The Confidence Factor: Valspar Preview 2019

Tom Petty said the waiting was the hardest part.

Not much longer now.

It’s not easy at the Copperhead Course.

That’s why the pros love it.

Valspar Championship

Innisbrook: A Salamander Resort & Spa

Copperhead Course

Palm Harbor, Florida

Copperhead Course Cheat Sheet

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,340
Par: 71 (36-35)
Greens: 5,822 square feet; TifEagle Bermudagrass.
Stimpmeter: 12′
Rough: 419 Celebration Bermuda over-seeded with ryegrass at 3″.
Bunkers: 74
Water Hazards: 8
Architect(s): Larry Packard (1971); Wadsworth Construction (2015 facelift).
Purse: $6.7 million; $1.206 million, 500 FedExCup points (winner).
Defending Champion: Paul Casey, -10
Notes: Field of 144; Top 70 and ties play the weekend.
Notes II: Event moved to March starting with the 2007 edition.

History Lessons

Previous Winners:

Year Winner Comment
2018 Paul Casey -10 Out early, his 65 held up as Tiger Woods couldn’t catch him.
2017 Adam Hadwin -14 Escaped the “Snake Pit” and made his four-shot lead hold up on Sunday.
2016 Charl Schwartzel -7 Low round on Sunday with 67 got him in a playoff, where he defeated Bill Haas.
2015 Jordan Spieth -10 Won a three-man playoff versus Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair.
2014 John Senden -7 Held off Kevin Na by one shot.
2013 Kevin Streelman -10 The last to win by more than one shot as Boo Weekley was second on eight-under.
2012 Luke Donald -13 Knocked out Jim Furyk, Sangmoon Bae and Robert Garrigus in a playoff.
2011 Gary Woodland -15 Rookie in his first appearance held off Webb Simpson for his first title on TOUR.
2010 Jim Furyk -13 K.J. Choi, a two-time winner, fell one short.

Recent History Lessons

2018-19 Winners

Event Winner
Safeway Open Kevin Tway**
CIMB Classic Marc Leishman
CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Brooks Koepka
Sanderson Farms Championship Cameron Champ**
WGC-HSBC Champions Xander Schauffele
Shriners Hospitals for Children Bryson DeChambeau
Mayakoba Golf Classic Matt Kuchar
The RSM Classic Charles Howell III
Hero World Challenge* Jon Rahm
Sentry TOC Xander Schauffele (2)
Sony Open in Hawaii Matt Kuchar (2)
60th Desert Classic Adam Long**
Farmers Insurance Open Justin Rose
Waste Management Rickie Fowler
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phil Mickelson
Genesis Open J.B. Holmes
WGC-Mexico Championship Dustin Johnson
The Honda Classic Keith Mitchell**
Arnold Palmer Invitational Francesco Molinari
THE PLAYERS Rory McIlroy

(* unofficial event; **First-time winner)

Facts and Figures:

The last major renovation was after the 2015 edition.

Tournament Record: 269 (-15); Woodland
Course Record (last): 61; Padraig Harrington, Round 1, 2012.
Recent Defending Champion(s): There has never been a champion defend.
Multiple Winners (entered) K.J. Choi (2002, 2006, never in spring).
First TOUR Win: Woodland, Hadwin.
First-time in the field: Woodland.
Youngest Winner: 21; Spieth
Oldest Winner 46; Mark Calcavecchia (2007).
Low Round 2018: 65; Casey, Sergio Garcia and Scott Stallings.
Odd Fact: The last three winners are internationals.
 

 

The Confidence Factor was the weekly column I wrote for PGATOUR.COM. It has evolved into Horses for Courses. I’ve included the link here for you. It can also be found in The Confidence Factor section at my website.

Inside the ropes

Read through the quotes from over the years and the pros gush about having to think themselves around rather than grabbing driver and swinging as hard as they can. The love affair continues at Innisbrook as they just don’t build them like this anymore. Doglegs right and left, bushy, over-seeded rough and the closing three holes (“Snake Pit”) barely hardly sounds relaxing but those who sign up here relish the old-school nature.

Check the margin of victories above. Nobody wins here easily as the nerves are tested until the final putt. Par is a good score and in a perfect world, the pros would prefer a consistent, four-day wind, over changing conditions.

With four Par-5 holes and five Par-3 holes every club in the bag is going to get some use this week. With the major renovations taking place after the 2015 edition, I’m focusing more on the TifEagle/Expanded greens era of the last three seasons.

Trend or Not a Trend?

