PRESENTATION – 48 of the 50 first world championships are at the start of the first World Championship of the season. If Tiger Woods, injured in the back, is forfeited, just like the Englishman Paul Casey, Victor Perez, 30th in the world and the only French committed, is there.
After four years of absence, Florida regains a World Championship. Host of the WGC-CA Championship and then of the Cadillac Championship between 2007 and 2016 on the side of the Doral dear to Donald Trump, the hottest state in the United States is this time hosting the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession. Relocated between 2017 and 2020 in Mexico City (ex-WGC-Mexico Championship), the first very big meeting of the season was thus forced to move to Bradenton-Sarasota, on the superb Concession Golf Club, due to the pandemic linked to Covid-19.
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This par 72 of 6,834 meters was designed by Jack Nicklaus, in collaboration with Tony Jacklin. This course, renowned in particular for its very narrow greens, was named in honor of the epic singles match between the two men during the 1969 Ryder Cup at the Royal Birkdale (England). The American, assured of bringing the trophy home, had here offered the draw to the English, allowing Great Britain to snatch the parity score (16-16), the first in the history of this mythical biennial competition born in 1927. The place elected by Golf Digest at its inauguration in 2006 as the best private course has also twice received the NCAA Championship. Already in 2006, then in 2015, won that year by a certain Bryson DeChambeau. Belgian Thomas Detry, also present this week in Florida, took third place, just ahead of Spaniard Jon Rahm, the current world No. 2.
Created in 1999, this World Championship event has seen Tiger Woods win seven times between 1999 and 2013. The former world number 1 also holds the biggest victory: eight strokes ahead in 2006 over Australian Adam Scott and Englishman Ian Poulter. Eligible this week thanks to his world ranking (48th on February 15), the Tiger is not yet at the start. Operated for the fifth time from the back at the end of last year, the American, co-record holder for victories on the PGA Tour (82) with his illustrious compatriot (Sam Snead), is still not able to reconnect with the competition. Present Sunday in Los Angeles at the Genesis Invitational (PGA Tour) as an ambassador of the tournament through his foundation, Woods has clearly left the doubt on an imminent return. He hopes to be operational for the Masters (April 8-11), but his attitude was, unfortunately, quite the opposite. The other big absentee is called Paul Casey. World No. 18, winner of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the end of January on the European Tour, the Englishman has decided to ignore it. Ditto for the South African Brandon Stone, 108th in the world, but eligible because he is part of the current top 10 of the Race to Dubai 2021.
Triple for Patrick Reed?
All the other top names in world golf are on the other hand, starting with Dustin Johnson, indisputable n ° 1, winner in early February in Saudi Arabia (European Tour) and already seven times winner in WGC (three times of the WGC-Workday Championship) . In his wake, we obviously find Jon Rahm (5th at the Genesis Invitational), Justin Thomas, very affected by the death of his grandfather two weeks ago, Xander Sc Chaudele, boiling hot with four second places and two fifth places during his last nine starts, or Tony Finau, who remains on three second places on the PGA Tour but also on the European Tour. Title-holder Patrick Reed is also on a good upward slope, thanks in particular to his victory in January at Torrey Pines, at the Farmers Insurance Open (PGA Tour). The Texan will try for a third success in this tournament after those of 2020 and 2014.
30th in the last world ranking of February 21 (his best performance), Victor Perez is the only French competitor in this meeting with 10.5 million dollars in endowment (1,820,000 dollars for the winner). This is his fourth World Championship in three years, his second Workday after an anecdotal 53e place at the WGC-Mexico Championship last year. The Tarbais, who started their season in Abu Dhabi a month ago, remain on an excellent fourth place obtained in Saudi Arabia after missing the cut in Dubai the previous week!
WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession – $ 10,500,000 endowment (8,642,289 euros endowment)
Players to watch
Patrick Reed (USA), Daniel Berger (USA), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Esp), Patrick Cantlay (USA), Jason Day (Aus), Bryson DeChambeau (USA), Harris English (USA), Tony Finau (USA), Matthew Fitzpatrick (Ang), Tommy Fleetwood (Ang), Tyrrell Hatton (Ang), Max Homa (USA), Viktor Hovland (Nor), Sungjae Im (CdS), Dustin Johnson (USA), Kevin Kisner (USA), Brooks Koepka (USA), Hideki Matsuyama (Jap), Rory McIlroy (IdN), Collin Morikawa (USA), Kevin Na (USA), Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Louis Oosthuizen (AfS), Jon Rahm (Esp), Justin Rose (Ang ), Xander Sc Chaudele (USA), Cameron Smith (Aus), Webb Simpson (USA), Justin Thomas (USA), Erik Van Rooyen (AfS), Lee Westwood (Ang), Matthew Wolff (USA), Will Zalatoris (USA) .
The committed French
To watch the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession on TV:
Thursday February 25, 1st round: 7:00 p.m. (Golf +); 00:21 (Canal + Sport)
Friday February 26, 2nd round: 7:00 p.m. (Golf +); 11:56 p.m. (Canal + Sport)
Saturday February 27, 3rd round: 6:00 p.m. (Golf +); 8:56 p.m. (Canal + Sport)
Sunday February 28, 4th round: 6 p.m. (Golf +); 8:37 p.m. (Canal + Sport)