This week poses an interesting dilemma for golf DFS players and gamblers. We’re coming off a stretch of tournaments at some of the PGA Tour’s most iconic venues—Pebble Beach and Riviera—where we knew which key stats were most likely to be predictive of success. That’s not the case this week, with a new venue, The Concession Golf Club, hosting the PGA Tour for the first time.
Though we only had four years of data to rely on at Club de Golf Chapultapec, some data is better than none! So we’ll have to use our best judgment based on what we do know about the site of the WGC-Workday Championship.
The Concession Golf Club is a Jack Nicklaus design (with Tony Jacklin) that can be stretched out to over 7,400 yards. What we know from interviews from Paul Azinger and Gary Koch, members at Concession, is that there’s a lot of trouble to be found here. Water comes into play on 12 holes—only TPC Sawgrass and PGA National have as much water on the course. And around the greens, you’ll need to be precise, as there are some penalizing mounds and undulations protecting these green complexes.
There’s no professional tournament experience for this field, but Bryson DeChambeau should enter with plenty of good vibes. This is the site of his 2015 NCAA Championship victory. That lack of experience for the field generally benefits the younger, more inexperienced golfers who are dealing with “new courses” more regularly than established PGA Tour pros.
Here are my favorite plays (and a couple golfers most likely to disappoint) in each price range for the 2021 WGC-Workday Championship.
Price range: $9,000 and above
High Upside: Bryson DeChambeau ($9,900 DraftKings | $11,300 FanDuel)
DeChambeau missed the cut at Riviera last week and was never a factor. Call it rust, call it “getting Riviera’d,” call it whatever—when you win the U.S. Open by six shots, you have all the upside in the world. Last week was only the sixth start worldwide for DeChambeau since his U.S. Open victory in September. With The Concession being new to so many players, it’ll be an extra lift to get the correct numbers and angles. That plays right into the hands of DeChambeau, who is not only always well-prepared but won the 2015 NCAAs at this course.
Safest Option: Patrick Cantlay ($10,000 DraftKings | $11,500 FanDuel)
Cantlay is in the midst of an excellent stretch of golf. His past six events have resulted in six top 20s while posting a runner-up at The American Express, T-3 at Pebble Beach and T-15 at Riviera last week. Even without his best stuff, he’s been a staple at the top of the leaderboard. Early indications about The Concession are that it will require a total package of skills—the ability to be an exact ball-striker but a deft short game when called upon. Cantlay is a top-50 player in each of the four Strokes Gained categories, so there’s little concern about whether his game is complete enough.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Justin Thomas ($10,500 DraftKings | $11,400 FanDuel)
En route to a missed cut last week, Thomas lost strokes in all four major strokes-gained categories. That’s something he hasn’t done since the 2016 Memorial, where he also missed the cut. Thomas doesn’t have the luxury of being graded against low expectations. As he heads into a no-cut event with only 72 players, he’s expected to win or, at least, contend. He’ll need to flip the entire script from last week and plug the holes if that is going to happen.
Pick To Win: Jon Rahm ($11,100 DraftKings | $11,900 FanDuel)
Not even Riviera could hold back Jon Rahm for long—he finished with a 66 on Sunday, one of the best rounds of the day, to earn a T-5. There’s little information about how The Concession will play in competition, but early intel suggests that elevated greens with runoffs will challenge the short games of the best golfers in the world. Rahm is magnificent around the greens and the rest of his game is sublime. I expect a similar challenge this week as last week, which means Rahm should thrive.
We break down the WGC-Workday Championship, the Puerto Rico Open and react to the Tiger Woods news on this week's episode of "Be Right." Make sure to download this week's episode (above) wherever you get your podcasts.
$8,000 to $9,000
High Upside: Sungjae Im ($8,800 DraftKings | $10,200 FanDuel)
Two weeks off for most golfers is considered rest but it might as well be considered retirement for Im who is known for teeing it up nearly every single week. He’s back in action this week in Florida, where he has found success in his young career. A winner at the Honda Classic last year, he backed it up with another top 5 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational the very next week. It should be no surprise that Im loves the Bermudagrass greens that he will find at The Concession. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, Im has gained 0.44 strokes putter, per round, on Bermuda since the start of the 2019 season. That’s the seventh-best mark in this field, with at least 50 rounds.
