The PGA Tour continues its international campaign as it heads to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for the World Wide Technology Championship. The event will have the honor of introducing El Cardonal at Diamante to the world of golf, as the 9-year-old desert course will host its first PGA event. It will also be the first PGA event for the course designer, who you may or may not have heard of…Tiger Woods.
While we’ve seen courses created by the TGR Design team in the various renditions of The Match, we have yet to see one in tournament play. Tiger’s team has created a breathtaking 18 holes off of the Pacific Ocean that will challenge this field’s length and accuracy off the tee. Sitting close to 7,400 yards is proof enough, but I will assure you it will play even longer at times. Golfers will both benefit and struggle with elevation changes depending on each hole. A few holes will require golfers to elevate over 100 feet to reach the green.
Best Bets for World Wide Technology Championship
Akshay Bhatia (+3500)
It’s only a matter of time before Akshay Bhatia gets his second Tour victory. Since winning the Barracuda Championship, Akshay has slowly but surely worked his way out of his winner’s hangover. While his finishes have only got better, his approach game has surprisingly not. He has yet to gain strokes to the field approaching the green since his victory, which is usually his biggest asset. He is both long and accurate off the tee, so he should have plenty of good looks into the large greens of El Cardonal to correct this rut.
Other than Bhatia’s victory at the Barracuda, his 2023 season only saw 2 really strong finishes. He finished runner-up in Puerto Rico and 4th at the Mexico Open. This is probably nothing, but I did find it interesting how Akshay found a lot of success when playing outside the U.S. in 2023. Could there be a difference in how he preps? Maybe less pressure from friends/family? Fewer distractions?
Other than Akshay, who really knows that answer? But whatever it is, I feel confident in Bhatia’s game, and it seems to only get better over the border. He’ll be amongst the best off the tee, and if his irons flash the way they have in the past, look for him to be atop the leaderboard on Sunday.
Sam Ryder (+8000)
Coming in as the 5th best putter in the field, Sam Ryder’s ability to contend will almost definitely come down to ball-striking. Fortunately for Sam, he comes into Mexico having gained strokes approaching the green in 6 straight events. This includes a stretch of 4 events in which he gained over 5 strokes per tournament. Unfortunately, Ryder lacks a bit in the distance department. He will be behind by a few yards, but his accuracy should keep him out of trouble. It truly will come down to whether he can keep his irons hot or not.
Betting on a golfer to win for the first time in their career is not for the faint of heart, but sportsbooks reward those brave enough with big odds. In most PGA fields, you’ll find Sam Ryder north of 150/1, but in this international Fall event with only a few studs, I believe 80/1 is more than fair. For a guy so confident in putting and playing his best approach game, I’ll take a small shot at a big win.