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WGC-Mexico field adjusting to life, distances at 8,000 feet above sea level

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MEXICO CITY – As Justin Thomas warmed up early Tuesday at the WGC-Mexico Championship he carefully studied each shot. More than perhaps any other week on the PGA Tour, the Mexico stop requires a higher attention to detail because of how much farther the golf ball flies.

At nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, players estimate they fly the golf ball about 15 percent farther in Mexico. It’s particularly extreme for the players, like Thomas, who played last week’s Genesis Open in Los Angeles, which is only 285 feet above sea level and played particularly long because of cold, damp conditions.

Consider the last 48 hours for Thomas.

“A 6-iron at home, I think [he hits it] about 200 yards,” Thomas estimated. “Last week in the mornings when we were warming up for the restarts, we were going about 180 [yards], and this week could be anywhere from 230 to 240 just depending on the height I hit it, how hard I hit it and whatnot.”

That’s a potential 60-yard difference for a single club from one week to the next, but Thomas explained that the real issue in Mexico is trusting how far you’re hitting certain clubs.

“When you're 250 yards away and you look down at your ball and you look up and the pin's that far away, and you look back down and you have a pretty decent lofted iron in your hand,” he said. “Especially a hole like 6, that par 5 where you're hitting over water. You could have 300 yards to the hole and I just pull out a 5-wood and you can't even see anything, you're over water, but if you hit it right, that's the right club.”