WGC Workday Championship at The Concession: 2021 betting preview

Jun 26, 2020; Cromwell, Connecticut, USA; Xander Schauffele tees off on the 6th during the second round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The WGC Workday Championship at the Concession is a mouthful to say, but it wasn’t always like this. The event used to be known as the WGC Mexico until this season when the PGA had to make quick plans to change the venue due to Covid-19. Before that though the event used to be a Florida mainstay, played at the Doral venue which featured a ton of water and some of the toughest conditions on Tour. The event has remained a WGC since then but will move back to its native roots in Florida this year and be held at Concession Golf Club (they even put it in the title), a Jack Nicklaus designed venue that is located just South of Florida. 

Like most WGC events (outside of the Matchplay) this week’s tournament is a limited field no-cut event that features 72 of the world’s best. There’s some interesting qualification procedures that often see lesser known International players get entry but the meat and potatoes here is that the top-50 players all get invites and with the added money up for grabs (and free paycheck) most end up attending. This season only Tiger Woods and Paul Casey have skipped the event (Tiger due to injury) so we have a full setting here in terms of the top players. 

Last year, the winner was Patrick Reed, but of course that win came at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico, a venue we likely won’t see for a while. This event has seen plenty of big names take the crown here as Phil Mickelson (x2), Patrick Reed (x2), Dustin Johnson (x3), and Tiger Woods (x7) are all multiple time winners. It’s an event that has catered to the big names and with this loaded a field and multiple players looking primed for big weeks, we should again expect an elite to take this one down. 

Workday Championship course details

The Course

  • The Concession Golf Club • Bradenton, Fla 
  • 7,474 yards Par 72
  • Field Size: 72 players
  • Purse and Winner’s Prize: $10.5 Million (first = 1.82 million)
  • Greens: TifEagle Bermuda 
  • Fairway: TifEagle Bermuda
  • Rough: TifEagle Bermuda
  • Architect: Jack Nicklaus with Tony Jacklin (2006)

Past Champions 

  • 2020 – Patrick Reed (19-under)*
  • 2019 – Dustin Johnson*
  • 2018 – Phil Mickelson*
  • 2015 NCAA Finals – Bryson DeChambeau (played at Concession) 

*Played as WGC Mexico at different venue

Concession is a venue designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin that’s located in SouthWest Florida just under Tampa Bay. The two men are famous for the “concession” Nicklaus made to Jacklin in the 1969 Ryder Cup, hence the course’s name. Designed in 2006, Concession certainly feels like a bigger, modern golf course when you look upon it from overhead and from first look it should play somewhat similar to many other Florida venues we see. Water comes into play on at least 12 of the holes but the venue isn’t set by the ocean or anything and there’s plenty of other natural obstacles like trees and wetlands that offer trouble for the players if their drives get too far offline.

As far as setup goes, the venue plays as a traditional Par 72 with four Par 5’s, each of which play 550-yards or longer. None of these holes look like they’ll be pushovers either and the Par 5-seventh hole is even listed as the number one handicap on the scorecard. While there’s a drive-able Par 4 and five Par 4’s that measure in between 400-450 yards, the forced carries off the tee over water, and tree-lined fairways, are likely going to make many of those holes play much trickier than yardage suggests. The green complexes are also guarded by lots of natural bunkering and the Bermuda greens are smaller than average at around 6,000 sq. ft (average size). 

There does appear to be some pretty big landing spots for players who dare to take aggressive lines off the tee this week and that should play into the hands of the big hitters. The longer Par 5’s here and small greens means OTT and TTG play should be emphasized here again and I’d expect this course to be stingy with the birdie opportunities, much like some of its sister courses in the state, like Copperhead and PGA National. It’s a new venue so we don’t have stats to back our claims here but solid Tee to Green play combined with players who are bringing in sharp around the green games–and are capable of avoiding big numbers for long stretches–will likely be the ones who find success here. 

There does appear to be some pretty big landing spots for players who dare to take aggressive lines off the tee this week and that should play into the hands of the big hitters. The longer Par 5’s here and small greens means OTT and TTG play should be emphasized here again and I’d expect this course to be stingy with the birdie opportunities, much like some of its sister courses in the state, like Copperhead and PGA National. It’s a new venue so we don’t have stats to back our claims here but solid Tee to Green play combined with players who are bringing in sharp around the green games–and are capable of avoiding big numbers for long stretches–will likely be the ones who find success here. 

