Patrick Reed, Davis Riley and Kevin Streelman will be among the notables examined in Tuesday’s draws and fades.
Since confirming the addition of the Mexico Open to Vidanta, the field has been increased by a dozen to 144. As this is a stand-alone tournament, the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points and an exemption for the 2023 Masters. Places in the 2022 PGA Championship as well as the 2023 editions of the Sentry Tournament of Champions and THE PLAYERS Championship will also be guaranteed in addition to a membership exemption until at least 2023-24.
Vidanta Vallarta’s signature Greg Norman course is the stage. It is about a mile northeast of the nearest point on the shore of Banderas Bay against which Puerto Vallarta is located. It is nestled in a triangular terrain framed by the Ameca River to the north and the border of Nayarit and Jalisco around its eastern and southern perimeter. (Although the two Mexican states were separated by time zones — Central and Mountain — the entire region has joined Central since 2010. The course opened in 2015.)
Unlike Chapultepec, which sits over 7,000 feet above sea level in the mountains of Mexico City, Vidanta Vallarta is just high enough not to be underwater. He can reach for 7,456 yards and he plays at a par of 71.
Like Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead course, Vidanta Vallarta also offers five par-3s to go along with the full set of four par-5s, including three of the inside nine, including the 548-yard finisher.
Four of the par 3s – Nos. 5, 9, 11 and 17 – play over water, which is one of the three most threatening hazards on the course. However, while ubiquitous on the property and adjacent to many holes, including the tee box at No. 7, that’s not in play there. The reason it is worth mentioning is that it is a playable par 4 measuring just 297 yards.
Another problem totals 106 in number. These are the bunkers and many are quite large. All were renovated before the tournament. The frequent combination of water and sand is why many Normandy designs require a precision green start. This is how The Great White Shark succeeded inside the ropes himself.
Platinum paspalum covers the course, the longest of which at the edges is topped by an inch and a half. The greens are set at 12 feet on the Stimpmeter, standard for PGA TOUR competition, but that’s still the maximum based on the third pillar among hazards – wind.
Hot and dry conditions are expected, but the prevailing breezes off the coast will be moderate and steady throughout. The ability to play target golf at its best is further rewarded with undiscovered greens. In situations like this, ball hitters tend to thrive, but especially on a course designed by a guy who rode that skill to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
ROB BOLTON’S CALENDAR
PGATOUR.com’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews each tournament from many perspectives. Look for his following contributions as expected.
MONDAY: Power Ratings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, draws and fades
WEDNESDAY: Preview of Pick ‘Em
SUNDAY: Medical extensions, Qualifications, Redesign, Ranking of recruits
* – Rob is a member of PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks panel for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.