WW TECHNOLOGY CHAMPIONSHIP: The PGA Tour’s Fall Series returns to Mexico this week for the World Wide Technology Championship, an event that gets a fresh makeover this year after being held at El Camaleon Golf Club, crown jewel of the majestic Mayakoba resort, since 2007.

Mayakoba is effectively being punished for allowing the LIV Tour to host an event there in February, back when the PGA Tour was a rival of LIV and not one of its subsidiaries. It will be interesting to see how the relationship develops in the coming years and whether there will be a return to El Camaleon, but in the meantime it’s always fun to see a new course, especially when it’s one of the few that’s been designed by the greatest player of our generation, the one and only Tiger Woods. Tiger has formed a partnership with the Diamante Cabo San Lucas resort and has built two courses on the grounds already, with a third set to open in the coming year. One of the courses, El Cardonal, is the site of this week’s event, and though it has been open since 2014, this will in many ways be its introduction to the golf world.

El Cardonal is a par-72 that measures 7,452 yards from all the way back, though it’s apparently been firm and fast this week, so we can expect it to play shorter than the listed yardage. Based on the online flyover, the course appears to be relatively flat and wind-exposed, with heavy bunkering and waste areas lining most of the holes. Water comes into play on just one hole and the rough isn’t particularly thick, meaning the bunkering, mounding, and unique green complexes will constitute the bulk of the challenge. You know what that means: birdies and low scores galore. This is a resort course that was built with resort guests in mind. Put a bunch of Tour players out there and it’s a race to 25-under, which is exactly what I expect to see this week.

The field this week is about what we’ve come to expect from this tournament– a sprinkling of top-shelf talent to go along with a heaping portion of journeymen and youngsters. European Ryder Cup hero Ludvig Aberg heads BETDAQ’s Win Market at 10.0, with Cameron Young (13.5) and Sahith Theegala (17.0) the only other players who are currently trading at shorter than 30/1. We’ve had the likes of Russell Henley and Viktor Hovalnd win this event in recent years (though on a different course), but we don’t have to go too far back– 2019 to be exact– to find a triple-digit longshot (Brendan Todd) hoisting the trophy, and there are several fun options in that price range this time around. With that in mind, here’s what I’m thinking:

WIN MARKET

Recommendations to BACK (odds in parenthesis)

Sahith Theegala (17.0)- We tipped Theegala at the Fortinet Championship a few weeks ago and he paid us off with a victory, the first of his career, and after taking a couple weeks off he reemerged in Japan at the ZOZO, where he overcame a 3-over par second round to finish T19. In other words, his form is still intact, and it’s been this way for some time now– you have to go all the way back to July to find a tournament where Theegala didn’t finish inside the top-20. And I believe the fact that this is a new course for everyone is an advantage for someone like Theegala, who is still young and seeing many Tour courses for the first time, while his competition is oftentimes very familiar with the various venues. And speaking of his competition, it’s… eh… not that great this week. There’s nobody in the field that will make him nervous in a final group on Sunday, and there’s probably nobody playing better than him right now, either.

Matt Kuchar (88.0)- At 45 years old Kuchar has officially reached the “grizzled vet” stage of his career, and though he has 9 PGA Tour victories to his name, he hasn’t found the winner’s circle since 2019. That doesn’t mean he’s done winning, however– we’ve seen countless players of Kuchar’s ilk experience a rebirth in their late 40s, and Kuchar showed this season that he’s still got plenty of gas left in the tank, logging nine top-20 finishes and six top-10s across 25 starts. He finished T7 at the Fortinet Championship last time out, so we know his game is in good shape, and he’s always liked it South of the Border, most notably winning this tournament (when it was at Mayakoba) in 2018. At a price like 88.0, in a field like this, you expect someone young and inexperienced or someone who has been struggling with their game. Neither is true of Kuchar, making him a great value at this price point.

Ryo Ishikawa (198.0)- Most know the story: Ishikawa was a phenom who came the United States as a teen with the hopes of becoming Japan’s next great international player. Unfortunately for him, things didn’t quite pan out, and after a few years of struggle he returned to his native country, where he’s enjoyed a nice career that nonetheless has fallen short of the expectations placed on him as a teen phenom. He’s 32 now, though, all grown up and potentially ready for another shot at the world’s top tour, and he’s been playing some terrific golf lately. I know it’s mostly been on the Japan Tour, but golf is golf, and Ishikawa’s recent form stats read like this: 4-2-MC-6-11-19-16. That’s… pretty darn good, and the two top-5s came in his most recent two starts, one being the star-studded ZOZO Championship. I know he hasn’t been the same player in the Western Hemisphere throughout his career, but this is a new course for everybody and a strange country for most. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the perfect scenario for Ishikawa’s long-awaited PGA Tour breakthrough. At a price like 198.0, I’m willing to pay to find out.


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