Only the best players on the PGA Tour qualify for the big-money, limited-field World Golf Championships events, and the first one of the new year tees off Thursday.
The Workday Championship at The Concession will take place in Bradenton, Fla. – not far from where the Raptors are playing their home games in Tampa this NBA season and where the Blue Jays hold spring training and will play their 2021 MLB regular-season schedule in Dunedin (at least to start the year will play there). Dustin Johnson is favoured on the golf odds.
This tournament usually is played at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City but was shifted to Florida due to COVID-19 concerns. The Tour has every intention of returning to Mexico in 2022. Needless to say, it’s going to be tough handicapping this tournament with no course history to use as a guide.
The Concession course name has a backstory to it as it was designed by designed by Jack Nicklaus in association with fellow Hall of Famer Tony Jacklin. Nicklaus conceded a 2-foot putt to Jacklin on the final hole of the 1969 Ryder Cup. That gesture, known as “the concession,” guaranteed the first tie in Ryder Cup history. Bryson DeChambeau won the individual title in the 2015 NCAA Championship at The Concession. It’s a par 72 at nearly 7,500 yards.
Because it’s a limited field, there is no cut. There are a few guys who qualified to play but aren’t for various reasons, including the injured Tiger Woods.
The defending champion of this tournament is American Patrick Reed even though he bogeyed the 72nd hole last year. Reed finished one shot up on DeChambeau. Reed’s birdie on the 15th and DeChambeau’s bogey at No. 17 put them in a tie at 17 under. Reed’s next two birdies gave him a two-stroke lead heading into the final hole so he was able to withstand the bogey there. Reed led the field in the tournament with 98 putts. Justin Thomas entered the final round with a one-shot lead but posted a 73 to drop to T6.
Reed also won this tournament when it was held on the other side of Florida in 2014 at Doral – which of course is now owned by former U.S. President Donald Trump. In addition to Reed, four players have won this event multiple times: Tiger (seven), Dustin Johnson (three), Phil Mickelson (two) and Ernie Els (two). Tiger is still recovering from back surgery.
World Golf Championships – Workday Championship at The Concession Golf Odds
World No. 1 Johnson is the +600 favourite on the golf odds board, and as noted above he won this three times – twice while it was in Mexico and once at Doral. DJ, who has won all four WGC events at least once (WGC slam), finished T8 at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Jon Rahm is +1000 with Rory McIlroy +1400. Rory would complete the WGC slam with a victory here. He surprisingly missed the cut this past weekend in L.A. Rahm finished T5. Xander Schauffele (+1600), DeChambeau (+1800) and Thomas (+1800) round out the favourites. Reed is +2800 to “repeat.” Sunday’s winner in L.A., Max Homa, is +5000.
Mike Weir is the lone Canadian to win this tournament, doing so in Year 2 of it in 2000 when it was called the WGC-American Express Championship. The lone Canadian in the field last year was Corey Conners, who finished T48.
Mackenzie Hughes is the only one playing this year and is +15000. He qualified by finishing Top 30 in FedExCup points last season. There is an opposite-field event in Puerto Rico this week as well for those who didn’t qualify for this one and a few Canadians are teeing it up there.
World Golf Championships – Workday Championship at The Concession Golf Predictions
Johnson is a Top-10 machine so back him for that as well as Tony Finau, who hasn’t been worse than fourth in his past four tournaments. We’ll go with DeChambeau as the winner as at least he has some course familiarity. He comes off a missed cut in L.A. but at least got an early start to trek across the country.