While the World Golf Rankings top-64 (and alternates) are playing in Austin Texas for the World Golf Championships Dell Match Play Championship, many other top players are heading to Puerto Rico for the 2016 Puerto Rico Open in Coco Beach. Let’s take a look at the event that has spring boarded careers and given old veterans a chance to shine again.
The Puerto Rico Open is a tournament that only the hard core golf fan knows about since it buttons up against the Match Play Championship, which will be getting all the TV time on major network and even the golf channel. But for the professionals that make the trip this is still the real deal and for some, a better chance to win a title while the “meat” of the World Golf Rankings are otherwise engaged.
Dates: March 24 -27 2016
Course: Coco Beach Golf and Country Club
Stats: Par 72, 7,569 Yards
Television Coverage (Times):
Thursday: Golf Channel 10:30 – 1:30 PM EST
Friday: Golf Channel 10:30 – 1:30 PM EST
Saturday: Golf Channel 4:30 – 7:00 AM EST, 9:00 PM -12:00 AM EST
Sunday: Golf Channel 5:00 – 7:00 AM EST, 9:00 PM -12:00 AM EST
Purse: $3 million total purse, $540,000 winner share
2016 Puerto Rico Open Predictions, Picks, Sleeper | Coco Beach Swing Holes
Hole No. 15 – Par 5, 600 Yards
Before you sit back and debate whether the top professionals can get home in two let me crush that thought with the following point. This hole almost always plays into the wind which makes it a three shot hole for almost the entire field. Couple that with a waste area to the right that will swallow up a ball and the bunkering to the left to make for a challenging tee shot. The green is a bit of an optical illusion so the caddies will have to remind the professionals to take enough club to get to the green in proper position.
Hole No. 17 – Par 4, 411 Yards
This hole is more about the tee shot and the moment more than anything else. Players may be pressing at this point in the round knowing that only the 18th remains and this hole is guarded off the tee by large bunkers down the left side and water down the right. If the players can navigate the tee shot and take a short mental pause, a short shot will be left to try and make birdie before the home hole comes into play. They should not get ahead of themselves since the green has a reasonable bunker complex that can change the game with a lapse in judgement. Focus on 17 is more than anything since execution will come with this quality of players.
Hole No. 18 – Par 5, 630 Yards
Irony here is that this par-5 is 30 yards longer than the 16th but the chances of getting home in two here are infinitely greater. Unlike 16, this hole plays down wind and the island wind cannot be dismissed. The players will either play a cut off the left rough or a draw from the center to the left side to avoid the bunkers down the right. With the tournament in the balance, players will be playing an approach that is better to be short than long but with adrenaline flowing that can be a challenge. The drama will come built in at the 18th.
2016 Puerto Rico Open Predictions, Picks, Sleeper | Coco Beach Selections
Let’s take a look at three players that I would predict to be right in the hunt at the Puerto Rico Open. Two players will seem more logical than the other but I am adding a player that just might surprise, basically a sleeper for success at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open Predictions, Picks, Sleeper | Coco Beach
|Alex Cejka||Here in 2015 is where he captured his first official PGA Tour victory in a five man playoff in his almost 300th career start. Of course he does have multiple wins on the European Tour. He is coming off two straight made cuts including a top-25 in the Honda Classic and is clearly one of the top choices in the field based on past success alone.|
|Sam Saunders||Here is a name you do not hear every day but at the Puerto Rico Open is fitting. He was part of the monster playoff last year and in fact missed an eight footer that could have extended the playoff. Earlier this year he a bad streak of five straight missed cuts but in two of his last three starts he was tied for 14th at the Honda Classic and tied for 22nd at the Valspar Championship. He gets to play this track for a second time and if he steps forward he could take home the 500k check.|
|John Daly||Talk about the big ole shot in the dark. Big John and all his demons will be in Puerto Rico making his debut on the PGA Tour this year. Do I expect huge things? No but I know that if he finds his groove or anything close, he can make his presence felt. With two par-5s over 600 yards and some other long holes, Big John can come in with zero expectations and set the course a blaze. His short game has been historically under-rated but it is better than many give him credit for. He seems to be out there having a good time and in good weather you never know what might happen. All I know is if he is even 70 percent there then there is a chance and who wouldn't want to see that.|