2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba Odds, Preview & Picks: 3 Player With Value at El Camaleón

2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba Odds, Preview & Picks: 3 Player With Value at El Camaleón article feature image

Alex Goodlett/Getty Images for CJ Cup @ Summit. Pictured: Justin Thomas.

After a week in Bermuda, the PGA TOUR heads to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, for the 2021 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba at El Camaleón Golf Club.

Previously named The Mayakoba Golf Classic and the OHL at Mayakoba, the event has been a TOUR stop since 2007, but was an alternate event until 2014 when it was moved to November and became a primary competition. Since then, the tournament has offered full FedEx Cup points and a sizable purse.

The recent Mayakoba fields have been pretty solid, but this year is one of the strongest fields in its history. Some of the notable golfers among the 132 in the field include: Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Viktor Hovland, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Joaquin Niemann, Patrick Reed, Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris.

El Camaleón Golf Club is a 6,987-yard, par-71 layout featuring paspalum greens. This short, coastal track has played relatively easy since the tournament's switch to November, but can get tricky if the wind doesn't cooperate.

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Justin Thomas+1400
Abraham Ancer+1400
Viktor Hovland+1700
Tony Finau+2500
Billy Horschel+3000
Aaron Wise+3300
Brooks Koepka+3300
Matthew Fitzpatrick+3300
Russell Henley+3300
Scottie Scheffler+3300
Tyrrell Hatton+3300
Patrick Reed+3500
Will Zalatoris+3500
Cameron Tringale+4000
Shane Lowry+4000
Brendon Todd+4500
Matthew Wolff+4500
Sergio Garcia+4500
Talor Gooch+4500
Joaquin Niemann+5000
Keegan Bradley+5000
Kevin Streelman+5000
Rickie Fowler+5000
Alexander Noren+5500
Emiliano Grillo+5500
Maverick McNealy+5500
Brian Harman+6000
Ian Poulter+6000
Justin Rose+6000
Mito Pereira+6000
Russell Knox+6000
Chez Reavie+6600
Christiaan Bezuidenhout+6600
Harold Varner III+6600
Joel Dahmen+6600
Seamus Power+6600
Gary Woodland+7500
Carlos Ortiz+8000
Chris Kirk+8000
Jhonattan Vegas+8000
Patrick Rodgers+8000
Charley Hoffman+9000
Pat Perez+9000
Ryan Moore+9000
Adam Hadwin+10000
Brendan Steele+10000
Brian Stuard+10000
Brice Garnett+10000
Charles Howell III+10000
CT Pan+10000
Henrik Norlander+10000
Henrik Stenson+10000
Matt Kuchar+10000
Taylor Pendrith+10000
Tom Hoge+10000
Adam Long+12500
Adam Schenk+12500
Danny Lee+12500
Danny Willett+12500
Garrick Higgo+12500
Kyle Stanley+12500
Lucas Herbert+12500
Luke List+12500
Martin Laird+12500
Ryan Palmer+12500
Scott Stallings+12500
Stephan Jaeger+12500
Troy Merritt+12500
Aaron Rai+15000
Andrew Putnam+15000
Doug Ghim+15000
Dylan Frittelli+15000
Guido Migliozzi+15000
James Hahn+15000
John Huh+15000
Keith Mitchell+15000
Kramer Hickok+15000
Matt Jones+15000
Patton Kizzire+15000
Rory Sabbatini+15000
Scott Piercy+15000
Thomas Detry+15000
Tyler Duncan+15000
David Lipsky+15000
Charl Schwratzel+17500
Adam Svensson+20000
Davis Riley+20000
Francesco Molinari+20000
Graeme McDowell+20000
Hank Lebioda+20000
Hudson Swafford+20000
J.J. Spaun+20000
Jimmy Walker+20000
Peter Malnati+20000
Vincent Whaley+20000
Zach Johnson+20000
Brandt Snedeker+25000
Denny McCarthy+25000
Doc Reman+25000
Greyson Sigg+25000
Joseph Bramlett+25000
JT Poston+25000
Michael Thompson+25000
Nate Lashley+25000
Nick Watney+25000
Roger Sloan+25000
Sam Ryder+25000
Sepp Straka+25000
Andrew Landry+30000
Anirban Lahiri+30000
Brian Gay+30000
Camilo Villegas+30000
Curtis Thompson+30000
Nick Taylor+30000
Richy Werenski+30000
Sung Kang+30000
Trey Mullinax+30000
Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra+40000
Kevin Tway+40000
Luke Donald+40000
Roberto Diaz+40000
Andrew Novak+40000
Camilo Aguado+40000
Bill Haas+50000
Jonas Blixt+50000
Juan Carlos Benitez+50000
Juan Diego Fernandez+50000
Kelly Kraft+50000
Martin Trainer+50000
Samuel Del Val+50000
Willie Mack III+50000
Braden Thornberry+50000

