LOS ANGELES – Tiger Woods isn’t the only big name skipping next week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.
World No. 2 Brooks Koepka isn’t making the trip to Mexico City, either. Same with sixth-ranked Patrick Cantlay and 10th-ranked Justin Rose. Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Henrik Stenson are also opting for a week off rather than a limited-field, no-cut tournament that offers guaranteed world ranking, FedExCup and Olympic points.
Woods didn’t offer any explanation why he won’t tee it up in the first WGC event of 2020, a place where he tied for 10th last year but finished 13 shots off the lead. He said all week (and reiterated again Friday afternoon) that he hadn’t yet made a decision, then simply let the commitment deadline pass without any statement. His no-show is the most curious – especially in an Olympic year – but load management is a bigger issue for the 44-year-old Woods than most.
For the rest of the skipping stars, it’s worth offering some context.
Koepka’s record at Club de Golf Chapultepec is dismal: No finish better than 27th in two appearances, and he’s playing the following week at his hometown Honda Classic.
Fowler has never cracked the top 15 there, either, and as a past champion he’s also signed up for Honda, in addition to Bay Hill and The Players.
Rose? Never better than 37th, and he skipped in 2019, too.
Stenson? A tie for 54th last year, after a no-show in 2018.
Day? Never played the WGC-Mexico, and perhaps never will.
Cantlay finished sixth there last year (11 shots back) but now will likely sit out until The Players. A message with his management team asking for an explanation wasn’t immediately returned.
A quirky course that plays 7,500 feet above sea level clearly isn’t for everyone, nor does it fall during an ideal time in the schedule. This week’s Genesis Invitational featured nine of the top 10 players in the world – the strongest non-major and non-WGC/Players field since 2007 – and many top players prefer to get in a start in Florida before heading north to The Players.
That adds up to a WGC without seven top players.