After last week’s trials and tribulations at Sawgrass, when the course and the weather took a heavy toll on the players, this week’s PGA Tour event promises to be significantly easier. It’s the VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP at Palm Harbor…
Here’s a full preview of this week’s action in the “Sunshine State”…
Valspar Championship: The Tournament
This event has only been around since 2000 (formerly as the Tampa Bay Classic, PODS Championship & Transitions Championship) and started off as a late season tournament before being switched to its now regular slot in March. As this suggests, it doesn’t generate huge attention from the game’s top players, but with the calendar still settling down, and this being the last event for a while in Florida (home to so many golfers), there’s a healthy number of top names strapping on the plus-fours this week.
Valspar Championship: The Course
Despite name and date changes, the tournament does at least have a regular home, the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, Palm Harbor. The facility was designed by Larry Packard, first opened in 1974 and re-modelled slightly before the inaugural Tampa Bay event in 2000. This is a par 71 course which plays 7,340 yards and will prove a decent test with tight tree-lined fairways, water hazards and dog-legs making this week a stiff examination of the golfers.
Prize money: $7.8m ($1.24m to the winner)
72-Hole Record – 266, Vijay Singh (2004)
18-Hole Record – 61, Padraig Harrington (2012)
Highest-ranked OWGR players in field: Morikawa (2), Hovland (3), Thomas (8), Schauffele (9), Johnson (10), OOsthuizen (13), Hatton (15).
Betting market leaders: Thomas 10/1, Hovland 12/1, Morikawa 12/1, Johnson 16/1, Schauffele 22/1, Oosthuizen 22/1, Hatton 25/1, Fitzpatrick 25/1, Lowry 30/1.
-17 Sam Burns (70/1)
-14 Keegan Bradley (80/1)
-13 Viktor Hovland (25/1)
-13 Cameron Tringale (45/1)
-12 Abraham Ancer (33/1)
Valspar Championship: Past Winners
2019: Paul Casey
2018: Paul Casey
2017: Adam Hadwin
2016: Charl Schwartzel
Valspar Championship: The Field
A full complement this week at Innisbrook with 150 golfers teeing up. Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas are currently joint $11 favourites with TopSport.
Valspar Championship: The Weather
An almost totally dry week is forecast with a daily precipitation forecast of 10%-20%-20%-10% over the course of the tournament. Temperatures will be in the mid-70s, with partial cloud cover during the week. Winds will be light, with maximum wind speeds reaching just 8-10mph.
Valspar Championship: Value Bets
These are two value bets from the Golf Insider. Members receive all of his best bets for all markets – win and each-way, Top 10, Top 20, Round 1 Leader and 3-Ball groups. He covers every tournament on the PGA and European Tours.
GARY WOODLAND – each-way (currently $22 with TopSport)
People often forget that the 37-year-old from Kansas is not just a multiple PGA Tour winner, but he’s also a Major champion (US Open 2019). And a record of 50 Top 10 finishes in 303 career starts is a very solid effort (including those 4 wins, and 10 RU finishes). Woodland is excellent from tee-to-green, and his accurate game is a good fit for Copperhead – a fact shown by his win here back in 2011. Like Koepka, Woodland missed the cut at the Players, but this could prove something of a red herring given the conditions. Prior to that he’d posted a 5th place in his previous two starts at the Arnold Palmer and Honda Classic. Playing well, on a course he likes, Woodland’s a good value bet IMO.
KEVIN KISNER – Top 20 (currently $3.75 with TopSport)
Kisner has got some sneaky good form that I think has been missed by a lot of the layers this week. A fine 4th place last week, plus two Top 10’s in Hawaii to start the year, the South Carolina man is swinging the club well. Those efforts have been for the most part down to a red-hot putter, so if Kisner can keep his GIR stats competitive, then he’s a live contender this week at Innisbrook. In four starts here he’s a best of 24th (2019) but Kisner is a guy to catch when he’s in-form, and this week looks a fine opportunity to follow his impressive numbers.
The Golf Insider is a GUN. Look at these winners, all since the start of 2020…
Martin Laird $201, Rasmus Hojgaard $151, Mark Hubbard $126, Marc Warren $101, Sam Burns $67, Tyrell Hatton $51, Peter Malnati $46, John Catlin $46, Talor Gooch $41, Harold Varner $36, Harris English $34, Robert Macintyre $31, Adri Arnaus $26, Connor Syme $26, Scott Jamieson $24, JB Holmes $21, Seamus Power $21, Dustin Johnson $21