There's an argument that of the six tournaments comprising the new prelude of the 2013-14 season, the OHL Classic at Mayakoba benefits the most.
All are improved as a result of the revamped wraparound schedule, and the annual stop at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, was already included in the tournaments that contribute to the FedExCup, but it's always big news when an additional event is rewarded a home as a stand-alone event no matter when.
As you'd expect with considerable enhancements, this year's field of 132 is arguably the best in the seven-year history of the event. It will be competing on what was the hardest golf course (of eight) measuring less than 7,000 yards in 2012. El Camaleon is a par 36-35=71 that can top out at 6,987 yards. It averaged 71.651 in 2012 to clinch its second consecutive year as the fifth-most difficult par 71 on the schedule.
El Camaleon played as a par 70 from 2007-2009 before the eighth hole was modified into a par 5. In advance of the 2012 edition, holes 1, 2 and 3 shifted to play as Nos. 7, 8 and 9, respectively, while holes 4-9 slid to 1-6 in order. This was done to help with flow throughout the property. The rearrangement resulted in two par 5s measuring 554 yards in a three-hole stretch (Nos. 5 and 7).
How the course plays in November versus its original slot in February remains to be seen, but rain is expected throughout the week. Temperatures will climb into the mid-80s and ocean breezes are always a factor along the Riviera Maya.
Here are a few players to watch this week at Mayakoba.
Summerhays shared the 36-hole lead lead and held the outright lead after 54 holes last year at this event. Finishing in a tie for fifth. Coming off a T10 at the McGladrey Classic.
Baird has yet another close call last week in Sea Island where he almost won his first PGA Tour event. He returns to El Camaleon a perfect 6-for-6 in cuts, with three top-10 finishes and two top-15 finishes at this event.
This events all-time leading money winner racking up a T20 in 2009 and a T5 in 2011. Heading to Mayakoba with some momentum after his tie for fourth last week in Sea Island.
I'm going with Brown this week as my dark horse pick as he has already finished in the top-5 twice this season, including his T4 finish last week at The McGladrey Classic.