The PGA Tour's first expansion south of the border celebrates its 5th birthday this week as the Mayakoba Golf Classic takes place from February 23rd to 27th at the El Camaleón Golf Club in Playa del Carmen,Mexico. The event will be attended by 132 professional golfers and the competition has $3.7 million USD in store for the winner.
The fifth annual Mayakoba Golf Classic began earlier this week in Riviera Maya at the Mayakoba Resort's El Camaleon Golf Club,located just 35 miles south of Cancun along Mexico's stunning Caribbean coast. The 132-player field includes veteran golfers Fred Funk,Brad Faxon and Woody Austin,as well as last year's winner Cameron Beckman and Mexico's favorite,former LGPA No. 1 Lorena Ochoa.
The Mayakoba Golf Classic is the first PGA tour to be held outside of Canada and the US. It has shown steady growth since 2007 and has gained the reputation of being one of the finest events on the entire tour. With the renowned hospitality and warmth of the Mexican people and the exquisite beauty of Playa del Carmen,this year’s event is also expected to be a huge success.
To kick off the celebration for the Mayakoba Golf Classic's fifth anniversary event,Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa,a decorated professional golfer,will join the Mayakoba Pro-Am on Wednesday. This will be the first time that Ochoa will attend the Mayakoba Golf Classic and be part of the event. Traditionally,the event has not been open to the public,but officials of the tournament have extended an invitation via the sale of tournament day tickets.
The El Camaleon Golf Club is a player's dream and was designed by Greg Norman,who spent 331 weeks as the world's number one ranked golfer during the 1980s and 90s. The course includes an impressive cenote cavern,dark green Paspalum grass and limestone canals. In addition,it is defined by three different areas; mangroves,a stretch of pristine beachfront sand and dense jungle. Golfer Paul Stankowski tweeted this week that it,"Might B 1 of the best we play all year!" and Beckman told USA Today that the course this year is in the best shape he's ever seen it.
The fabulous greens are perfectly complemented by the excellent local Mexican cuisine,picturesque setting and colorful culture of the Riviera Maya. In fact,according to Golf PARa Todos (Golf FORE Everyone),the stunning location has even helped to entice a number of spectators who do not actually play golf to watch the event,and this year is no exception. With tourism booming in Mexico and sales of Riviera Maya real estate on the rise,organizers are expecting a strong turnout at Mayakoba again this year.