisner: Last year he began his season on Sea Island and grabbed T4 for his troubles. We know this is a soft landing spot but he didn’t close last year flush with big finishes. I’ll wait for next week to unleash the Sea Island Mafia.

Brian Harman: Last time we saw him in Shanghai he closed 81-78. In eight rounds in Asia six were 73 or worse. Gaaaah!

Pat Perez: All the stars aligned a couple of years ago and I haven’t seen the same consistency recently. A measured approach if not at all.


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me





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