Stats 2018 2017 2016
Paul Casey Adam Hadwin Charl Schwartzel
Winning Score -10 -14 -7
Distance of All Drives 22 33 T39
Driving Accuracy T68 T27 65
Greens in Regulation T30 T5 T10
Ball-Striking 38 T15 35
Proximity to the Hole T22 5 12
Putting: Birdie-or-Better % 14 1 3
SG: Off-the-Tee 50 47 52
SG: Approach-the-Green 7 2 3
SG: Around-the-Green 3 25 23
SG: Putting 15 4 12
SG: Tee-to-Green 6 5 4
Scrambling 3 7 T45
Bogey Avoidance T1 T3 T21
Par-3 Scoring T5 1 T7
Par-4 Scoring T12 8 T21

–BONUS STAT OF THE WEEK–

2018 Stat Rank $$
SG: Approach-the-Green Last Year Last Year
Sergio Garcia 1 4th
Patrick Reed 2 T2
Adam Hadwin 4 T12
Sean O’Hair 5 T12
Paul Casey 6 WIN
Jason Kokrak 8 T8
Trey Mullinax 10 T8
Louis Oosthuizen 11 T16
Webb Simpson 13 T8

Horses for Courses

Each week I’ll put the major players in here. There are always exceptions to rules and “new” players every year so use this as a guide or tiebreaker.

Player Cuts Top Top Most Best/Notes
Made 10s 25s Recent
Paul Casey 3/5 1 1 Win (2018) First event since 2014
Patrick Reed 4/5 3 3 T2 (2018) P2 (2015), T7 (2016)
Sergio Garcia 6/6 2 4 4 (2018) T7 (2013)
Rory Sabbatini 7/9 1 2 T5 (2018)
Jim Furyk 9/9 4 6 7 (2018) 2010 (Win), T2 (2012)
Branden Grace 2/3 1 1 T8 (2018) better each time 3x
Webb Simpson 6/9 3 5 T8 (2018) 2 (2011), T10 (2012),
Jason Kokrak 4/8 2 3 T8 (2018) T7 (2015)
Trey Mullinax 1/2 1 1 T8 (2018)
Adam Hadwin 3/4 1 2 Win (2017) T12 (2018)
Jim Herman 1/3 1 1 T3 (2017) 15 over in other 2 trips
Charl Schwartzel 3/4 2 2 6 (2017) Win (2016)
Henrik Stenson 3/4 2 3 T7 (2017) 4 (2015)
John Huh 3/7 1 2 T9 (2017) 3 in a row broke last yr
Russell Henley 1/2 1 1 T9 (2017) 64 and 67 that week
Bill Haas 6/9 1 3 2 (2016)
Ryan Moore 7/11 3 5 3 (2016) 5 (2015), T8 (2007)
Louis Oosthuizen 3/6 1 3 T7 (2016) all 3 top 20
Scott Brown 3/7 1 1 T7 (2016) 2 rds in the 60’s
Steve Stricker 4/7 3 5 T7 (2016) T14 or better each weekend
Sean O’Hair 6/12 2 3 T2 (2015) Win (2008), T12 (2018)
Danny Lee 3/5 1 2 T7 (2015)
Harris English 4/7 2 2 T10 (2015) T7 (2013)
Kevin Na 8/10 3 4 T10 (2015) 2 (2014), T8 (2009)
Scott Langley 3/3 1 1 3 (2014) 2013-15
Luke Donald 7/8 4 6 T4 (2014) Win (2012), T4 (2013)
Player Cuts Top Top Last Best/Notes
  Made 10s 25s    
Kevin Streelman 6/9 2 3 Win (2013) T10 (2012), T18 (2017)
Jason Dufner 9/11 1 7 T10 (2012) MC last year
Gary Woodland 5/8 2 2 Win (2011) T8 (2014), Maiden/Rookie
Brandt Snedeker 8/9 2 2 4 (2011) T8 (2008)
Bubba Watson 3/6 1 2 3 (2010) only played 2x since
Nick Watney 10/10 1 5 4 (2010) 3 other top 15
Stewart Cink 7/10 1 3 T2 (2008) T31 or better 5 of last 10
Lucas Glover 9/12 1 5 T4 (2007)

The Chalk

Dustin Johnson: T22 or better in the six main SG categories and T9 or better, with a win, in his last three on TOUR.

Patrick Reed: Always the bridesmaid as he’s been REALLY close twice in the last four years and KINDA close in three of them. It clicks here.

Sergio Garcia: With one eye on his U.S. home in Austin next week, I would expect a hero’s welcome with another big performance at Innisbrook. His smoke show on Sunday at THE PLAYERS won’t make any investors LESS confident.

Jon Rahm: Big week to see where he is mentally and this is the perfect course for it as it will keep his attention over all 18 holes. Growing up isn’t easy but when you have this much talent, the learning curve shrinks rapidly.

Paul Casey: The last thing I’ll ever worry about is MC at TPC Sawgrass. His results entering last week were fantastic and he should be a worthy defender.

Jim Furyk: Hoo boy. Two schools of thought this week. One, he continues on like the badass he was last week on a course he loves. Two, he’s 48 and can’t get out of bed. I’m on board because he won’t need 25 birdies to win or contend this week.

Webb Simpson: Fantastic defense last week at an event where NOBODY even cracks the top 10, unless you’re Mark McCumber, the last to do so. He’s top 50 in fairways and greens and 11th in scoring.

Jason Day: He said his back deal was blown out of proportion entering THE PLAYERS. Finishing T8 and hitting the top 10 for the third consecutive event suggests he’s not lying. If Patrick Reed does well here…

Gary Woodland: 2011 champ has made too many cuts in a row to count. His 68 on Sunday at Sawgrass got my attention and the metrics are fantastic (3rd GIR).

