domingo, abril 21, 2024

World Wide Technology Championship A New Chapter in Los Cabos: A Conversation with Joe Mazzeo

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The golf world is preparing for an unprecedented event as the World Wide Technology Championship debuts against the breathtaking backdrop of Los Cabos. Featuring stunning landscapes, world-class courses, and a legacy of family-friendly enjoyment, this tournament promises a distinctive experience for players and spectators alike. Dana Gimenez, our editor-in-chief, had the privilege of conversing with Joe Mazzeo, the tournament director for our region’s PGA TOUR event, to gain an insider’s perspective on what distinguishes this event and how it all comes together.

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Dana: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your involvement in the tournament?

Joe: I’d be happy to! My name is Joe Mazzeo. I have the privilege of being the tournament director for the World Wide Technology Championship. I’ve worked in golf for a very, very long time, including running this PGA TOUR event since 2007. I’m originally from California, and I’m thrilled to be here in Los Cabos as we’re starting this new chapter for the tournament here at Diamante.

Dana: Why do you think Cabo is the perfect venue for this tournament?

Joe: Los Cabos has turned out to be an incredible place for the tournament. When you think of golf in Mexico you, of course, think of Los Cabos. The number of incredible golf courses that we have in Los Cabos, and particularly El Cardonal in Diamante, have proven that Cabo San Lucas is an awesome venue; not just because of the golf itself but because of everything from amenities to the way the venues are set up for operations and logistics.

The experience for not only the professionals, but for the spectators and the fans, is going to be off the charts because of everything that Los Cabos has to offer as a destination- the beach, the sun, and the gastronomy!

Dana: Diamante is known for its stunning course and beautiful surroundings. How do you think these factors will contribute to the overall involvement of players and nonparticipants during the tournament?

Joe: I think you hit on something that’s absolutely spot on which is the golf course itself and its surroundings. When we talk about the golf course, we talk about the challenges it will present to the professionals, so it’s going to make for an incredible competition. We think of it as a course that is very scenic and very challenging, but it has its opportunities for birdies. I expect to see a competition that’s very fun and very exciting for the spectators. It’s a tough but fair challenge!

That’s what Tiger Woods was aiming for when designing the course, and we all know just how spectacular El Cardonal is! We’re working hard to create an event that’s more han just the competition, but also a true 360 experience; from food, drinks, entertainment, and the opportunity to socialize and network, that’s really what we’re striving for. We’re going to have a lot of action, a lot of energy, and a lot of excitement in a pretty condensed area where you can sort of move and get a taste of everything that’s going on.

So we think it’s going to be good here at El Cardonal and Diamante; for both those professionals who are competing for that 8.2 million-dollar purse and for all those fans who are coming out to enjoy the action!

Dana: As the Tournament Director, could you share some insights into the preparations and logistics involved in organizing a major PGA TOUR tournament like this?

Joe: Running a PGA TOUR event is a very unique and specific sort of task when you consider everything that goes into it. What we’re building, for one week, is a micro-city that can essentially operate by itself when you think of food, beverage, infrastructure, and spaces that we build to be used temporarily.

So, a lot of logistics- everything from constructing temporary structures on the golf course where people will be able to be up high and enjoy the action, to bringing in additional catering, where all the people can come and enjoy the great culinary experiences that Cabo has, to things like going out and recruiting volunteers. The golf tournament depends on about six or seven hundred individuals who participate as volunteers, doing everything from helping us with the scoring of the tournament itself to controlling what we call the galleries and then other logistical and operational things like helping people get from here to there. So there’s a lot of people management in that regard.

Lastly, and of course probably the most important, is making sure that we’re showcasing Mexico, Los Cabos, and Diamante; the beauty of this destination, the ocean, the desert, the climate, the food, the people, the warmth, and the hospitality. Making sure all of those logistical and operational elements tie back into our objective, which is celebrating Los Cabos and Mexico!

Dana: Could you tell us about the golf course and how it presents a unique challenge to the players?

