The PGA Tour is always looking to move forwards. Whether it’s taking the event to new areas or playing different formats, they’re always looking for the next thing to grow the number of fans. The biggest change in golf, though, is the increasing strength, power and athleticism required to compete at the top level.
As exciting as it is to watch the likes of Jon Rahm or Rory McIlroy smash a drive 310 yards plus through the air, the change in the game has made life much more difficult for the likes of Pat Perez, Graeme McDowell and Fred Funk. They simply cannot keep up with the young guns but thankfully they’ve got tournaments like the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
Ball Striking and Wedges to Decide the Winner
Each of Perez, McDowell and Funk have won the OHL Classic over the last decade. They claimed that title by utilising their ball striking, by hitting wedges close to the hole and by putting very well. Those are skills most normally associated with experienced players and it’s therefore no surprise that the winners of this tournament tend to skew older than is normal on the PGA Tour (especially over the last year).
So far we’ve seen that the most important skill to have at El Camaleon Golf Club is to be able to control the golf ball. That’s only heightened by the blustery conditions which are the norm at this venue. The weather forecast suggests gentle winds on Thursday and Friday but with the breeze stiffening on the weekend, which is another thing to deal with as the pressure of winning grows. Experience could, therefore, triumph once again in Mexico this week.
Reed Can Secure the Win He Needs
Patrick Reed is not short of a bit of self-belief. The American is still young at 27 but he’s already very experienced on the PGA Tour and will have hoped for more by this stage of his career. He’s shown his quality on big stages before but the lack of a major championship and a run of over a year without a victory has surely hurt his pride.
The last year has not been all bad for Reed (he finished second at the PGA Championship for example) but he knows it’s all about picking up trophies. By making his debut at the OHL Classic he’s shown how much he’s willing to work to win and his hard work could be rewarded at 22/1 with Ladbrokes.
Streelman’s Course Form a Big Plus
Kevin Streelman is one of those players who needs to make the most of these sort of events. The 38-year-old is far from the longest hitter on the PGA Tour and with many courses not playing to his strengths, he has to maximise his opportunities at courses which suit. El Camaleon certainly fits into that bracket.
Streelman has two finishes of four or better in his last four starts at the Mexican venue and arrives in some decent form. Currently ranking 12th for shots gained tee to green this season, Streelman only needs a good week with the putter to have a great chance of claiming at least a top five finish at 55/1 with Betfred.