Mexico City, Feb 19 (AFP) Tiger Woods, a 14-time major winner, is paired with Mexico's Abraham Ancer and American Bryson DeChambeau in the first two rounds of the WGC Mexico Championship, organizers announced Monday. Woods, whose 80 career US PGA titles are two shy of Sam Snead's career record, shared 15th in last week's tour event at Riviera and remains a fan favorite at age 43 even though he last won a major crown at the 2008 US Open.
His group was among four featured threesomes announced early for the first two rounds of the matchup at Club de Golf Chapultepec, which will be the first competitive event played by Woods in Mexico. Woods owns a record 18 WGC titles from nine different locations worldwide. DeChambeau has won four of his past 10 worldwide starts, two of them in last year's PGA Tour playoffs.
Ancer won last December's Australian Open and ranks sixth on the list of Internationals team qualifiers for the team showdown later this year in Australia against an American squad to be guided by Woods. Other attention getting trios for the first two rounds will include Rory McIlroy playing alongside Americans Bubba Watson and Brooks Koepka; an all-US group of Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson plus reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed alongside fellow American Rickie Fowler and Spain's Jon Rahm.
Four-time major winner McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who shared fourth at Riviera, has three top-five finishes in 2019 as he aims for a third career WGC title. Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson also owns two WGC victories while three-time major winner Koepka seeks his first WGC triumph. Fowler makes his first start since taking his fifth career PGA victory at the Phoenix Open while Rahm has top-10 finishes in all five prior 2019 starts.
Defending champion Mickelson makes his 600th career PGA Tour start after winning his 44th PGA title two weeks ago at Pebble Beach while Thomas, who lost a playoff to left-hander Mickelson last year in Mexico, boasts the course record at Club de Golf Chapultepec with a 62 and Johnson won WGC Mexico titles in 2015 and 2017. AFP KHS