WGC Workday Championship betting discussion and picks

From an odds perspective, here is where the last four winners of this event generally went off, from an outright perspective, pre-event for the year of their win:

  • 2020 – Patrick Reed +4000
  • 2019 – Dustin Johnson +1000
  • 2018 – Phil Mickelson +2000
  • 2017- Dustin Johnson +700

WGC events tend to be dominated by the cream of the crop and this one is no different. Last year, Patrick Reed became the biggest winner of this event in a handful of years at 40-1. Even going back to the old WGC Cadillac event held at Doral, the event was often won by the elites with Dustin, Phil, Tiger and Adam Scott all holding recent wins there. The theme for this and most WGC’s is “don’t stray too far off the beaten path” and make sure to include a few big names in your outright cards.  

Betting favorites to win the 2021 WGC Workday Championship

Dustin Johnson +700

Dustin comes in off another solid week where he finished T8 at the Genesis. It was a poor Sunday for DJ but he can be somewhat forgiven given the run he’s been on and the fact it was a condensed final two rounds. He’s won this week’s event three-times already and likely will be somewhere near the lead here again on Sunday.

Jon Rahm +1000

Rahm looks like he may be ready to make another run for a win soon and reward his new sponsor Calloway with some good press. The equipment switch this year hasn’t slowed him much and he’s now gained +4.0 strokes or more with his irons in his last two starts. The Ball-striking is heating up so it’s just a matter of time. 

Xander Schauffele +1400

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Schauffele made another cut and put in another solid finish last week as he landed in T15 at Riviera. His price kind of stinks though considering the names under him in the odds this week. We gave him a chance last week but i’m not inclined to go back to the well here. 

Justin Thomas +1400

Thomas had a tough go of it at Riviera as he lost strokes across the board, including -5.8 strokes putting, over just two rounds. Off the course stuff may have finally seeped into his game and I’d personally wait till we see a bit of a break or uptick again before committing at these prices. 

Patrick Cantlay +1700

Cantlay is playing great golf right now. He fell off a bit on the weekend once it was obvious he wasn’t going to catch the leaders but still gained strokes everywhere (again) except on the greens. He’s still my favorite Masters futures target and could be considered here at these odds. Ultimately, Cantlay made my shortlist but I’m rolling with two other names in this region this week (see below). 

Favorite bets (each-ways and outrights)

For more info on types of golf bets available each week, be sure to check out more info here. Each way bets refer to bets that include a bet to win and a bet to place (usually to at least top-5 but sometimes are available up to top-8 or more).

Rory McIlroy +1600 or better (outright)

I think the best way to handle Rory at this point is ignore him anytime his odds get pushed down below +1500 and think about taking a shot with him once he pops back above. Coming off a bad missed cut at Riviera (he was +7 after Friday) Rory’s odds are back up into that bettable range I mentioned and he again looks too tempting for me to pass on. Rory’s main issue at Riviera was on the greens where he lost an incredible -4.3 strokes putting over just two rounds and while his ball-striking numbers weren’t great either, that kind of failure to launch on the greens often seeps into the rest of the game quickly. 

Rory’s been a great Florida player throughout his career though, landing three wins in the state already (Honda, Arnold Palmer and PLAYERS) and he carries significantly positive putting splits on Bermuda greens over his career–+8 to 9 strokes more on Bermuda than all other surfaces. Concession looks like it may cater to big hitters off the tee, much like the old Doral venue, and it seems like a good place and event for Rory to get his mojo back. While it’s easy to forget, Rory was in contention in his first start of the season in Abu Dhabi (where he finished T3) so he does fit our main trend of the week for outrights. WGC’s are typically dominated by these big names and with a couple extra days off, starting betting cards with Rory at these prices seems like a heady move to me. 

Bryson DeChambeau +1800 or better (outright)

Given that we’re at a WGC event that has typically been dominated by the big names, I’m going to double down in this region this week. Concession’s a big golf course with forced carries over water but it also has plenty of big landing spots that the best drivers in the game will likely be able to utilize to their advantage. Bryson is more familiar with this venue than most, having won here in the NCAA final in 2015, and he also has a strong Florida record in the pros, which includes two top-5’s at Bay Hill, another venue with wider fairways and plenty of forced carries over water. 

Bryson walking down the fairway
Bryson DeChambeau celebrates after making a birdie at No. 17 during the fourth round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Sunday, July 5, 2020.

