Scotsman Willie Smith won the 5th edition of the US Open in 1899 by the incredible margin of eleven shots. Five years later, he moved to Mexico City, to take up an appointment as club professional at the Country Club of Mexico City.
Tasked with fashioning the course at Chapultepec during the Mexican Revolution, Smith unfortunately passed away before the work was finished and so his brother Alex (who also won the US Open in 1906 and 1910) completed the project in 1921.
The Mexican Open was inaugurated in 1944 and fourteen of the annual events were held here up until 1960 so the course is a historically important golf site. Since then, the club has hosted the competition on several occasions in the more modern era.
Ed Byman claimed the title in 1974, Ben Crenshaw pipped Ray Floyd in 1981, Jay Haas held off a strong challenge by Ed Fiori to win in 1991 and Colombian Óscar David Álvarez Orrego managed a narrow one-shot victory in 2015.
Percy Clifford, who designed literally dozens of Mexican courses during his career, carried out alterations to the layout in 1972 so today’s course bears little resemblance to the one that was originally envisaged by the Smith brothers almost a century ago.
Highlight holes on the modern day layout include the long par four 4th, which plays downhill and doglegs to the left, and the uphill, par five 6th. On the back nine, the uphill closing holes at 15, 16 and 17 provide a particularly testing end to the round.
Club de Golf Chapultepec reappeared on centre stage in 2017 as host venue of the WGC-Mexico Championship. The tournament, formerly sporting Cadillac branding, moved across the border from the Blue Monster at Trump National Doral in Florida to Mexico City.
Dustin Johnson won the 2017 event and Phil Mickelson ended a 4½-year tournament drought to claim the 2018 title. Johnson comfortably reclaimed the 2019 title, cruising to five shot victory over runner-up Rory McIlroy.
Graeme McDowell qualified for the 2020 tournament at Chapultepec (his first WGC event since 2016) and the Northern Irishman commented as follows: “It’s the first time seeing the golf course for me and it’s a great track. It reminds me a little of Valderrama and obviously you've got the altitude so the ball goes a long way.”