The first World Golf Championship event of the year is here and 77 players, including 49 of the top 50 in the world, are in Mexico City ready to tee it up Thursday at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
Play gets underway on Thursday morning at 11.03am local time with the only two ball of the day, Brendan Steele and Mackenzie Hughes, teeing off on the first hole.
Among the marquee tee times off the first hole is the 12.31pm group of Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker and Louis Oosthuizen. Mickelson won this event in wire-to-wire fashion back in 2009, while Snedeker and Oosthuizen are yet to add a WGC title to their résumés.
Behind them off the first is Tyrrell Hatton, Branden Grace and Russell Knox. Hatton arrives in Mexico on the back of nine straight top 25 finishes worldwide including a win at last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. This time last year Hatton was ranked outside the top 100 in the world but will tee it up Thursday ranked 17th, one spot ahead of Grace and two ahead of Knox.
Fans will no doubt be setting reminders to make their way to the opening hole at 12.53am local time as Henrik Stenson tees off alongside Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott. The Australian won the title last year and has finished inside the top 15 in 11 of his last 12 worldwide starts, dating back to last August. Stenson can nearly match that form with six straight top ten finishes, while Spieth will be looking to join his playing partners with his first WGC title having finished third in his last World Golf Championship outing at the Bridgestone last year.
Olympic Gold Medalist Justin Rose sets off in the penultimate group on the first tee at 1.04pm with Alex Noren and Patrick Reed for company. The trio have ten wins to their name in the last two seasons but arrive in Mexico with just one top three finish between them this season.
Meanwhile, starting on the back nine, all eyes will be on Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama when they tee off at 11.36am Thursday morning. The top three ranked players in the field with battle for the early advantage, with two of the four WGC trophies in their possession: Johnson at the WGC Bridgestone and Matsuyama the WGC HSBC Champions.
Three recent winners make up the 11.47am tee time on the 10th tee in the form of Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas. All have won in impressive style in recent weeks across the world but none of the three have won a World Golf Championship.
Elsewhere, Ryder Cup teammates Matthew Fitzpatrick and Rafa Cabrera Bello will walk the fairways alongside Kevin Kisner, starting on the first hole at 12.09pm on Thursday. Finally, Australia’s Sam Brazel will make his WGC debut with Thorbjorn Olesen and Daniel Berger for company at 11.25am.