While his first round back on the PGA last week was a flop, he really cleaned things up in his second round, gaining over +1.0 strokes ball-striking and +3.2 strokes ATG. If we’ve learned anything from Bryson over the last six months it’s not to doubt him when he’s coming off a slow week or rest period. He’s now won five-times on the PGA over the last two and half years and with his odds back into more favourable territory, and a familiar venue that should cater to big bombers, I like getting on him here as well. 

SungJae Im +3400 or better (each-way)

Im’s play has shot into a different gear since the end of 2020, when he landed an impromptu T2 finish at Augusta. The South Korean comes into this week ranked 11th in SG: OTT stats over the last 50-rounds and has now gained +2.5 strokes or more putting in each of his last three starts. His confidence with the putter is a great sign going into a big event where par saves could be key and, like Rory and Bryson, the switch to the Gator state could be a great thing for his chances of picking up a WGC title here. 

Im picked up his first PGA win in Florida last year at the Honda Classic and also put in a T3 at the Arnold Palmer. Like Rory, he’s also got extremely strong Bermuda splits in his putting stats and has also put in a top-5 already this season at the season ice-breaker in Maui at the TOC. A solid fit to our main trend and a great fit for the Florida swing, I don’t mind the odds we’re getting to take a shot on SungJae this week. 

Jason Day +5000 or better (each-way)

I’ve got a fever baby, and the only cure is more Jason Day! I am admittedly starting to feel like Christopher Walken in the famous SNL “Don’t Fear the Reaper” sketch whenever I bring up Jason Day, but I can’t overlook the value we’re getting on him at +5000 or better here. Day’s proven he’s up for challenging in these tougher events–he finished T6 at the last WGC and T4 at the PGA Championship last year–and is also a two-time winner in Florida at both Bay Hill and Sawgrass. 

A T6 finish at Pebble was marked by sharper work around and on the greens and if he can bing the same level of ball-striking we saw from him at the WMPO last month (where he gained +2.5 strokes with his irons) his elite scrambling and putting could be the difference maker on a week where bogey avoidance could be key. He’s worth a crack here for both the place and outright at these odds.  

Christiaan Bezuidenhout +10000 or better (each way) and +300 top-20

We don’t get many longshot winners in these WGC events but the likes of Shane Lowry (WGC Bridgestone in 2015) and Russell Knox (WGC China in 2015) have proven it can be done. Bezuidenhout is an immensely talented South African with a short game that has proven it can withstand the toughest tests in the world, especially after his Andalucía Masters win which was held at Valderrama–one of the most notoriously tough courses in the world. 

He won twice on the Euro Tour in South Africa at the end of 2020 and has already massed four starts in 2021, two of which have yielded top-20’s. Bexuidenhout has also shown improved ball-striking over last year which could help him back a bigger push on the PGA in 2021. He posted a Top-20 at the last WGC in Memphis and also grabbed a T18 at Bay Hill in 2020, so his Florida experience isn’t nil. I like taking a shot on him at these odds and the top-20 looks especially enticing given the tough kind of scoring week that could be in store here. 

Puerto Rico Open Betting Preview

We have two events going on this week so I figured I’d share a couple of thoughts on the Puerto Rico Open here too. The event features a blend of PGA pros and Korn Ferry Tour players. Thomas Pieters and Emiliano Grillo are the top favorites here but the likes of Matt Wallace, Byeong Hun An and Ian Poulter are here too so it’s a decent field this time around. 

Winners here have been a blend of long-shot veteran players like DA Points-2018 or Alex Cjeka-2015 or younger stars using the easier field for a breakthrough win–think Viktor Hovland-2020 and Tony Finau-2016. I’ve targeted a couple of younger up and coming stars here in Justin Suh and Will Gordon who should find the easier off the tee setup good for making birdies. Gordon was T20 here last year while Suh also played here last season and missed the cut, but has shown more promise on the PGA since then. A win would be huge at this point for either player to confirm their status as full members. 

After them I’ve targeted a bag of veterans at bigger prices for each-ways, players who all have shown either a touch of form or have solid course history at this event. Rob Oppenheim and Roberto Castro both finished top-20 here last year while Peter Uihlein has multiple top-10’s at this event. Michael Kim is a shot in the dark longshot based on him showing improved ball-striking of late. It’s a hard event to handicap but has produced a lot of winners at big odds over the years. 

Doubles (outright parlays)

Rory/Suh; Rory/Gordon; Bryson/Suh; Bryson/Gordon

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