The European Tour’s Race to Dubai restarts this week for the WGC - Workday Championship at The Concession. The first WGC of the season boasts an impressive list of World-class players, but who will be crowned champion, and who should you have in your Fantasy team?
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The World Number Two heads to Florida fresh from a top-five finish at the Genesis Invitational, and with a victory and seven further top tens in his last 11 starts, it’s unsurprising that Jon Rahm is up there as one of the key favourites for this week’s contest.
This week’s course is a new challenge for some players, but Rahm is one of those who has previous experience of playing here – having finished tied for 22nd in the NCAA Championship in 2015, which was won by Bryson DeChambeau.
Taking advantage of the four par fives at Concession Golf Club will be a key to scoring, while a premium on approach play and positioning will be necessary to navigate around the tricky, undulated greens. Rahm ranks 11th on the PGA Tour this season for par-five scoring, and 14th for SG: Approach the green. He has recently struggled on the greens, but given that this has still resulted in one of the lowest scoring averages this season (69.74), a good week with the putter could see him reap big rewards.
And while this course is a new venue, it’s still worth mentioning that Rahm’s record in this event includes two third-place finishes in five starts, and last year he tied the lowest ever score in a WGC with a course record 61 during the third round in Mexico.
The defending champion
Patrick Reed held his nerve with a gutsy final round 67 to win this event for a second time last year, but he returns to a very different course in 2021.
Reed is a bit more of an unknown this week after taking two weeks off following his tie for 66th at the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, where he finished with a final round 74. However, the World Number 11 did close out last season with back-to-back top 10s at the Masters and DP World Tour Championship, and has already had a victory this season on the PGA Tour.
Known as consistent on the greens, Reed’s stand-out statistic is the polar opposite to Rahm heading into this event, ranking second on the PGA Tour for SG: Putting so far this season. With tricky greens, he will be hopeful this particular part of his game proves to be a big advantage.
Our expert picks will be brought to you every week by Sky Sports Presenter Kit Alexander and former Ladies European Tour player, coach and presenter Sophie Walker. The duo also co-host their own weekly Fantasy Golf Youtube Channel.
I'm excited to reveal the Fantasy Golf Picks YouTube channel with @SophWalks. We'll preview every @EuropeanTour event, analyse the course, share player insights and help you select a winning @ETFantasy team. Check out our first episode on the @WGCWorkday: https://t.co/4qQjRdyVUl— Kit Alexander (@KitOnTheCourse) February 22, 2021
Big Tone has been in superb form, finishing second in his last three starts and notching a further seven top-8s in his 14 outings prior to that. There are still massive question marks over his lack of wins, but the dude is a cash machine. His length is an obvious advantage with four par-5s to be attacked at Concession. Do I think he’ll win this week? No. But he’s about the safest bet available for a top-5 finish. He’s my captain this week!
It’s virtually impossible to leave the four-time major winner out of your team any time he’s playing. His form has been good, although he frustratingly hasn’t won since the resumption. It’s never ideal to miss a cut – as he did at last week’s Genesis Invitational – but he won the RBC Canadian Open the very next week the last time that happened at the 2019 Open Championship. A win here would complete the WGC Grand Slam.
Concession has pretty small greens and they’re very slopey, with a lot of different tiers. There’s an opportunity for someone with imagination, touch and versatility on and around the greens to really shine, so step forward Matt Fitzpatrick. The Englishman is one of the best putters on the planet and has an excellent short game. He won the DP World Tour Championship in December and comes in off the back of a tied-5th at Riviera.
Americans have a strong record in World Golf Champions winning 9 out of the last 10. Cantlay leads the Fed Ex rankings thanks to a victory at the Zozo, T2 at the American Express and T3 at AT&T (a course with small greens like The Concession). With no past tour events around The Concession I have chosen players with good records around Nicklaus designed courses. Which Patrick has, this is especially highlighted by his win at Memorial in 2019.
The world number 2 will be looking for a big win to kickstart 2021 so why not this one? Coming off a T5 finish last week at Riviera he is trending. Another champion at Memorial in 2020, his stats look excellent in all areas but putting where he falls outside the top 100 players this year. However with a new putter in the bag I can’t see his putting holding him back for too long. I’m captaining him this week.
Our current Race to Dubai leader, Hatton has picked up where he left off in 2020. His win at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship shot him up to world number 5 where he has remained there ever since. A T6 in this event last year, proved he can perform amongst the world's best. It was followed by a win at The Arnold Palmer Invitational on his next start. Bay Hill is a tough test for players and I can see this course being a similar set up. Tyrrell has served us well for the opening three events of the year so there is no reason to leave him out of your team now.