This event has been part of the Mexican golfing scene since making its debut back in 1944. It has however been far from a settled affair. Dotting around numerous venues, and tours, the tournament has featured as part of the Tour de las Americas, the European Challenge Tour, the Nationwide Tour, and the PGA Tour Latinoamérica over the course of its lifetime. US player Al Espinosa made the tournament his own in the early years, winning all four editions of the event between 1944 and 1947.
It wasn’t until relatively recently, in 2022, that the tournament appeared on the PGA main tour for the first time – Jon Rahm showing his class that year, but only just when coming home one shot clear of the field.
Now held at the Greg Norman-designed Vidanta Vallarta Course which runs alongside the America River, the tournament takes place in late April/early May, having formerly been a December event. The course’s Paspalum greens are significantly larger than at many other venues but feature tricky undulations and are extremely well protected. Players who are long off the tee and accurate with their approach play tend to fair well.
|2022||Vidanta Vallarta||Jon Rahm|
2022: Jon Rahm
Short odds favourites are not everybody’s cup of tea in any sport and that is probably even more the case in golf, with events typically having fields of around 150. Winning a professional event takes a relentless amount of world class golf and more than a little bit of luck along the way, so there wasn’t much to excite punters about Jon Rahm going off as a 5/1 favourite for the Mexico Open. Apart, of course, from the fact that he has been the best golfer in the world for the vast majority of the last 12 months and the field was, by the high standards of the PGA Tour, relatively weak.
Rahm has had the odd wobble in recent months with his game falling slightly below his extremely impressive levels. He must have, therefore, been concerned about the standard of his play – particularly his putting – when looking to close out the 54 hole lead. Rahm is a tremendous fighter as well as a generational talent though and he was up to the challenge, eventually winning the Mexico Open by one shot from Brandon Wu.
“Stressful” was the word Rahm used to describe his win during his post-round media obligations. Blissful was a more accurate description of the photos that accompanied his win though as he celebrated the win with his pregnant wife Kelly and his young son Kepa. This was Rahm’s first win of the 2021/22 season and his first victory where he led at the end of every round, which augurs well for the big tournaments to come. The PGA Championship starts on the 19th May, with the US Open following less than a month later, so now is a great time for the Spaniard to be rediscovering his best golf.