Joe: El Cardonal is going to be a really exciting course to watch the professionals play. It is the first course Tiger Woods designed. It’s really an honor, for me personally, but also for all of us involved with the tournament to be able to stage a PGA Tour event on a course that the greatest golfer of all time designed!

What I think they created when they built El Cardonal is a golf course that harkens back to where Tiger grew up in Southern California. That style of golf course where the desert, the arroyos, and the native vegetation surround the course and come into play a little bit if your ball goes offline. Also, there are a lot of opportunities for birdies out there for these professionals.

These are the best players in the world on the PGA TOUR. The level of talent that they have is off the charts! So, I think we’re going to see both sides of that coin, where you have players who can get out there and hopefully make some birdies. But you’re also going to see some guys struggle. You might see some big numbers out there. That’s what you really want when you talk about a golf course testing professionals.

Dana: Golf technology and data analytics have been making waves in recent years. Are there any tech innovations being incorporated into the tournament, both on and off the course?

Joe: Well, I think that’s a great question and one that is perfectly appropriate given that our title sponsor is World Wide Technology, a Saint Louis-based tech company. When they became the title sponsor of this tournament, they infused a large impulse with the technology in the way that we operate and run the event. A lot of the backup house type of things, in terms of the guest management, the logistics, and the operations are critical in how the world is moving these days. So, we have WWT to thank for the leadership on that front. Within golf, I think there are multiple ways that you’re seeing technology manifesting itself.

For example, data and technology are a big part of the conditioning of El Cardonal. Diamante has a wonderful team, and we’re taking it to another level entirely. Honestly, I know just enough to be dangerous. I’m not an agronomist nor one of the superintendents but a lot of things are done with the soil quality, and the chemicals in the water levels of the different fertilizers and materials to make that golf course pop, from both a visibility and playability standpoint.

Also, it’s a tool for the players themselves with the technology and data that they use for their statistics. Golf, well, it’s a very simple game: whoever puts the ball in the hole with the least number of strokes is the winner. It’s pretty simple but there’s a lot of sophistication in terms of tech; the ball speed, the swing speed, the rotation, the approach, the angles, the yardages. The players are leaning in to get every little advantage, every little edge that they can using devices that enable them to see all their data instantly.

The last is the television broadcast for that viewer who’s at home watching the PGA TOUR. On television, you are seeing that technology that the players themselves have been leaning on and learning from to enhance their game. You’re seeing that incorporated into the broadcast, with things like trackman, shot trackers, and shottracers that show you where the ball is going, where the winds are coming from, and how that affects the play based on all that data that is coming. That’s driven by the Shotlink System, which is the PGA TOUR’s proprietary system. All of that statistical data boils down to the scores. We all know the score but it doesn’t tell the whole story- the stats do.

Dana: Can you share any memorable insights from past editions of the tournament that highlight its unique character?

Joe: As many probably are aware, the tournament has been celebrated in the Riviera Maya for the last 16 years. One of the things that’s always made the event special and noteworthy is the presence of families and the way that the players have embraced this tournament as a bit of a working vacation. We’ve been measured over the years and the WWT Championship is the event that most families attend.

Dana: Can you tell us how the event comes together and who makes it all possible?

Joe: Absolutely! It’s a massive effort from so many different people, but it all starts with our title sponsor WWT, as they’re the force behind making this event a reality. We’re fortunate to have incredible partners. First and foremost, Diamante as our host venue has been absolutely spectacular in preparing the golf course and the entire resort. They’ve welcomed us with open arms, and we found an incredible home here. Additionally, the people from Los Cabos and the tourism promotion board have been good friends and have opened the door for us to become a part of the community!

Dana: What message would you like to send our readers?

Joe: I would love to send the message to the readers that you need to be a part of this! We want to invite everybody to come out and enjoy and experience the PGA TOUR when it arrives here in Los Cabos for the World Wide Technology Championship. We’ve got so much exciting stuff planned! Come on out, get your tickets, and get involved! It’s going to be unlike anything that Los Cabos has ever seen and we’re just so thrilled and honored to be a part of this community.

CHECK THE VIDEO OF THE FULL INTERVIEW!

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