Unfortunately there is only one way to open up this week’s blog and that’s by joining every other professional golfer out there in sending all my best wishes and support to Tiger and his family after hearing the horrible news that reached us yesterday. This game wouldnt be the same without him and I truly hope that by summoning up all that physical & mental strength that he has already shown us over the years, he will have a very speedy recovery!
On a lighter note, it feels amazing to be back in the United States once again! Having spent a really fun few days travelling around South Florida playing some incredible courses with my caddy Mike, we have finally landed in Sarasota ahead of the next event on my playing schedule – the WGC Workday Championship at The Concession!
‘I actually already have some pretty cool history at The Concession Club!’
This is the first World Golf Championship of the 2021 season and also the first time this incredible venue has hosted such a prestiguous tournament (this event is usually hosted every year in Mexico but unfortunately due to the pandemic restrictions, it wasnt possible this time). And although this is my first ever outing at a WGC event, I actually already have some pretty cool history at The Concession Club since I played in the 2015 NCAA Amateur Championship here and managed to secure a 3rd place finish…two shots behind the eventual winner Bryson Dechambeau that year!
I’ll be honest – I am a huge fan of this Golf Course! To give you a bit of background, it was designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tonly Jacklin, opened in 2006 and takes its name from the famous golfing moment when the two aforementioned players agreed to a tie at the 1969 Ryder Cup for the first time in the tournament’s history!
It’s quite a traditional par 72 parkland layout here with generous fairways and tall oak/pine trees lining a number of the holes. There is water in play on well over half the golf course too but regardless of those obvious hazards…the real challenge this week is presented by the small, elevated and multi-layered greens! The combination of tight and grainy grass as well as some pretty severe slopes/undulations undoubtedly means that finding the right part of the greens is going to be a necessity all week and we will likely be rewarded for having strong approach play and short game. Having said that, power off the tee will also be a huge asset here too so I am really happy that I am feeling confident with my new Epic Speed driver in the bag.
With all that said, it is defintely going to be a week where you need to have a strong strategy in place out here. There wont be birdie chances on every hole but instead the pressure will be on executing great shots and limiting any damage from the various hazards waiting to catch us out! Our weather forecast is fortunately looking relatively friendly for the next four days too but the wind will pick up with each day we play and crosswinds a feature of the area which will put extra emphasis on keeping control of the ball as much as possible!
Last thing to note (for those who dont already know) is that there is no cut this week and only 72 players making up the full field. I am off at 11.53am
local time tomorrow alongside Rasmus Hojgaard and Jason Kokrak. Cant wait to get this thing started now!
(NB – All Belgian golf fans should keep an eye out for Pieters playing in the PGA Tour event this week in Puerto Rico too!)