This article is part of our Betting on Golf series.
WGC-Workday Championship Betting Strategy
The PGA Tour heads to Bradenton for the first of four events that comprise the Florida Swing, beginning with this week's WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession Golf Club. It's the first Tour event at The Concession after the COVID-19 pandemic moved the event from just outside Mexico City, where the tournament had been held the last four years. It's an even stronger field than the one we saw at Riviera last week, with 48 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking in action, and only Tiger Woods and Paul Casey not in the field. Last year, Patrick Reed made three birdies in the final four holes to win this event by a single stroke over Bryson DeChambeau.
The first WGC event of the year brings a more diverse field than the typical PGA Tour event, with players from all over the globe arriving for a guaranteed paycheck in this no-cut event. This week presents a different challenge when it comes to handicapping the field, in that we don't have any course history to go off of. This Jack Nicklaus designed course plays as a par-72 at over 7,500 yards, making it one of the 10 longest courses we'll see on Tour this year. As such, the longer hitters off the tee will have an added advantage.
Despite a large contingent of players living in Florida, there won't be much of a home course advantage like we saw for Max Homa last week, as most of the players that reside in the state live on the opposite coast and haven't spent time prepping at the course following the late change in venue.
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 4:00 PM ET Tuesday.
Who's Down With WGC?
The following five players have the lowest scoring averages in WGC events since 2019:
McIlroy is looking to complete the WGC Grand Slam, as the WGC-Workday Championship is the only one that has eluded him. His consistency in these events since 2019 has been unmatched, as he has the lowest scoring average with a win and a total of four top-5 results. Schauffele is the only player on this list that hasn't won a WGC event since 2019, but he does hold one career WGC title. Since winning the Tournament of Champions just over two years ago, Schauffele has finished runner-up eight times without recording a victory despite owning a final-round scoring average of 68.3 in those events.
Striking the Right Chord
These players have gained the most strokes off-the-tee and approach combined over their last 20 rounds:
Ball striking is a key component at any WGC event, and no player has been better in that area of late than Rahm. Although his short game hasn't been great recently, he still comes in with a streak of 12 consecutive top-25 finishes. Meanwhile, Morikawa enters the week a bit under the radar. After winning the PGA Championship last August, Morikawa missed three of his next five cuts – a surprising stretch considering he had missed only one cut in 26 events as a professional before that. Although he only finished tied for 43rd last week, he seems to have found his old form, ranking second at Riviera in Strokes Gained: Approach.
Bryson DeChambeau (37-2)
DeChambeau is one of the few players in the field that has course history at The Concession – it's where he won the 2015 NCAA Championship. His game has changed a bit since then, but the prior success is a nice bonus. DeChambeau's prowess off the tee should suit him well here, and his approach play has been much better this season. This feels similar to the U.S. Open, when he came without his best form and won at a discounted price.
Scottie Scheffler (93-2)
I rank Scheffler as the best golfer in search of his first win, and the lack of a victory has him underpriced as a result. He comes in with solid form, having been in the final group on Sunday at the Phoenix Open and having fired the second-best round of the day in the final round of the Genesis Invitational despite losing strokes on the putting surface. Scheffler is not one to be shy in big events – he posted a top-5 at the PGA Championship and another in the first playoff event, in which he fired a second-round 59.
Bubba Watson (110-1)
It's been three years since Watson's last win, and at 42 years old it's easy to write him off. His play has suggested otherwise, though, as he posted top-10 results at The CJ Cup and ZOZO Championship last fall – two similar no-cut events with strong fields. He led the field in SG: Tee-to-Green at The CJ Cup and has looked a lot more like himself since last season's playoff events.
Abraham Ancer (5-1)
Ancer had the misfortune of being stuck in Texas during the winter storm, and he arrived in Los Angeles late last Wednesday without any practice and ultimately missed the cut. Ancer's had good success in WGC events lately, with three straight top-15 results. He's also gained strokes on the field in both off-the-tee and approach play in his last three tournaments.
Lanto Griffin (6-1)
Griffin is a bit of a late-bloomer, but he had a remarkable 2019-20 season and qualified for the TOUR Championship after making the jump from the Korn Ferry Tour. There's no real weakness in his game, as he's sneaky long and is developing into one of the better iron players on Tour. He's getting more starts in more-prominent events like this one, and has top-10s in both the BMW Championship and The CJ Cup under his belt.
Cameron Champ (12-1)
Champ has one of the highest variances on Tour – he is equally as capable of finishing bottom-10 as he is top-10. At these odds, he's certainly worth the risk, and DeChambeau is the only player in the field that hits it farther. He has two top-10 results in his last 13 events, both coming in events with strong fields: the PGA Championship and ZOZO Championship.
Wolff has saved some of his best golf for the bigger events, with top-5 results in two of the last three majors. He's struggled a bit with driving accuracy this year, but he's typically going to be one of the best ball-strikers in the field. Leishman has had a few good results lately, but that's been in large part due to solid putting the last two weeks, and his T4 at the Sony Open was at a much shorter course. He'll be at a disadvantage this week on a long track.
Talk about two guys trending in the opposite direction: Ortiz has been one of the better golfers on Tour of late, while Hughes hasn't looked the same since the end of last season. Since winning the Houston Open last fall, Ortiz has been in contention in the final round in three of his last six events. Hughes hasn't finished top-30 in any of his three WGC appearances, and like Leishman, he is a shorter hitter that will be at a disadvantage.
Fleetwood is a slight favorite in this matchup, and I'm struggling to figure out why. Since the Tour's restart last year, Fleetwood's best result in 10 events was a share of 19th at the Masters. Kokrak showed good form in Los Angeles, entering the weekend with a share of second place. He also stepped up his game last fall with a top-20 finish at the ZOZO Championship and his first Tour title at The CJ Cup.