“The Caddie Line” is a weekly feature from The Caddie Network, a new venture looking to bring a fresh voice to the world of golf that features some of the most knowledgeable people in the game: the caddies.
The Caddie Line shares three picks from three anonymous Tour caddies to help you with your fantasy and betting choices each week.
The PGA Tour heads south of the border this week for the WGC-Mexico Championship – the first World Golf Championships event of the calendar year.
One year ago, a 47-year-old Phil Mickelson ended a winless drought that dated back to 2013, when he fired a final-round 66 and ultimately defeated Justin Thomas on the first hole of a playoff.
Mickelson – having won again just two weeks ago at Pebble Beach for the fifth time in his career – will be in Mexico for his title defense.
The star-studded field this week also includes Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Tommy Fleetwood, Jordan Spieth and more.
So which player will hoist the hardware come Sunday evening?
Our caddies on the ground think they have a beat on how it will all play out. To protect their identity, three caddies have turned in three, anonymous picks. Here’s who they like and why…
- Justin Thomas. “JT lost in a playoff to Phil Mickelson here last year and tied for fifth in the tournament the year before that. So, he obviously plays well here. Couple that with his runner-up finish in LA on Sunday (which could have been a ‘W’ if not for a rough double bogey-bogey, two-hole stretch on the back nine) and I think he has to be the favorite.”
- Bryson DeChambeau. “It seems as though his game travels exceptionally well. Along with his five PGA Tour wins, Bryson also won the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic in January. Now he has a chance to claim victory in a third different country. He’s probably the hottest player on the planet right now. Last week’s T15 at the Genesis Open was his WORST finish in four PGA Tour starts this season. He’s all the way up to No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking and there’s no reason to think it won’t continue to trend even higher.”
- Phil Mickelson. “Defending champ coming off a recent win? No brainer in my mind. Phil’s ageless, what can I say? It’s super impressive to stay this competitive at his age.”
- Jon Rahm. “Since the start of the new year, Rahm has pegged it in five tournaments on the PGA Tour and finished inside the top 10 at each of them. It’s still very early in his career, but in the last two years, Rahm has managed to snag a victory early on. In 2017, it was Torrey Pines. Last year, it was Palm Springs. With the way he’s playing along with what he’s done in the previous two years, it feels like it’s about time he breaks through for another win… and he did finish T3 on this course two seasons ago.”
- Gary Woodland. “Woodland is enjoying an outstanding season thus far, having already racked up a career-best tying six, top-10 finishes (in eight starts). You have to go all the way back to 2011 to find the last season in which Woodland had six top 10s. He’ll head to Mexico after a two-week break from the Tour, so he should be fresh and ready to go.”
- Justin Thomas. “He was so close in LA on Sunday and so close in Mexico last year, losing in a playoff to Phil. He’ll be in the mix for sure.”
- Dustin Johnson. “With current world No. 1 Justin Rose not playing this week, DJ looks hungry to get his No. 1 spot back and this is a great opportunity. He won there two years ago. He can take advantage of his length on this course. On some holes — with the high altitude in Mexico City — his great distance control with his wedges will be key to win this tournament again.”
- Justin Thomas. “He’s obviously in great form right now. Having lost in a playoff last year in this event against Phil and having lost last week at Riviera after leading by four heading to the final round, JT will be hungry to win again ASAP.”
- Tiger Woods. “His late commitment to the tournament shows how much he’d like to win it. His impressive third round last week at Riviera shows that his game is in good shape. Tiger is Tiger and he would not surprise anyone if he wins this week.”
T.J. Auclair is the Director of Content for The Caddie Network and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 70 major championships.