Updated throughout each tournament week, 'The Starter' will provide key news, notes, and other nuggets prior to the first tee time on Thursday morning. Think of it as an all-in-one resource to help guide you in the days leading up to the start of the tournament, as you prepare your fantasy golf lineups and entries. As soon as we receive valuable news updates on things such as tee times, featured groups, withdrawals and other course reports we’ll be sure to post them all here.
Seamus Power captured victory for his second career PGA Tour win; previous win came at the 2021 Barbasol Championship.
Power ranked 9th for the week in greens-in-regulation percentage (GIR%) at the Bermuda Championship. Power was -7.39 on SG: APP at The CJ Cup a week prior.
Power set a new tournament record with 28 birdies made in Bermuda.
Power moved up to 32nd in the official world golf rankings (one spot below a falling Dustin Johnson); Power is also now 8th on the World Points list for the European Ryder Cup team.
Thomas Detry finished with two birdies--including a chip-in birdie on the 18th hole Sunday--to claim solo 2nd place. This is Detry's best career finish on the PGA Tour.
Detry is one of four PGAT rookies who've yet to miss a cut this season. Detry has three top-12 finishes in four starts.
Ben Griffin (also a rookie) led early on the back nine before going on a stretch of four bogeys and a double bogey from holes 12-16 at Port Royal. Still, Griffin finished T-3 for his best finish in just his 8th career PGA Tour start.
Griffin moved to 141st in world rank after the Bermuda Championship; he was 1,715th in January. Griffin now has two top-5 finishes over his eight career TOUR starts.
Staying on the theme of rookies, Kevin Yu finished Tied-3rd for his best career finish on the PGA Tour. Yu played the three par-5s at Port Royal at -11 for the week, which included making three eagles on each of the par-5s in round one.
Yu ranked 8th in driving distance and 6th in driving accuracy for the tournament.
Justin Lower notched his second top-10 of the season at the Bermuda Championship.
Lower has shot in the 60s in 62.5% of his rounds so far this season.
Amateur Caleb Surratt shot 64-85-65 from rounds 2-4 in Bermuda--a wild 21 and 20 stroke differential between those rounds. Surratt is a freshman at the University of Tennessee who was making his PGA Tour debut.
El Camaleon Golf Club - Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Event #7 of 2022-23 FedExCup Regular Season
Full-Field Cut Event
Previously known as the Mayakoba Golf Classic (and a few other names throughout the years), this event debuted in 2007 and was originally an alternate field event. In 2013, Mayakoba became a primary event on the PGA Tour schedule--meaning golfers receive full FedExCup points, major exemptions, and so on from competing at Mayakoba.
El Camaleon Golf Club is a resort course, and so for the second week in a row the TOUR heads to a course with a tropical vibe and feel to it. Rather than an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, this week we're in Latin America, just south of Cancun.
Pulled directly from the El Camaleon GC website, "El Camaleon blends through the diverse ecosystems of Mayakoba, including tropical jungle, dense mangroves, freshwater canals, and pristine Riviera Maya oceanfront."
Additionally, as you may hear this week, there's a tinge of irony in that LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman designed El Camaleon Golf Club...as it continues to host a PGA event.
As you'll also hear this week, likely many times, Viktor Hovland comes in as the defending champion and has won this event in back-to-back seasons. Hovland is in the field and seeking the rare three-peat. The last three-peat on the PGA Tour was Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic from 2009-2011.
El Camaleon and Mayakoba would very much classify as a birdie fest event. Hovland set a new tournament scoring record in 2021, winning at 23 strokes under par.
The winning score at Maykoba has been at least 20 strokes under par over the past four years:
2021: Viktor Hovland (-23)
2020: Viktor Hovland (-20)
2019: Brendon Todd (-20)
2018: Matt Kuchar (-22)
The field scoring average at El Camaleon GC over that same span:
2021: 69.10 (-1.90)
2020: 70.09 (-0.91)
2019: 70.09 (-0.91)
2018: 69.25 (-1.75)
Once again we have an event outside of the United States where Shotlink data (strokes gained data) is not available. So we are limited to the more basic numbers and stats associated with this tournament to figure out how golfers have won in the past.
It shouldn't come as a major surprise that recent winners of Mayakoba have ranked highly for the week in GIR%. Approach play tends to be fairly important week-in and week-out on the PGA Tour.
2021: Hovland 5th in GIR% (55/72 greens hit)
2020: Hovland 1st in GIR% (61/72 greens hit)
2019: Todd 3rd in GIR% (57/72 greens hit)
2018: Kuchar 15th in GIR% (57/72 greens hit)
2017: Kizzire 9th in GIR% (54/72 greens hit)
To hit many greens though, golfers need to be playing from the fairways of El Camaleon this week. Errant drives are likely to find the jungles, mangroves, or other penalty areas around the course.
