Weekly Preview: World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

Weekly Preview: World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

El Camaleon Golf Club
Riviera Maya, Mexico

The PGA Tour heads to Mexico for the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.

Just to be clear, this is the event formerly known as the Mayakoba Championship, although if you were to look at the field, you've have a hard time recognizing this is the same event. For much of its existence, the Mayakoba Championship was held in the spring, opposite a WGC event, but its move to the fall has done wonders to its field. It's still no PLAYERS Championship, but seeing names like Thomas, Koepka and Hovland is a sure sign that this event is now legit. It's not just the names at the top either, go a little further down the odds chart and you'll see even more familiar names like Rose, Fowler and Garcia.

Yes, the new Mayakoba Championship has everything you could want out of a fall season event. Throw in a course history that goes back to 2007 and I dare say this might be one of the best events to handicap all fall. The one slight issue with course history is that the elite players haven't been coming here since 2007, so many have just a year or two of data to go off.

LAST YEAR

Viktor Hovland shot a final-round 65 on his way to a one-stroke victory over Aaron Wise.

FAVORITES

Justin Thomas (14-1)

What a difference a week makes. Last week it was Matt Fitzpatrick

World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba

El Camaleon Golf Club
Riviera Maya, Mexico

The PGA Tour heads to Mexico for the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.

Just to be clear, this is the event formerly known as the Mayakoba Championship, although if you were to look at the field, you've have a hard time recognizing this is the same event. For much of its existence, the Mayakoba Championship was held in the spring, opposite a WGC event, but its move to the fall has done wonders to its field. It's still no PLAYERS Championship, but seeing names like Thomas, Koepka and Hovland is a sure sign that this event is now legit. It's not just the names at the top either, go a little further down the odds chart and you'll see even more familiar names like Rose, Fowler and Garcia.

Yes, the new Mayakoba Championship has everything you could want out of a fall season event. Throw in a course history that goes back to 2007 and I dare say this might be one of the best events to handicap all fall. The one slight issue with course history is that the elite players haven't been coming here since 2007, so many have just a year or two of data to go off.

LAST YEAR

Viktor Hovland shot a final-round 65 on his way to a one-stroke victory over Aaron Wise.

FAVORITES

Justin Thomas (14-1)

What a difference a week makes. Last week it was Matt Fitzpatrick in this spot. Where is Fitzpatrick this week? He's well down the board at 35-1. But this is about Thomas, who is coming off a good, but not great season – at least by his standards. I expect nothing less than a scorched-Earth approach moving forward, as he takes disappointment personally, or at least it seems like it. It's tough to gauge Thomas' mindset beyond that, but he has managed to record two top-25s in his two starts here.

Viktor Hovland (18-1)

It's always difficult to defend a championship, but one important piece of information we have this week on Hovland is that motivation will not be an issue. Yes, it's tough to defend, but at the same time, you never want to embarrass yourself in that attempt to defend, so if you think Hovland is here on some sort of vacation, you're wrong. The question then becomes, is this number enough on someone who is defending in the fall? Considering who it is, it just might be.

Abraham Ancer (18-1)

It's a bit curious to see Ancer tied for the second-best odds, especially considering the likes of Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka are listed behind him, but I think his spot on the list actually makes sense. There may be some home-country advantage baked into these odds and that I'm not a huge fan of that when it comes to placing bets. However, I do like that Ancer will play in front of the home fans for the first time as a PGA Tour winner. That added confidence could be what puts him over the top this week.

THE NEXT TIER

Tony Finau (25-1)

There's actually quite a drop off from the favorites to the next group, which is led by Finau, so I felt it was fine to list Finau int he middle tier. Finau picked up this second PGA Tour win in August and that win was thought to open the door to the next level for Finau. He's only played in three events since then, so it's way too early to tell if he's going to take his game to the next level anytime soon, but I have a feeling we will see a jump this season, perhaps starting in Mexico.

Patrick Reed (30-1)

We know how Reed gets when he gets going and if this past week is any indication, he's hitting on all cylinders right now. The only issue, if you want to call it that, is that Reed has had no success at this event. Then again, he's only played here once, and although that start resulted in a missed cut, since it's such a small sample size, we can chalk it up to any number of things outside of not taking to this course well.

Billy Horschel (30-1)

Track record at fall events are especially key because it gives you insight into how a player treats an event. I harp on this every fall because it's very important – motivation is paramount when picking your players. Not every golfer brings their best game in the fall. In this example, Horschel has finished inside the top-25 in each of his past three starts here (including two top-10s), so there's no doubt that Horschel is motivated to play well here.

LONG SHOTS

Rickie Fowler (50-1)

I'm going to stick with Fowler until he wins again. Okay, so if he doesn't win before the end of the year, I might have to revisit that statement. With that said, I think he gets back into the winner's circle at some point and the fall portion of the season is the perfect time to do so. Fowler is just one start removed from a near-win at the CJ Cup and he nearly won here as well, in 2017 when he was a solo-2nd.

Harold Varner III (80-1)

Varner III is the next guy to break through for his first win on the PGA Tour, right? Varner III has taken the classical route to success on the PGA Tour, or in other words, the slow route. Things weren't always like the way they are now. Guys didn't just show up on the tour and win right away. It used to be a ramp up and, in that fashion, there's Varner III who continues to get better each year, but has yet to break through. Varner III has two top-10s here, so maybe this is the spot.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Viktor Hovland - JT may be the favorite, but I have a feeling that more people will be on Hovland as he's the defending champion and there are no questions about motivation. Using Hovland in this spot is certainly risky though as he'll have a ton of value next year. He'll probably have better odds to win at some point as well.

Moderately-owned Pick: Patrick Reed - Reed was a popular pick this past week almost by default, as there weren't many good options. This week there are plenty of them, but Reed is still in the mix because he's playing well coming into the week. Reed will certainly have value next year, but this looks like a pretty good spot to use him as well.

Lightly-owned Pick: Harold Varner III - Varner has the track record here and his form is decent right now, so this could be a sneaky under the radar play to gain some ground on the competition. For those that are trying to save all your big guns for next year, Varner could be your man.

Buyer Beware: Justin Thomas - There's no reason to think Thomas won't play well this week, but it's always risky using a guy with so much value down the road in an event where you aren't sure of his motivation. He's the favorite, but he's not exactly a heavy favorite at 14-1. Perhaps if the field were a bit weaker, this would be a good play, but I'd be weary of using Thomas until some point in 2022.

Last Week: Denny McCarthy - T39 - $25,675

Season Total: $2,188,494

This Week: Abraham Ancer - Ancer, along with Hovland are going to be plenty popular, so don't make this pick in the hopes that you'll gain ground on the competition. With that said, Ancer looks like a great play, as he has a lot working in his favor. He's playing in front of the home crowd; he's no longer chasing his first PGA Tour win and he's very familiar with this course. What's not to like?

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Abraham Ancer - $11,400
Middle Range: Billy Horschel - $10,400
Lower Range: Harold Varner III - $8,800

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Denny McCarthy - T39

Streak: 3

This Week: Abraham Ancer - I'm not saying the double-up strategy can't lose, but it has yet to fail me this season. I'll stick with Ancer in this spot as even though there's bound to be a lot of pressure on him. He's shown that he can handle it and now that he's a winner on the PGA Tour, the sky's the limit.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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