WGC-Workday Championship: Early impressions of The Concession

A look at what top stars Patrick Reed and Justin Thomas are saying about the new venue for this week's WGC-Workday Championship

The large majority of this week's 73-man field at the WGC-Workday Championship are seeing The Concession Golf Club in Florida for the first time.

A handful played it when it staged the 2015 NCAA Men's Championship and that includes the individual winner of that amateur team event, Bryson DeChambeau.

Jon Rahm also played that tournament, finishing in tied 22nd.

But that was six years ago and they return to the course in very different circumstances, taking on the best field so far of 2021.

No less than 19 of the world's top 20 are present, the only absentee from that list, the World No.18 Paul Casey.

The field includes defending champion Patrick Reed and World No.3 Justin Thomas.

So what are the American duo's early impressions of this 7,474-yard par 72 designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin?

Patrick Reed

Reed has won this event twice, shooting 4-under to win at Doral in 2014 and firing 18-under to win in Mexico last February.

He's also just added a ninth PGA Tour win after capturing the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Patrick Reed will be giving it his all at The Concession
Patrick Reed will be giving it his all at The Concession

On defending his title at a different venue

"It's always great defending whether you're at the same course or not (Reed won last year at Chapultepec in Mexico). Being here and knowing the situation with COVID and the safety reasons and everything why we're here, it's one of those things that throughout this year it's going to be a revolving schedule it seems like.

"There's going to be some places depending on what happens and what we feel like is the best for the players and the communities to play in certain spots."

Assessing the course

"This place is awesome. I came out and played nine yesterday and nine today. The golf course is in perfect shape and this golf course from the tee, it looked really wide but you had to have command on the golf ball. The wind will blow, you'll get some of those crosswinds.

"Whether it's water edges or bunkers seems to tighten it up. It's one of those that you have to stay aggressive, but at the same time have to have full control of your golf ball."

On the chipping and putting skills needed at The Concession Club

"For me I felt like putting was okay as long as you hit it in the correct sections of the greens. I was hitting putts from incorrect sections and they're doable on most holes, but the problem is when you miss the green, that -- it's really grainy, it's really tight and the banks are really steep where there's some of those chips that you think you can bump that just don't bounce and they come back to your feet. At the same time, if I hit a foot too far and it goes over the green and down another hill.

"It's definitely going to take some patience and creativity around the greens this week, but hopefully you're able to hit the ball well enough where you're not having to focus too much on having to chip around this place rather than hitting putts for birdie."

On the state of his game

"Yeah, I feel good. I was able to get some pretty good work in earlier this week and part of last week with my coach, so I came down here a little early. It's a little hard practicing at home considering we had snow in Texas. The great thing is luckily we're safe, everything was fine and from that point on once we got kind of to Florida, just put our head down, grind and get back in the swing of things.

"I think the biggest positive really for me personally was when I got back after taking four or five days off because of weather, coming down and normally it takes me a couple days to really figure out what a golf club is.

"With the new swing changes I've been working on with Lead (David Leadbetter) and everything, it seemed that I was able to kind of get right back on track. It took me maybe 30 minutes to maybe start getting the feel again. It just shows that we're doing the right things, working on the right things. Definitely gave me confidence moving forward and so far this week, been pretty solid so we feel good."

Justin Thomas

Thomas comes into the event in difficult circumstances. He's missed two of his last three worldwide cuts and recently lost his grandpa.

Justin Thomas will he hoping to turn his season around
Justin Thomas will he hoping to turn his season around

On how the course might fit his game

"It's a good track. It's all right in front of you. I think the opportunity to challenge some holes off the tee that you can play a little bit more aggressively. A lot of water, very typical Florida course in that aspect. It definitely seems like an amateur golfer's nightmare. It's very difficult and grainy around the greens and a lot of elevated greens.

"It's a lot of holes that we've had a hard time finding four pin placements because the greens are so severe. If the greens were firm, it would be challenging I think is an understatement, but I think it's going to still be a good test considering how the course will evolve over the course of the week."

On the challenge of the greens and how he will chip to them

"They're very tough. I mean, like I said, I think this is an amateur golfer's nightmare. The greens are very elevated, it's very grainy, the grass is tight. You can hit it in a lot of spots around the greens where you're just kind of chipping it back and forth and having a hard time.

"Getting in the right spots is very important, but being able to execute the shots and sometimes just limit the damage is just as important."

On how concerned he is with recent poor results

"I don't know if "concerned" is the right word. I obviously always want and wish to be playing better, but yeah, not exactly where I want to be with my game right now. But just like this game, you always work to try to get out of it when you're not doing your best. So just got to keep working on it and hope good things start happening."

* Patrick Reed is 30/1 to win at Unibet

* Justin Thomas is 18/1 to win at Paddy Power

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