Past Winners at World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

(The Mayakoba Golf Classic)

  • 2020: Viktor Hovland (-20)
  • 2019: Brendon Todd (-20)
  • 2018: Matt Kuchar (-22)

(OHL Classic At Mayakoba)

  • 2017: Patton Kizzire (-19)
  • 2016: Pat Perez (-21)
  • 2015: Kevin Kisner (-18)
  • 2014: Charlie Hoffman (-17)
  • 2013: Harris English (-21)

Let's take a look at several metrics for El Camaleón Golf Club to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.

Strokes Gained: Approach

With large, soft and slow greens at El Camaleón, players should be firing at pins. These green complexes are among the easiest on TOUR, so elite approach play will be key, as usual.

Total Strokes Gained: Approach in past 24 rounds:

  1. Russell Henley (+24.1) (+6600)
  2. Mito Pereira (+23.8) (+5000)
  3. Luke Donald (+21.5) (+35000)
  4. Keegan Bradley (+18.8) (+4000)
  5. Hudson Swafford (+18.7) (+20000)
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Fairways Gained

El Camaleón is a course where consistent and accurate driving is rewarded. Being a short course, golfers can't bomb their way around the track.

Total Fairways Gained in past 24 rounds:

  1. Chez Reavie (+46.5) (+15000)
  2. Brian Stuard (+46.4) (+20000)
  3. Ryan Moore(+38.5) (+15000)
  4. Brice Garnett (+37.2) (+15000)
  5. Brendon Todd (+36.9) (+10000)

Strokes Gained Total: Paspalum

Paspalum greens are a different surface than what most of the TOUR players are used to. They can be bumpy and slow, and certain golfers tend to really thrive on them year in, year out.

Comparable greens can be found at TPC Kuala Lumpur (CIMB Classic), Coco Beach Golf and Country Club (Puerto Rico Open) and Corales Golf Club (Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship).

Total Strokes Gained: Paspalum in past 24 rounds:

  1. Justin Thomas (+57.4) (+1400)
  2. Billy Horschel (+47.3) (+2500)
  3. Keegan Bradley (+43.4) (+4000)
  4. Emiliano Grillo (+38.9) (+6600)
  5. Abraham Ancer (+37.8) (+2200)

Opportunities Gained

With the soft conditions we typically see at El Camaleón, it will be important to target golfers who consistently see birdie opportunities from within 15 feet. Historically, poor putters have done fairly well on paspalum, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see a typically-strong tee to green player get hot with the flat stick.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Russell Henley (+32.5) (+6600)
  2. Justin Thomas (+26.3) (+1400)
  3. Mito Pereira (+25.5) (+5000)
  4. Carlos Ortiz (+25.4) (+8000)
  5. Tom Hoge (+23.6) (+8000)

Greens in Regulation Gained

GIR Percentage at El Camaleón has been a key indicator of success for past winners. Statistically, GIR has also been more of a factor here than average for a PGA TOUR event. If you are missing greens in regulation this week, it will be almost impossible to keep up with the low scores on top of the leaderboard. The last four winners of the event have finished in the top 10 for greens in regulation.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  1. Mito Pereira (+37.5) (+5000)
  2. Will Zalatoris (+26.6) (+3300)
  3. Martin Laird (+24.7) (+12500)
  4. Nick Watney (+24.5) (+20000)
  5. Aaron Rai (+23.6) (+20000)

Statistical Model

Below, I've reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (25%) Fairways Gained (25%); SG: Paspalum (20%); Opportunities Gained (15%); and, GIR Gained (15%)

  1. Viktor Hovland (+1600)
  2. Abraham Ancer (+2200)
  3. Emiliano Grillo (+6600)
  4. Russell Knox (+8000)
  5. Mito Pereira (+5000)
  6. Russell Henley (+6600)
  7. Hudson Swafford (+20000)
  8. Keegan Bradley (+4000)
  9. Chez Reavie (+15000)
  10. Justin Thomas (+1400)

World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba Best Bets

Justin Thomas (+1400, Bet365): Thomas hasn't won an event since the PLAYERS Championship in March of 2021. For most players on TOUR, a win almost eight months ago would be a pretty significant accomplishment, but Thomas isn't most players.

With 16 PGA TOUR wins on his résumé, Thomas ranks fourth in all-time wins for active golfers. At just 28 years old, he is on pace to be one of the most prolific winners of his generation. Although he has been relatively inconsistent during these past eight months since the PLAYERS, there is reason to believe El Camaleón Golf Club is the perfect place for JT to break out of his slump. 

