World Golf Championships events bring out all the big guns. This year, the WGC event in February will be played as the first event of the Florida swing. The last four WGC events were played as the Mexico Championship. Because of COVID-19, this year’s event will be the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.
This is a Jack Nicklaus design with small greens and big fairways, so the ball strikers should be the ones at the top of your list for the first of four consecutive events that will be played in Florida.
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With a prize purse that needs two commas and 550 FedEx Cup points to the winner, all of golf’s top players are on hand this week. This field is so absurdly strong that we’re even seeing players like Justin Rose at +7000 or a guy like Tommy Fleetwood at +5500. You can get some really good prices on some very good players this week.
That is inevitable when you consider the top of the betting board. Dustin Johnson is the favorite at +525. Jon Ram is +850. After that, the list of players with odds between 11/1 and 30/1 is crazy – Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Webb Simpson, and Brooks Koepka.
Any one of those guys could easily win this tournament. DeChambeau is the only one with formal experience here, having won the 2015 NCAA Men’s Championships by one shot over CT Pan at Concession. Pan is not in the field, as DeChambeau is +1850.
With no course form data, we have to look at some of the hallmarks of this Nicklaus design to figure out how to bet it.
There are a lot of bunkers on this course, which is pretty common for Florida. Luck factors will very much come into play here, as some of the bunkers are pretty deep with sloped faces. Water is in play on quite a few holes, mostly for guys that hit a fade or have a little bit of a slice. The fairways are wide, so there is some increased margin for error and there are four par 5s, but the greens are small.
That means that we’ll be looking for players that have been dialed in with their irons in the SG: Approach department. Bermuda greens are not a favorite for most players. To me, that means that proximity to the hole will be important because the closer you are, the better chance you have of getting a truer roll.
A word of friendly advice – if you like Tony Finau, try +350 for a top-five finish or +175 for a top-10 finish. Don’t ruin your Sunday by needing him to win.
Anyway, we’ve got a loaded field. The goal here is probably just to pick a few players and hope you hit on the right ones. There are so many world-class players and elite ball strikers here that you are really just playing hunches or picking nits to put together a card.
It is also worth noting that we haven’t seen a guy like Justin Thomas as high as +1850 lately. There aren’t many times you can get Brooks Koepka at +2600. Even further down the board, getting Collin Morikawa at +4650 is basically unheard of these days. Fleetwood and Rose were mentioned above. There are some pretty big prices on some excellent players.
Morikawa is one guy on my list this week. He’s third in SG: Approach in his 24 measured rounds. This course looks to have a heavy reliance on iron play and he might be the best pure iron player on the Tour.
A lot of guys head into this event in great form. Finau has three straight second-place finishes. Hovland, Max Homa, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Harris English, Koepka, Berger, Christian Bezuidenhout, Kevin Na, and Patrick Reed have all recently won golf tournaments.
Along with Morikawa, Will Zalatoris makes the cut again at +7000. He’s got three top-20 finishes in his last four events. He’s going to get one. I don’t know if this is the one with an elite field, but I don’t think +1100 for a top-five finish of +450 for a top-10 finish is out of the question.
Kevin Kisner is +10000 and likes putting on Bermuda a lot more than most players. Or at least he’s had more success doing it. He wouldn’t be bad in matchups or at +225 for a top-20 finish.
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