Safest Option: Cameron Smith ($8,700 DraftKings | $9,600 FanDuel)
Smith found himself in contention again last week, something he’s been making a habit out of the last few months. He finished fourth at Riviera, which marks the fourth time he’s finished inside the top 11 in his past seven starts. He got a taste of a small but stacked field with no-cut at the end of 2020 when he played the CJ Cup and Zozo Championship. He finished 11th and T-4 respectively, which proves that he can handle his own in a strong field.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Hideki Matsuyama ($8,400 DraftKings |$9,300 FanDuel)
Matsuyama continues to struggle, now without a top-10 finish in any of his past six starts and is fresh off a missed cut at Riviera. Matsuyama doesn’t look like himself, losing at least one stroke on approach in three of his past five measured events. To find the next three events that he’s struggled that much, you’d have to go back 28 events to the 2019 WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational. It’s usually a red flag when a golfer is struggling with the best part of their game.
Pick To Win: Will Zalatoris ($8,000 DraftKings | $8,800 FanDuel)
Week in and week out, Zalatoris continues to impress. He notched another top-15 finish last week, which means he’s accomplished that feat in five of his past 10 starts. It doesn’t matter if it’s a strong field (Genesis Invitational), tough course (Winged Foot), weak field (Puntacana) or iconic course (Torrey Pines), Zalatoris contends. The only thing he lacks is experience, which shouldn’t matter as much this week. With almost every player in the field getting their first look at The Concession, it might level the playing field for the young guys.
$7,000 to $8,000
High Upside: Jason Day ($7,800 DraftKings | $9,200 FanDuel)
What Day lacks in consistency, he provides in upside. He's missed three of his past six cuts but has off set each of them with a top-12 finish. His most recent start at Pebble Beach resulted in a T-7 where he was magic around the greens. That’s not necessarily a trait that I want to rely on each week, but The Concession can provide some awkward and challenging positions around the greens, and Day has proven himself proficient in those situations.
Safest Option: Ryan Palmer ($7,200 DraftKings | $8,600 FanDuel)
Not that he will have to worry about it this week, but Palmer is a cut-making machine. He’s found the weekend in 13 of his past 14 starts, which indicates that he is routinely beating the field average. His past six starts have resulted in four top-20 finishes, highlighted by a T-2 at Torrey Pines. His previous two no-cut events have been the Tournament of Champions and the ZOZO Championship, where he finished fourth and T-4, respectively.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Matthew Wolff ($7,600 DraftKings |$8,400 FanDuel)
There’s something off with Matthew Wolff and it’s impacting the best part of his game. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, he’s lost 12.89 strokes with his driver over his past six measured events. To put that into perspective, he gained a total of 16.68 strokes in the six measured events prior to that stretch. Combine those struggles with a fledgling short game and we’ve got a recipe for disaster around The Concession.
Pick To Win: Carlos Ortiz ($7,300 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel)
Fresh off a missed cut at Riviera, Ortiz can look to his putter for why he failed to make the weekend. He posted one of the worst putting weeks of his career, losing 3.23 strokes in just two rounds on the greens. He’s been a positive putter this season and has been great on Bermuda grass in his career. He’s already a winner this season (Houston Open) and has three more top-15 finishes after that victory.
$6,900 and below
High Upside: Mackenzie Hughes ($6,400 DraftKings | $7,600 FanDuel)
Hughes flashed the upside on Sunday at Riviera. He had the round of the day going at 4-under thru 11 holes before making two bogeys coming in. He’s a short-game specialist who found a way to be a small positive both off-the-tee and on approach last week. That’s very encouraging heading into The Concession this week.
Safest Option: Abraham Ancer ($6,800 DraftKings | $8,100 FanDuel)
Ancer didn’t play well at Riviera and missed the cut, but I’m willing to give him a pass for that. Ancer was stuck in the Texas deep freeze and arrived on-site at Riviera on Wednesday evening. He will be fully rested and prepared as he heads to Florida to kick off his Florida Swing. Ancer doesn’t blink in big events, finishing T-13 at the Masters and T-15 at his most recent WGC start. In fact, his last three WGC starts have resulted in a T-15, T-12 and T-4.
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Most Likely To Disappoint: Gary Woodland ($6,800 DraftKings | $7,700 FanDuel)
Woodland seems lost at the moment, missing the cut in four of his past six starts and six of his past 10. The cut doesn’t matter this week, but the game is showing little signs of life. He lost nearly eight (!!) strokes putting last week and has been burning through strokes off-the-tee for a while now. This is uncharacteristic and concerning for Woodland.
Pick To Win: Lanto Griffin ($6,700 DraftKings | $7,700 FanDuel)
Griffin is back under $7,000 on DraftKings, right where we like him! He’s in good form, finishing T-26 at the Genesis last week and T-7 at the Farmers. The most similar events we can compare this week to are the CJ Cup and ZOZO Championship. Griffin went T-7, T-11, respectively, at those two events at the end of 2020.
Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.