Five things to know as the European Tour heads to The Concession Golf Club for the WGC-Workday Championship at the Concession.
The first WGC of the year
The first World Golf Championships event of the year takes place at The Concession Golf Club in Florida this week.
Previously the WGC-Mexico Championship, the WGC-Workday Championship at the Concession became the newest name of the event after logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic led to a change in venue for 2021.
This will be the first time Concession, designed by Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus and opened in 2006, has held a Tour event
A world class field
A world class field comprising 48 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings will assemble at The Concession Golf Club for the year’s first WGC.
World Number One Dustin Johnson, who has three victories and a worst finish of T13 in his last 11 starts worldwide, headlines the field this week, and will be targeting his fourth title in this event alone. He is joined by World Number Two Jon Rahm, who tied the WGC low 18-hole scoring record in this tournament last year with a third-round 61, and heads to Florida with victory and seven further top tens in his last 11 starts. Both finished inside the top ten in last week’s PGA TOUR event at Riviera.
Meanwhile, defending champion Patrick Reed, who is a two-time winner of this event, already has one victory under his belt this season and makes his first start since teeing up at the Saudi International powered by Investment Advisors.
Elsewhere, the Ryder Cup points battle continues, with seven of the nine players currently occupying automatic qualifying spots in the field this week: Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy (European Points), Victor Perez, Matt Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland (World Points List).
Ryder Cup ties to ‘The Concession’
Golf clubs are given names for a variety of reasons, but the story behind The Concession Golf Club has its own special place in history.
Dedicated to a simple, but weighty gesture during the 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale, the golf club's name comes from the day that Jack Nicklaus conceded a short putt to Tony Jacklin on the final hole in an act of pure sportsmanship which led to the first tie in the event's history.
The United States retained The Ryder Cup with the tie, but would have won outright had Jacklin, who won The Open earlier that year, missed the putt.
"I don't believe you would have missed that, but I'd never give you the opportunity in these circumstances," Jacklin recalled Nicklaus telling him.
The act became widely dubbed 'The Concession', and when Nicklaus and Jacklin teamed up to co-design their only golf course in the south-west of Florida, the name seemed a natural fit.
The Concession Golf Club was opened in 2006 and is making its debut as the host venue of a World Golf Championships event, but not all players in the field are unfamiliar with the course.
Five members of the 72-man field competed at The Concession during the 2015 NCAA Championship, which was won by Bryson DeChambeau.
DeChambeau, who also won the U.S. Amateur in 2015, won the tournament on eight under par, which was two better than Belgian Thomas Detry in third, who is making his WGC debut this week.
Also in the field that year was World Number Two Jon Rahm, who finished in a tie for 22nd at two over, as well as Scottie Scheffler (T33) and Xander Schauffele (T45).
Making their debuts
Several notable European Tour stars are making their first starts in a World Golf Championship in Florida this week, with four qualifying through their top 20 finishes on the 2020 Race to Dubai.
Rookie of the year Sami Välimäki, who won the Oman Open on his sixth start and competed in his first Major in November at the Masters, is one of that number.
He is joined by Rasmus Højgaard, who won twice last season on the European Tour, in addition to Thomas Detry and Laurie Canter.
Elsewhere, Min Woo Lee qualified for his first start in a World Golf Championships through his second-place finish on the Australasian Tour Order of Merit, aided by his ISPS Handa Vic Open win last February.