The World Wide Technology Championship, Mexico’s pioneering PGA Tour event, will be featured for the 17th season. 2023 marks a new chapter, however, as El Cardonal, a Tiger Woods design, will be making its debut as the host venue. El Cardonal is part of the Diamonte Cabo San Lucas development in Baja California Sur, which also features a highly regarded Davis Love design, Diamonte Dunes. The field will consist of 132 players competing for a total purse of $8.2 million and 500 FedEx Cup points. The previous venue, El Cameleon at the Mayakoba, is now a host course for a LIV venue, which feels a more natural fit given Greg Norman’s credit as the lead architect. Rising stars, Ludvig Aberg, Sahith Theegala, and Cameron Young, headline one of the stronger fields we have seen this Fall swing.
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World Wide Technology Championship: Course Preview
The Tiger Woods designed El Cardonal opened in 2014 and was the 82-time PGA Tour winner’s first official project as the lead architect. Woods has mentioned that El Cardonal was strongly influenced by the Southern California courses that he grew up playing. Expansive fairways frame large, wide-open greens that encourage shot options and the ground game.
In terms of the actual layout of the course, El Cardonal is a par 72, measuring a touch over 7,400 yards on the scorecard. The Woods design features a standard four par fives and four par threes. At least three of the par fives (#1, #14, #18) are certainly reachable, even with slower-running Paspalum fairways. It’s hard to not look at this course and be instantly reminded of Vidanta Vallarta, the host of the Mexico Open. Both are resort courses with massive fairways, gigantic greens, and Paspalum agronomy from head to toe. Outside of its sheer length, Vidanta’s greatest defense is the wind. I would expect that to be the case at El Cardonal as well. Despite its over-imposing length, players will tear this place up in benign conditions.
Such is the case with most resort courses that cater to higher-handicapped golfers; length, wind, and turf speed are really the only ways to challenge professionals on these tracks. El Cardonal is long, but not over-imposing. It’s no longer than courses such as TPC Craig Ranch and Vidanta Vallarta, where pros can routinely get to the high teens under par. It’s nearly impossible for a Paspalum course to play fast and fiery given the way that turf interacts with the climate. This leaves wind as the primary defense. Despite its proximity to the ocean, early weather reports display extremely calm conditions.
I would not be the least bit surprised if we saw a player eclipse the 25-under-par mark. Given the pure specs of this golf course, it should play as one of the easiest tracks on the entire schedule. Very little thought is required off the tee, and while there are some menacing fairway bunkers, Paspalum is an incredibly easy surface to chip and putt off of. Even with some moderate undulation to these putting surfaces, I’d expect them to run on the extremely slow side, allowing players to be aggressive. I crafted my breakdown very similarly to Vidanta Vallarta this week, and I will be placing a strong emphasis on power off the tee, mid- to long-iron play, birdie-making ability, putting on slow greens, and par-five scoring.
El Cardonal Key Stats
- Driving Distance
- Long-Term Proximity 175 yards plus
- Strokes Gained Total: Paspalum
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World Wide Technology Championship Outright Picks
Stephan Jaeger (+2800) (Bet $100 to collect $2,900) Get the best Stephan Jaeger odds at BetMGM
I have long been awaiting the Stephan Jaeger breakthrough, and El Cardonal is the perfect track for the German to finally find the winner’s circle. Jaeger is one of the best long iron players in this field, ranking 11th in proximity 175-200 yards, and 14th in proximity 200 yards plus. He possesses above average distance off the tee, and ranks third in birdies or better gained, second in par five scoring, fifth in easy scoring conditions, and 14th on Paspalum courses.
With a 15th and 18th already under his belt at Vidanta Vallarta, Jaeger has shown a comfortability on wide open, long iron intensive, Paspalum tracks. He is coming off a 25th at the Sanderson Farms Championship where he gained 3.4 strokes off the tee, 1.7 strokes on approach, and 1.2 strokes around the green. In both appearances this Fall swing, Jaeger has gained over five strokes ball-striking. The 34-year old is playing some excellent golf right now, and his skill-set fits El Cardonal to a tee.
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Harry Hall (+15000) (Bet $100 to collect $15,100) Head to FanDuel to get the best Harry Hall odds
There’s a lot to love about Harry Hall this week. The 26-year-old is one of the best slow-green putters in this field, ranking fourth. He also ranks ninth in birdies or better gained, 14th in par five scoring, 27th in easy scoring conditions, and third on Paspalum courses. Hall already has a 13th at the Corales Punta Cana and a 10th at the Mexico Open under the belt, both wide open, Paspalum courses that emphasize power off the tee, long iron play, and putting on slower surfaces.
Outside of his course fit, Hall is quietly playing some great golf already this Fall swing. He’s coming off a 21st at the Zozo, and prior to that, he finished 26th at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. At incredibly appealing odds, Hall stands an excellent chance to continue his strong form on Paspalum and play a factor over the weekend in Los Cabos.
|Sportsbook||Odds||Payout ($100 Wager)|
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