The 2022-23 PGA Tour schedule rolls on this week with the 2022 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. El Camaleon Golf Course, designed by Greg Norman and opened in 2006, will host the event for the 10th consecutive year.
After last week's horrendous field for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, there will be a much-needed uptick in star power at El Camaleon Golf Course, including five of the top 16 players in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Scottie Scheffler (+800), Viktor Hovland (+1100), winner of this event in 2020 and 2021, Billy Horschel (+1400), Collin Morikawa (+1600), and Tony Finau (+1600) enter this week as the rightful betting favorites.
Aaron Wise (+1800), Taylor Montgomery (+2500), Tom Hoge (+2500), Brian Harman (+2800), and Maverick McNealy (+2800) round out the group of players currently listed below 30/1 odds at BetRivers.
Emiliano Grillo (+3300), Russell Henley (+3300), Brendon Todd (+3300), Jason Day (+4000), and Seamus Power (+4000) -- winner last week in Bermuda -- are a few other notables in the field this week.
El Camaleon Golf Course stretches just over 7,000 yards with Paspalum greens and plays as a par 71. This event annually has a winning score of around 20-under par, meaning there are plenty of scoring opportunities throughout a round.
One major factor in the course playing relatively easy is the lack of distance. Here's how the yardage is broken down this week:
Among the 11 par 4s, three are shorter than 400 yards, five are between 400-450 yards, and three stretch over 460 yards. There is a lot of variance with these par 4s, but only a few holes are going to be difficult for the field.
Three of the four par 3s are shorter than 160 yards, with No. 3 being one of the shortest holes on the PGA Tour. Only hole No. 10, which can play over 200 yards depending on the tee box, is going to challenge the players.
Once again there are only three par 5s this week, and all of them are going to yield a ton of birdies. The par-5 7th hole is the only one of the three that stretches north of 570 yards.
With El Camaleon Golf Course being a resort-style track, there isn't a ton of danger and the greens are some of the easiest to hit on Tour. However, there are stretches of the course where the ocean and jungle come into play, presenting chances to find trouble off the tee box. Accurate driving and playing from the fairway are two vital keys to success at Mayakoba every year.
Strokes Gained: Approach
Greens in Regulation: Gained
Strokes Gained: Putting (Paspalum)
Par 3s Gained: <200 Yards
Strokes Gained: 125-150 Yards
Birdies or Better: Gained
2021: Viktor Hovland (-23)
2020: Viktor Hovland (-20)
2019: Brendon Todd (-20)
2018: Matt Kuchar (-22)
2017: Patton Kizzire (-19)
Tony Finau (+1600)
Finau's only appearance of the fall season came at the Presidents Cup over a month ago, but the 33-year-old finished last year on the best run of his career.
Finau burst through with back-to-back victories at the 3M Open and Rocket Mortgage Classic and posted two top-10 finishes in three PGA Tour playoff events.
According to Matt Vincenzi of ActionNetwork, Finau ranks first in Greens in Regulation: Gained and third in Strokes Gained: Approach among all players in the field over the past 24 rounds.
Finau also closed out last season by gaining strokes with the putter in six consecutive events, suggesting he has all the tools to add another win to his resume this week. Finau has posted two top-10s in his last six trips to Playa del Carmen.
Brendon Todd (+3300)
After missing the cut in 2016, Todd has rattled off a win and two top-11s in his last three starts at El Camaleon Golf Course.
So far in the new season, Todd has made the cut in three of his four appearances, including two top-10 results at the Fortinet Championship and CJ Cup. The 37-year-old veteran has gained strokes putting in his last 12 events and popped on his approach shots his last time out in South Carolina.
Todd regularly finishes near the bottom of the PGA Tour in driving distance, but that doesn't hurt his chances of competing on this course. In fact, Todd's ability to consistently find the fairway is what has led to his success in recent years. Among all players in the field, Todd ranks fourth in fairways gained over the past 24 rounds.
In addition to being one of the best putters in the world, Todd's ability to play a clean game from tee to green makes him a perfect fit for El Camaleon Golf Course every year. Let's hope the Toddfather can stay hot on a course that obviously suits his eye.
LONG SHOT PICKS
Hayden Buckley (+6600)
If you're a consistent reader of these articles and/or a follower of the podcast, then this should come as no surprise. Buckley has been playing incredibly well so far this fall, with a T5 finish his last time out at the Zozo Championship in Japan.
The strength of Buckley's game is with the driver, being both remarkably long and accurate off the tee box. In four starts this season, Buckley has gained on the field in terms of distance AND accuracy, which could give him a massive advantage on a course that rewards elite drivers. Buckley has gained strokes off the tee in 17 consecutive events entering this week.
Buckley has posted three consecutive top-20 finishes and appears to be in good form during this fall swing. If the putter and irons cooperate again, the 26-year-old Mizzou alum should find himself in contention once again.
Adam Long (+8000)
Long has been nothing short of spectacular in three trips to El Camaleon Golf Course, finishing T2, T3, and T22.
Being one of the most accurate drivers on the PGA Tour, Long's success at this event should not be surprising whatsoever. Coming into this week, Long ranks second among all players in the field in fairways gained over the past 24 rounds, suggesting he's ready to roll again here this year.
Looking at Long's results over the past few seasons, he tends to do his best work on the shorter courses where driving accuracy and elite putting get rewarded. Well, that fits El Camaleon Golf Course beautifully.
Long also ranks fourth among all players in the field in Strokes Gained Total: Paspalum over the past 24 rounds.
Don't overthink it -- this is one of the few places where Long has an actual shot at victory.