WGC-Workday Championship Betting Preview: Max Homa overcame a missed three-footer on 18 Sunday to beat Tony Finau in a playoff at Riviera which was a little bittersweet as I discussed them both for top 20 and top 10 but was not on the outright. However, it was a successful week with Homa and Finau’s success and watchlist player Matt Fitzpatrick finishing inside the top 5 as well.
This weekend The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida will host the WGC-Workday Championship and many of the top players in the world. Concession checks in at 7,474 yards playing as a par 72 with bermuda greens. Concession will host this event instead of the usual trip to Chapultepec in Mexico City as Covid concerns forced the tournament to be moved this year.
Each of the top 15 players in the Official World Golf Rankings are in the field and many more of the top 50. This is a no-cut event with only 76 players. The criteria for getting into WGC events always means a loaded field and this one is definitely loaded.
The Concession Club got its name from Jack Nicklaus’s concession of a two foot putt in the 1969 Ryder Cup that ended the event in a tie. This is of course a Jack Nicklaus design and it opened in 2006. This will be the first professional event hosted at Concession which means we’re flying blind with strategy around this track. The only real competitive event hosted here was the 2015 NCAA Men’s Division I Championship that Bryson DeChambeau won.
For me I will be looking to other Jack Nicklaus courses to draw some comparisons as course designers tend to have a style. PGA National (Honda Classic) and Muirfield Village (Memorial) are two Nicklaus courses the tour plays regularly and I also think it may help to look to general success in events in Florida like the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Valspar.
One thing we have heard about Concession is from PGA Tour analyst and Concession member Paul Azinger in a GolfDigest article. He mentioned that this course should fit a bomber’s eye and that some of the trouble can be avoided with long carries off the tee. He also mentioned that the greens are small and you need to be in the right spot on the greens.
Factoring in the Florida and Nicklaus course success with really good ball strikers will be my main strategy. Golfers who are good on approach and also hit it longer will be where I go with the limited amount of data we’re working with. Also, some success putting on bermuda is a bonus.
Picks – Outrights
The winner is likely coming from a top 20 player as nearly every stroke play WGC since 2016 has been won by a player ranking inside the top 20 in the OWGR. With Dustin Johnson (+550) being such a huge favorite, it does provide some decent value.
Tyrell Hatton +2250 (BetRivers)
This will be Hatton’s first event in the states since the RSM in November but he has been making hay on the European Tour. Since returning to Europe in the fall, he has finished inside the top 25 in all four starts including a win and two top 10’s.
His game is so solid in every aspect and he continues to improve. He gained strokes off the tee and on approach in eight of his last nine starts on tour as well as gaining strokes putting in his last six. He is the 5th ranked player in the OWGR and being priced like the 9th or 10th best.
Hatton’s game fits nicely anywhere but he showed the ability to win in Florida when he took home the Honda Classic last spring. Hatton has shown the ability to win, he just hasn’t done it in a stacked field yet. I think it comes this week.
Brooks Koepka +2700 (Fanduel)
Shop around to make sure you get the best number here as books are all over the place but I love Brooks this week. He is coming off a ho-hum tie for 38th last week and a win before that in Phoenix. Brooks is clearly a big tournament player and it doesn’t feel like this number is quite capturing the respect he should be getting.
Brooks’ game is coming around since his injury riddled 2020 as he has gained strokes off the tee in five straight tournaments. He also is putting well gaining strokes putting in four of his last five events. Brooks ranks 6th in SG: Approach over the last 36 rounds in this field and top 15 in SG: Putting and Opportunities Gained over that time as well.
Brooks seems to show up when the field and purse are at their peak. This week certainly fits that bill and Brooks is also a Florida native and went to school at Florida State so he has plenty of experience on these types of tracks.
Longshot I like: Justin Rose +7000
Derivative markets are really valuable in these smaller fields with no cut because the odds are so much higher of the placement and the books haven’t seemed to adjust enough. Top 10’s and 20’s are money makers in WGC historically.
Tony Finau +175 (Betrivers)
Finau continues to do everything but win. He is absolutely rolling right now with four consecutive top five finishes. He is consistently gaining strokes in every major category and his putter is even coming around gaining three strokes putting last week.
Finau ranks in the top 15 in this field in essentially every statistic I used in my fantasynational.com model this week. His game has no weakness at this point and he is bound to break through soon. Getting nearly 2-1 odds on a top 10 in a small field seems like stealing.
Longshots I like: Sungjae Im +335 & Adam Scott +400
The odds for the top 20 bets will be reduced because of the small field with no cut but the value is still significant. There are about 10-15 players who got in from weird foreign tours who can be crossed off before it starts, so really a player only has to beat 40 or so players this week to finish in the top 20.
Will Zalatoris +150 (Betrivers)
Zalatoris just keeps performing, especially in big time events. He has played seven PGA Tour events since September finishing in the top 20 in seven of those starts. He is coming off 15th place finish last week in a loaded Genesis Invitational.
Zalatoris is a ball-striking phenom. He has gained strokes on approach in every event besides one on the PGA tour and ranks third in this field over the last 36 rounds in SG: Approach. He is also consistently gaining off the tee and he can really get it out there.
Zalatoris’ one weakness is on the greens but he showed signs of life last week gaining 4.9 strokes putting. Zalatoris has clearly proved he belongs and his ball striking gives him a chance every week.
Matt Fitzpatrick +150 (BetRivers)
Fitzpatrick posted a t-5 last week at the Genesis in his first start in the U.S. in 2021 and gained strokes in every major category doing it. Fitz usually gets it done mostly with the irons and flatstick and now he heads to his best putting surface, bermuda.
Fitzpatrick has two top 10 finishes at the Arnold Palmer and a top five at the Memorial last summer. He should feel comfortable around this course and his ball striking is in good form. Fitzpatrick ranks as the best bermuda putter in this field over the last 36 rounds as well.
Fitz also has a strong history in the WGC events with seven top 20’s in 14 starts including three top 10’s in his last three WGC events. Fitzpatricks’ game seems to be in a good place and he’s undervalued here.
Brooks Koepka +126 over Bryson DeChambeau (Fanduel)
This number just makes no sense to me. I think the fact that Bryson won the NCAA Championship here six years ago must be playing a factor. Today’s Bryson is a much different player and this tournament will be set up much differently for the pros.
Bryson missed the cut last week and his game is just off. He has lost strokes on approach and putting each of the two events since the new year. He ranks 61st in the field in SG: Approach over the last 36 rounds. He just isn’t in form right now.
Brooks on the other hand just won two weeks ago and like I mentioned above is playing really well. Getting a pretty big plus number here in the matchup is really good value.
Bezuidenhout is a younger guy who has played mostly on the European Tour over the last few years. He has played some in the states in majors and WGC events but he is probably relatively unknown to some golf fans. Bezuidenhout has had some decent finishes in his limited experience in WGC events with a top 30 finish in all three he has played.
Bezuidenhout comes into this week in good form. He finished t-38 last fall at the Masters and then won back-to-back European Tour events followed by three straight top 25’s. While the European Tour is certainly weaker, its clear he is playing well.
Bezuidenhout isn’t a long hitter but he makes up for it with great iron and short gameplay. He has gained strokes on approach and putting in eight out of ten tournaments with tracking data. I think this week sets up well for good putters and ball strikers and he has proven he excels there.
Bezuidenhout’s best putting surface has also been bermuda and has a top 25 at both the Memorial and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Bezuidenhout is +250 to finish in the top 20 this week.