Co-designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, The Concession Golf Club takes centre stage for the opening week of the Florida Swing. Form stats by Andy Swales...
"One of the few golfers to have sampled The Concession previously is Bryson DeChambeau, who won the national collegiate title here in 2015."
A tip-top field has assembled in Florida for the opening World Golf Championship event of 2021.
The top 15 players in the current World Ranking, as well as 24 of the leading 25, will tee-up on Thursday at The Concession Golf Club which makes its professional debut at this level.
The Concession was named as an 11th hour replacement for Chapultepec Golf Club, near Mexico City, which became the latest sporting casualty of Covid-19.
The tournament was originally earmarked for Mexico but due to the on-going pandemic it was decided for logistical reasons to switch the event to Bradenton, situated around 35 miles south of Tampa.
Chapultepec had hosted the tournament for four straight years, and is expected to return to the rota in 2022.
Taking its place is The Concession, co-designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, and opened in 2006.
The course gets its name from the famous putt which Nicklaus conceded to Jacklin on the 18th green at Royal Birkdale in 1969.
By saving Jacklin the chore of having to hole out from two feet to halve their final day singles, Nicklaus's concession guaranteed that the Ryder Cup would end in a 16-16 draw.
Laid out around 18 miles from the coast, The Concession is a low-lying venue which covers a generous 520 acres.
It has consistently been touted as one of the toughest layouts in the United States, with those teeing-up on Thursday needing good course management skills in abundance.
Water is a constant companion, coming into play on 11 holes, while another feature of The Concession is its many testing dog-legs.
Check out the latest betting ahead of this week's WGC Workday Championship
And with plenty of thick vegetation waiting menacingly just off the fairways, mainly in the shape of tall trees, accuracy will be another key ingredient this coming week.
Add to that, the greens are small with subtle but tricky contours.
On the tee
One of the few golfers to have sampled The Concession previously is Bryson DeChambeau, who won the national collegiate title here in 2015.
The reigning US Open champion arrives in Florida on the back of missing the cut at Riviera, as he continues his preparations for next month's opening major championship of 2021.
Another top-10 pro to play only 36 holes last week is Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut in Los Angeles by a whopping seven strokes.
Only six of the 120-strong field posted a worse 36-hole total than McIlroy. However, the good news for the 31-year-old is that he certainly prefers the eastern states of America far more than the west.
Among his successes in Florida was the 2019 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
There are plenty of in-form golfers taking part this week, including Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.
World No 2 Rahm rarely finishes outside the top 10 nowadays, while Schauffele has a history of playing well in tournaments with elite fields and no 36-hole cut.
And if accuracy from the fairway turns out to be a key department this coming week, thus placing great emphasis on hitting these smallish greens in regulation, then Rahm and Schauffele are currently performing well in the Strokes Gained: Approach the Green category. Another is Collin Morikawa.
Outside the top group, rising star Will Zalatoris might be worth an each-way punt.
The 24-year-old star from last year's Korn Ferry Tour is looking pretty impressive in the category Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, where he is mixing it with the best of them.
Last Five Years in Florida (2016-20)
Most Top-6 Finishes
6: Rory McIlroy
4: Sung Jae Im
4: Tommy Fleetwood
3: Jason Day
3: Tyrrell Hatton
3: Adam Scott
3: Justin Thomas
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
Last Eight Weeks / Last 10 in Florida
|Sung Jae Im||17||32||12||56||5|
|Erik van Rooyen||MC||MC||56||MC|
|Danie van Tonder|
|Min Woo Lee||MC||MC||MC||MC|
|Sung Jae Im||3||1||4||MC||3||51|
|Erik van Rooyen||MC|
|Danie van Tonder|
|Min Woo Lee|
|Bay Hill: 1-5-8|
|PGA National: 2-6-10|
|TPC Sawgrass: 4-7|