‘This is huge for Mexican golf’: Abraham Ancer knows Mexico Open at Vidanta is big opportunity for golf in his country

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Abraham Ancer hasn’t played since the Masters, but for good reason.

“I tweaked my back a little bit, so doctor told me to take it easy for a couple weeks,” Ancer said during his Tuesday press conference prior to the start of this week’s Mexico Open at Vidanta. “I went to the Masters with really not much practice. I wasn’t going to skip the Masters, so I convinced my doctor to let me go.

“Had two weeks before here to really, really get healthy and get back out there, get stronger. Thankfully, I feel 100 percent physically.”

Through nine events in 2022, Ancer has claimed just one top 30, a fifth-place finish at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. In stroke play events, his best week ended with a tie for 33rd (The Players).

So, not the year he was hoping for.

Mexico Open: Thursday tee times | PGA Tour Live on ESPN+

However, there wouldn’t be a more fitting place to get back on track for the native of Mexico than Vidanta Vallarta. Despite his goals for the week, he also understands how important it is to have the world’s best players down south.

“It’s huge having two PGA Tour events in our country,” he said. “I think it’s really important. It creates more awareness for the whole country to watch a little bit of golf played in our country, which is not very common, but slowly it’s getting a lot more popular.”

“It also creates opportunities for more Mexicans not only to play an event in our country and to experience what playing at this level is, and the lessons you learn in an event like this are priceless.”

This week, 10 players from Mexico will tee it up — a record for a PGA Tour event. Ancer, although he does believe it’s a great opportunity to compete, knows this week can serve as a learning experience for the younger guys, even if it ends on Friday.

“What I would just say to them is just to learn as much as they can,” Ancer advised. “Obviously you come out here and you want to win the event and you want to finish really good, but even if you have a bad week, you should definitely learn what you need to get better at.

“It’s going to help you so much down the line.”

Ancer’s last and lone win on the PGA Tour came at the 2021 WGC-FedEx St. Jude, but he has accumulated four top-10s since, including a T-7 at this season’s World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba (the other PGA Tour event held in Mexico).

Since 2017, Ancer has finished T-21 or better in every installment of the Mayakoba event, including three top-10s.

A win in his home country this week wouldn’t just be his second Tour victory, but a dream come true.

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2022 Mexico Open at Vidanta odds, field, best bets and PGA Tour picks