Nicholas Lindheim, Denny McCarthy, Taylor Moore, Vince Whaley, and Kelly Kraft all pulled out of the originally announced field list.
Brent Grant, Michael Kim, and Carson Young entered the field after Lindheim, Whaley, and Kraft all withdrew.
Tyson Alexander is the next alternate in line to enter the field if a golfer WD's.
Aaron Baddeley, Thomas Detry, Harrison Endycott, and Kevin Yu are all now IN the field for Mayakoba because they finished in the top-10 of the Bermuda Championship.
Kyle Westmoreland was added to the field as a sponsor exemption.
Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau, and Billy Horschel headline this week's field as the five top-20 OWGR golfers competing. (Finau is technically making his first start of the season, though he did compete in the Presidents Cup in September.)
Scheffler can regain the world No.1 spot with a win or solo-2nd place finish this week.
Matt Kuchar, Brendon Todd, Patton Kizzire, Charley Hoffman, Harris English, and John Huh are all past champions of this event teeing it up this week.
Sam Stevens, Travis Trace, Ryan Hall, and Brian Davis all Monday qualified into the field.
Justin Rose (OWGR 72nd)
Justin Rose is in the field this week for Mayakoba. Rose WD'd in his previous start at the BMW PGA Championship (9/11) on the DP World Tour, citing a back injury.
OUT OF FIELD
Nicholas Lindheim (OWGR 756th)
Nicholas Lindheim withdrew from Mayakoba on Monday. This is the second time Lindheim has WD’d from an event in less than a week. He withdrew due to a back injury prior to teeing off in round one of the Bermuda Championship last Thursday. We don’t have confirmation but it’s likely that he’s dealing with the same injury.
Vince Whaley (OWGR 305th)
Vince Whaley withdrew from Mayakoba on Monday for an undisclosed reason. Whaley has not played in an event since the Shriners Children’s Open. He’s missed the cut in two of his three starts so far this season.
Denny McCarthy (OWGR 77th)
Denny McCarthy pulled out of the field for Mayakoba following his Sunday round at the Bermuda Championship. McCarthy shot 67 (-4) in the final round to cap off a successful week in Bermuda where he finished Tied-6th.
There’s currently no indication that McCarthy suffered an injury. He played in four events in October and is potentially just seeking a week off.
Taylor Moore (OWGR 115th)
Taylor Moore pulled out of the field for Mayakoba on Sunday. It’s unclear if Moore is dealing with an injury. He finished T-23 in his previous start at The CJ Cup and T-12 at the ZOZO Championship.
Webb Simpson (OWGR 105th)
Webb Simpson was initially committed to play at Mayakoba but was removed prior to the field being announced. It’s unclear why Simpson decided not to play but we will continue to monitor his status. Simpson has played minimally this Fall, finishing T-52 at The CJ Cup and missing the cut at the Fortinet Championship.
Grayson Murray (OWGR 600th)
Grayson Murray was “seriously injured” in a rental scooter accident in Bermuda last week, which forced him to WD from the Bermuda Championship prior to the start. It’s unclear how long this accident will sideline Murray for.
Peter Malnati (OWGR 325th)
Peter Malnati withdrew a couple of days prior to the start of the Bermuda Championship last week. This was the second time that Malnati had WD’d from an event in the past month.
Kelly Kraft (OWGR 484th)
Kelly Kraft withdrew from the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba on Monday. No reason was given for Kraft's WD. He last played in a PGA Tour event in September at the Fortinet Championship and missed the cut there.
World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba golfers with the highest "True Strokes Gained" (avg. adjusted strokes gained) at El Camaleon Golf Club (min. two appearances):
Adam Long (+2.65)
Viktor Hovland (+2.34)
Scottie Scheffler (+2.12)
Matt Kuchar (+1.69)
Maverick McNealy (+1.65)
Danny Lee (+1.55)
Emiliano Grillo (+1.54)
Adam Long has finished T-22, T-3, T-2 over the past three seasons at Mayakoba.
Scottie Scheffler has finished 4th and T-18 in his two appearance at this event. Scheffler can regain the world no.1 spot with a win or runner-up finish this week.
Viktor Hovland actually missed the cut in 2018 and 2019 before winning Mayakoba in 2020 and 2021.
Maverick McNealy finished T-11 and T-12 the past two seasons here.
Austin Eckroat (T-12 in 2020), Aaron Rai (T-15 in 2021), and Thomas Detry (T-22 in 2021) are among the best one-time finishes at Mayakoba.