OHL Classic at Mayakoba preview

Charley Hoffman is defending champion at El Camaleon GC in Playa del Carmen

Charley Hoffman defends OHL Classic at Mayakoba
Charley Hoffman defends OHL Classic at Mayakoba
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour heads to Mexico’s Riviera Maya this week for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Charley Hoffman is defending champion at El Camaleon GC in Playa del Carmen.

This is the penultimate regular PGA Tour event of the 2015 portion of the wrap-around season. Currently leading the standings is Justin Thomas who was tied third in the Frys.com Open and the winner of the CIMB Classic. He’s closely followed on the points list by Kevin Na and Russell Knox. The Scotsman, who won last week’s HSBC Champions tournament, is the only one of the top-three who will start in Mexico.

Matt Kuchar is the top-ranked player teeing it up at El Camaleon and he’s joined by a host of star players including: Keegan Bradley, Angel Cabrera, Graeme McDowell and Davis Love III.

Graeme McDowell on playing from the sand:

Designed by Greg Norman, the course at El Camaleon has played host to this event since it was first held in 2007. Set amid the jungle and mangroves with views out to the beautiful Caribbean Sea, it’s one of the most striking venues visited by the PGA Tour.

The first six editions of the tournament were contested alongside the WGC-Accenture Match Play in February. As such they didn’t attract particularly strong fields. As of 2013, the event has been shifted to the autumn and the prize-fund ramped up. This year sees a purse of $6,200,000 and a first prize of $1,100,000. In last year’s tournament Charley Hoffman ended a four-year winless streak, coming back from three behind to beat Shawn Stefani by a stroke.

The weather forecast doesn’t look great. It’s almost certain to rain and thunderstorms are a distinct possibility.

Venue: El Camaleon GC, Playa del Carmen, Mexico Date: Nov 12-15 Course stats: par 71, 6,987 yards Purse: $6,200,000 Winner: $1,100,000 Defending Champion: Charley Hoffman (-17)

TV Coverage: Thursday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm Friday 13– Sky Sports 4 from 6pm Saturday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm Sunday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm

Player watch:

Jason Bohn – He has a good record at Mayakoba – two top-10 finishes in his last two starts. He’s also been showing fine form on the PGA Tour – he was tied 3rd in the Frys.com Open and tied 2nd at the Shriners.

Matt Kuchar – Mr Consistent, Kuchar hasn’t played in this event since 2008. But he was tied third that time out. He’s the top-ranked player in the field and it would be a surprise if he didn’t feature.

Patton Kizzire – Leading money winner on last year’s Web.com Tour, Kizzire has already showed he has what it takes to mix it on the main circuit. He has made two starts so far and has been tied 2nd and tied 4th. He’s going to win sooner rather than later.

Key hole: 12th. A long par-4 of 451 yards, this testing hole plays back into the prevailing wind. Approach shots must be accurate as the green is small, raised and sloping. Anything just off line will roll off the surface. Statistically, this tends to be the toughest hole on the course.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?