Dan Box
By Dan Box

With most people in the UK experiencing either terrible weather or lockdowns in the first couple of months of 2021, golfers haven't had the best of luck so far.

On the other side of the Atlantic, however, things are starting to look up. The Masters is just six weeks away, The Players takes place in just a fortnight, and this week is the first of the year's WGC events which comes after a thrilling trio of preceding tournaments.

WGC-Workday Championship Preview

If you've spent your last three Sunday evenings in front of the TV watching Brooks Koepka's late charge in Phoenix, Daniel Berger's finish at Pebble Beach and that dramatic playoff between Max Homa and Tony Finau, not to mention the resurgence of Jordan Spieth, then the chances are you'll already be excited about the prospects of even bigger tournaments just on the horizon.

WGC-Workday Championship Preview

That starts this week with the WCG Workday Championship. Usually the first WGC event of the year takes place at Chapultepec in Mexico, but Covid has put a stop to that. Instead, the event has become the WGC Workday Championship and will take place at The Concession, a Jack Nicklaus/Tony Jacklin design in south-west Florida.

Last Year

In Mexico in 2020 it was Patrick Reed who prevailed to win his second WGC event thanks to a closing round of 67. Justin Thomas had started the round with a one-shot lead but sloppy play on the front nine, followed by a double-bogey on the 10th, derailed his chances.

Bryson DeChambeau pushed him all the way with a round of 65, but Reed was able to seal the deal with three late birdies on the spin, including one on the 17th which produced a trademark celebration...

Jon Rahm, who had shot a stunning round of 61 on Saturday, finished in a tie for third place with South African Erik van Rooyen, while Rory McIlroy rounded out the top five.

The Course

The Concession Golf Club was first opened in 2006, and gets its name from one of the Ryder Cup's most iconic moments which feature the course's two designers, Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin.

WGC-Workday Championship Preview

During the 1969 Ryder Cup, Nicklaus chose to concede a two-foot putt to Jacklin in order to produce the first tie in the event's history, an act which has since been regarded as one of the greatest examples of sportsmanship the game has seen.

The incident was dubbed 'The Concession', and when the two paired up to come up with the course design, it seemed the only logical option.

Situated just outside Tampa, Florida, The Concession is a par 72 which measures just under 7,500 yards and features over six dozen bunkers and plenty of water, meaning that there is enough danger to keep the players honest across this 'naturally Floridian' layout.

WGC-Workday Championship Preview

There are four reachable par 5s, and the 12th tee can also be pushed up to make it driveable too, so don't be surprised to see low scoring which favours the bigger hitters - aka, every other week on the PGA Tour!

The Field

This week's event features 48 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings, who automatically receive an invitation, including all of the Top 15.

WGC-Workday Championship Preview

The favourite is Dustin Johnson, who is currently the best player in the world and looks to be in stellar form as usual despite a slightly disappointing Sunday at the Genesis Invitational.

Bryson DeChambeau is bound to make the headlines too, whether it's good or bad, although he should arrive back to the property with happy memories after winning an NCAA event here back in his college days in 2015. The event also featured the likes of Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele.

WGC-Workday Championship Preview

From a European perspective, the race for Ryder Cup points is already seriously hotting up with the likes of Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton all enjoying hot starts to the season.

Of course, no tournament preview is complete without a mention of Tiger Woods, who was already set to miss this week's event to continue his rehabilitation from a December back surgery. Woods is now recovering hospital after being involved in a single-car collision on Tuesday morning in California which left him with multiple leg injuries.

Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery for the GOAT!

Golfalot Tips

Bryson DeChambeau @ 20/1

WGC-Workday Championship Preview

Bryson arrives at The Concession off the back of a missed cut at Riviera where driving was a serious problem - he barely hit a fairway across the two days. But Riviera is a fiddly golf course whereas this week should give him a little more license off the tee and should probably suit his game better. Both he and Rahm played well here in the NCAA event in 2015, with Bryson running out as the winner, and his odds are twice as long as the Spaniard's which could look very generous come Sunday evening.

Brooks Koepka @ 25/1

A four-time major winner, who won in Phoenix just a couple of weeks back, who lives in Florida, priced at 25/1? That sounds a little too good to turn down. Koepka's form has been a little up and down over the last 12 months or so but he looks to have recovered from previous injury troubles and ready to challenge DJ for that top spot in the world rankings. Picking up another WGC title would go a long way to helping with that.

Matt Fitzpatrick @ 60/1

WGC-Workday Championship Preview

The Concession is known for its incredibly tricky green complexes, with very undulating surfaces and plenty of runoff areas if you don't land your ball in the right spot. So who better to deal with this than arguably the game's best putter in Matt Fitzpatrick? Now up to a career-high 16th in the world thanks to a win in Dubai and T5 at the Genesis, the Englishman's game is in good shape and he could be a smart outside bet.

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