We’re already worried about Europe’s best golfer Jon Rahm who has dropped from world No.1 to No.3 after a performance slump that has seen the big Spaniard finish over par on his last three strokeplay starts at the Masters, Players and Arnold Palmer Invitational.
And the worry will turn to serious concern if he fails to dominate a sub-standard field for the Mexico Open at Vidanta. He’s the hot 9/2 favourite in what looks a tournament he would absolutely smash if anything like his old self. But putting problems and regular losses of cool as his fragile temperament explodes have marred his recent golf. There have been a couple of most uncharacteristic 77s in there and backers will be praying that the two-week break since a mid-table 27th at Augusta has restored his golfing smile.
Rahm’s task was made even easier with the Monday withdrawal of second favourite Daniel Berger with a back injury. That removes one of only three other top-25 players in the line-up of 132.
As this 2015 Greg Norman layout at Vallarta is making its PGA Tour bow, it means that everyone bar the locals tees off on a level playing field and quite a big one it is, a 7456-yard par 71 extended 250 yards and 51 new bunkers added, bringing the sand count to 106, in readiness for this debut tournament.
Meandering along the Ameche river, it is reported to be generous of the tee, as most Norman resort courses are, so a dodgy driver like Patrick Reed, past winner of the big WGC tournament in Mexico two years ago, may get away with misdemeanours which have cost him missed cuts at Riviera, Honda and Bay Hill as well as going over par in all four rounds at the Masters, where of course he was a past champion.
Tony Finau is another big name who isn’t living up to his rating. He hasn’t had even a top 20 outside the small-field Tournament of Champions. Then there’s local hero Abraham Ancer who as Mexico’s main hope and the only world top-20 playing outside Rahm is under extra pressure to perform which he has yet to do this year with no top 30s and early exits from the Sony, Valspar and Masters.
So with main rivals toiling, Rahm won’t need to be anything special to win and the main threats may come from surprise sources, newer names who have at least demonstrated a good level of current form.
Wolverhampton’s Aaron Rai is making an impression at top level and his fourth place in the Zurich pairs event was gained without a flashy partner as David Lipsky is pretty ordinary. So that was a good effort from this dual DP World Tour winner who caught the eye when sixth at tough Torrey Pines.
Sharing fourth spot in New Orleans was Valspar runner-up Davis Riley but as he had in Will Zalatoris a classier partner than Rai, it is hard to gauge how much of that good finish was down to him.
The other new name worth your attention is Chad Ramey whose best two 2022 efforts, victory in the Dominican Republic and fifth in Puerto Rico, both came in Central America. The Mississippian also has form in the country he’s in now, going down in the 2021 Mexico Championship only after a playoff in a Korn Ferry tournament. He is also a winner, in Maine, on that satellite circuit and a guy who’s going places.
Some, like Ramey, catch the winning habit early, others like Cameron Tringale are still waiting for their first solo victory after 326 attempts. Yet so solid is this serial loser’s current form that, at 33/1, he’s in the top 15 in the betting. Yes, that’s how weak this Mexican jaunt is.
By process of elimination, past US Open champion Gary Woodland comes into the conversation after top-fives at Honda and Bay Hill and eighth in the Texas Open but there’s always a “but” with this lot and Woodland shot some big numbers in missing the cut in two that most mattered, the Players and the Masters.
Expatriate Scot Russell Knox would also have a shot on his Sawgrass sixth but this course may be too long for him. It’s a puzzle wrapped in a mystery and it’s all up to Rahm, the class act.
Mexico Championship Golf Betting Tips 2022
- 4pts win Jon Rahm at 9/2 (William Hill) 8 places
- 1pt each-way Aaron Rai at 55/1 (Bet365) 5 places
- 1pt each-way Davis Riley at 55/1 (888Sport) 6 places
- 1pt each-way Gary Woodland at 22/1 (William Hill) 8 places
- 1pt each-way Chad Ramey at 70/1 (Bet365) 5 places
Why not try the Spanish double, Rahm in Mexico, Otaegui in Catalunya? At Betfred odds, it pays 155/1 for the win part and if you go each-way, you get paid down to seventh place in each tournament!
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Celebrating my 52nd year tipping and writing about golf. Tipped more than 800 winners (and more than 8000 losers!). First big winner Lee Trevino at 8-1, 1972 Open at Muirfield. Biggest win £40 each-way Ernie Els at 80-1 and 50-1, 2012 Open. Most memorable: Giving the 1-2-3 at 33-1, 50-1, 33-1 out of 4 tips from a field of 180 in 2006 Pebble Beach Pro-Am. According to one bookmaker “Undoubtedly one of the greatest tipping performances of all time”. And, of course, putting up a 150/1 winner with Stewart Cink in my very first column for Golf Monthly. Lowest handicap 9 Present handicap 35.6. Publications tipped for: Sporting Life, Racing Post, Racing&Football Outlook, Golf World, Golf Weekly, Golf Monthly, Fitzdares Times. Check our Jeremy's latest tips at our Golf Betting tips home page
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