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WGC Workday attracts 48 of top 50 but not Tiger Woods

Patrick Reed at 2021 Saudi International
Defending champion Patrick Reed will be part of the deepest field of the year when the WGC Workday Championship visits The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., this week.

Top 15 in world ranking commit to PGA Tour’s debut at Concession Golf Club as Woods remains sidelined 6 weeks before Masters

With 48 of the top 50 in the world ranking entered in this week’s first World Golf Championships event of the year, just about anybody who’s anybody in golf will be at the PGA Tour’s debut at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. It will be the deepest field of the 2021 season to date.

Among the game’s top players, only Paul Casey, who was 16th in the Official World Golf Ranking before Monday’s update, and No. 48 Tiger Woods will not play in the $10.5 million WGC Workday Championship. Woods has not competed this year after he announced in early January that he had undergone a fifth back surgery.

The top 15 in the world, led by No. 1 Dustin Johnson and including No. 11 Patrick Reed, the defending champion, will play at Concession, a late replacement as host for Mexico City’s Chapultepec Golf Club because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Spots remained available in the field late Sunday to players who moved into the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings or the top 50 of the updated OWGR after the Genesis Invitational.

Concession, a Jack Nicklaus Design in collaboration with Tony Jacklin, commemorates the 1969 Ryder Cup when Nicklaus conceded a 2-foot par putt on the final hole to Jacklin, which halved their match and ensured a tie in the team competition as the U.S. retained the cup against Great Britain. The moment has been celebrated as an example of the game’s sportsmanship.

Woods, 45, has not competed in an official tournament since Nov. 15, when he tied for 38th in the Masters. He also missed the past week’s Genesis Invitational, which benefitted his foundation and was played at Riviera, near his boyhood home of Los Angeles.

"I'm feeling fine; just a little stiff," Woods told CBS' Jim Nantz on Sunday during the final round of the Genesis, while discussing his foundation's work. Woods said he has another magnetic resonance imaging scheduled before he will decide his competition schedule.

"I do a lot of putting drills," he said.

Pressed by Nantz regarding his timetable ahead of the Masters, Woods conceded, "I don't have much more wiggle room left."

As the PGA Tour begins its four-week Florida Swing, Woods will have three options in his adopted home state in the run-up to next month’s Masters: next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, where he has won eight times; the March 11-14 Players at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, the Tour’s home event; and the March 18-21 Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, about 30 minutes south of his home in Jupiter.

If Woods doesn’t return in Florida, that would leave the WGC Match Play in Austin, Texas, two weeks before the Masters, for his final shot at a tuneup before Augusta National. Woods typically doesn’t compete in the week before a major championship.

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