When evaluating Thomas' previous TOUR victories, a few things stand out. The first is that he often tends to win during "swing season." Eight of his 16 wins have come between the months of September and January. The other glaring finding is his success on shorter courses. TPC Kuala Lumpur (2), Waialae Country Club, PGA National Resort and Spa and TPC Southwind are courses where Thomas has won that are relatively short by TOUR standards.

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Another aspect of El Camaleón that should suit JT is the paspalum greens. Thomas ranks first in the field by a large margin in Strokes Gained: Total on courses that have paspalum greens. He is gaining an average of 2.4 strokes per round on the surface and the next best is 1.8 per round (Billy Horschel).

Thomas' high ranking on the surface is no surprise considering his amazing success on the courses that feature paspalum, including two victories at TPC Kuala Lumpur. One of his biggest detriments during his relative cold stretch has been his putter; returning to a surface he has dominated on should help turn that around.

In addition to the course fit, Thomas also has shown some recent signs of his form coming around. In his past five starts, he's gained an average of 3.9 strokes on approach and 5.4 from tee to green. Although the results haven't been ideal, the opportunities have been as evidenced by his ranking of second in the field in Opportunities Gained (birdie chances within fifteen feet) in his past 24 rounds.

I don't often go toward the top of the board during the "swing season," but at this number I feel there is still significant value on JT and expect him to earn his 17th career TOUR victory.

Billy Horschel (+3300, DraftKings): As evidenced by his tied for fifth performance last year, El Camaleón is a great course for Billy Horschel. Paspalum greens have been very kind to him in the past and he trails only Thomas for Strokes Gained: Total on Paspalum. His knack for stalking putts and then aggressively trying to sink them translates nicely to the slow velcro-like paspalum surface.

Horschel has also fared incredibly well on short tracks both throughout his career and recently. He has top-10 finishes at numerous shorter courses in addition to El Camaleón his career, including Waialae Country Club, Sedgefield Country Club, TPC Southwind, Harbour Town Golf Links and many others. The former Florida Gator ranks first in the field in Strokes Gained: Total on courses under 7,200 yards.

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When examining Horschel's skill set, it isn't very surprising he dominates shorter courses. He consistently puts the ball in the fairway and has gained an average on four strokes on the field per event in Fairways Gained, which sets him up for easy approach shots into greens for birdie looks.

The 34-year-old is also in the midst of a nice stretch of golf at the moment. After finishing ninth at the TOUR Championship in September, Horschel traveled to Wentworth Golf Club in England to compete in the BMW PGA Championship. The event had an absolutely stacked field and Horschel was able to walk away with the trophy for his first European TOUR victory.

Horschel has previously spoken about what he perceived as a snub for the 2021 Ryder Cup and how he drew motivation from it: "I didn't get that phone call. I was a little upset. I was a little ticked. Gave me a little bit of fire in my butt or my arse, to be nice to really not show anything, but you know, just gave me a little fire, not that I needed it."

Even though he won in Europe since then, you can be sure Horschel is (gator) chomping at the bit to add another PGA TOUR victory to his resume.

Emiliano Grillo (+7500,DraftKings): Another golfer who will benefit greatly from the paspalum greens is Emiliano Grillo. Nine of the top 24 Strokes Gained performances of his career have come on courses that feature paspalum. This is an absolutely amazing statistic considering there are only a handful of courses that meet that description.

Similarly, seven of his past 13 starts on paspalum have resulted in a finish of 11th place or better. Simply put, Grillo is a completely different player when playing on his preferred green surface.

Grillo has also been very successful at shorter courses in his career, with the reason being that he excels with shorter approach shots. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks first in the field in proximity from 125 to 150 yards, which is a distance he will be seeing quite often at El Camaleón. I also like the Argentines' ability to put the ball in the fairway. Historically, golfers who keep the ball in play and rack up greens in regulation have had great success at El Camaleón.

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Hudson Swafford (+20000,DraftKings)

El Camaleón is a dream and Hudson Swafford are a dream fit. The 34-year-old has played some of his best golf at similar setups including a victory and a sixth-place finish in his last two starts at Corales Puntacana, which has a similar layout with paspalum greens. He also has a third-place finish at Waialae Country Club, which has a lot of similarities to El Camaleón as well. 

In addition to the course fit, Swafford has been playing very well of late. In his past 24 rounds, he ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach and 12th in Greens in Regulation: Gained, which has been a statistic highly indicative of the winner in recent iterations of the event.

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