Adam Hadwin: Man I got roasted not believing in him in desert this year so I’m not making that HFC error again. I like him even more this week after 75-76 at Sawgrass when he was under the weather.

Kevin Kisner: Knock. Knock. Knock. Eight on the bounce with the last five T28 or better. I’m going to be here when he puts all four together and another week on Bermuda will boost his confidence.

Brandt Snedeker: Todd Anderson can fix it. T5 last week on THAT golf course was all the proof I needed. Bigger targets to aim for this week.

Lucas Glover: Right back on board as he’s in the top 10 in both scoring and GIR.

Ryan Moore: Stretching here but he had three really good rounds last week at Sawgrass and you can’t fake it there. He also closed 67 at Riviera, a similar-style track. Superb in any format this week for my money.

Rafa Cabrera Bello: Out-dueled Paul Casey for last week’s HOLY SHIT WHAT JUST HAPPENED? award. Nobody forgets how to play golf in two rounds so I’d expect another top 25 or better this week.

Next Group

Keith Mitchell: Dude, I was wrong. Sorry, Keith. T11 here as a Web.com Monday qualifier in 2017. Somehow he led the field in SG: Putting.   Well, doesn’t somebody look stupid!

Michael Thompson: He’s had more good ones than bad ones this season so he’ll get another look again this week.

Jason Kokrak: Top 10 in tee-to-green and approach so his pair of top-10 paydays here aren’t fluky.

Louis Oosthuizen: Here we go again…Too many fairways and greens plus T7 and T16 in his last two here.

J.T. Poston: Dude only made seven bogeys last week and none in his final round for T22. That’s eight in a row and pars are good again this week. T14 in 2017 in his only visit.

Trey Mullinax: I’m not letting 69-75 MC at THE PLAYERS psyche me out. He rattled off eight in a row before that and hit the top 10 here last year. Scoring average is even here in six rounds with a 78. Do the math.

Keegan Bradley: 19 consecutive checks cashed.

Sungjae Im: I’m gonna take my chances with hIM.

Roger Sloan: Gave away a few FedExCup points and dollars late at Honda (T30) but held it together at Bay Hill for T23. His T2 in Puerto Rico in tough conditions didn’t go unnoticed in this column.

Nick Taylor: You probably don’t want your friends to know about this one. Played his last three rounds 11-under at Sawgrass for a season-best T16. Closed with 67 and has cashed four straight.

Paul from Canada in my OAD league: Three Canadians in a row = hat trick. And DJ’s FIL is from the Great White North. Keepin’ it reel…

Coming in HAWT

Long Shots, Course Horses, Wings, Prayers

Roberto Castro: Rides in on a pair of top-25 paydays and doesn’t mind a tough knock.

Sam Burns: T12 last year as a Monday Qualifier should point out that rookies don’t die here.

Akshay Bhatia: If you’re a fantasy golf writer it’s required you mention him this week to let everyone know that you’re in the know, you know? The last amateur to win a TOUR event was Mickelson when he was at Arizona State. This 17-year old isn’t even going to college. Probably.

Matt Jones: 5 of 6 and four straight.

Sangmoon Bae: MQ has history here.

Kramer Hickok: T64 then T35 then T30. Man, make a par on Sunday and he’d have his kard for next year!

Alex Prugh: Last man in the field. Last year it was Corey Conners and he led the first 54 holes.

Brice Garnett: Weird that he waited until THE PLAYERS to make his first cut since Sony. He’ll defend next week in the Dominican Republic and is rounding into form.

Julian Etulain: I prefer guys playing decently as opposed to “Garnett-ing” them out of a slump. The Argentine has cashed in six of seven in 2019 including his last two.

Joel Dahmen: I prefer guys playing decently as opposed to “Dahmen-ing” them out of a slump. T12 last week at THE PLAYERS was his first paycheck since T9 at FIO. I’ll bite in deep formats.

Jonas Blixt: T22 in his last two here. He does it again he’ll help your lineup tremendously.

Carlos Ortiz: Top 10 at Riviera and you know my feelings about how these courses resemble each other, minus the Poa v Bermuda.

Wyndham Clark: Sweet DQ last week. Screwed up his run of T10-T7 in his last two. Oh, and he made five straight LEGAL CUTS before his math issue. I stink at math, three.

Bud Cauley: In here until he wins.

CAUTION

Charl Schwartzel: I have no idea what’s going on here. He’s all over the map with his schedule and his play. I’d dig deeper if I’m going in on a past champ.

Bubba Watson: Pack up the RV, pick up I-4 and enjoy spring break in Palm Harbor! I’m almost positive Watson moved to Arizona to get away from allergies but he’s spending plenty of time in Florida this spring. He MC in 2017 yet didn’t play last year. You’re on your own here. I’ll wait until Match Play where he defends.

Ollie Schniederjans: No hat, add goatee, contend at THE PLAYERS, got it. Damon Green hasn’t had much success here as Zach Johnson never posted better than T14. One good round at Sawgrass does not a season make.

Steve Stricker: Boss record here. Terrible spring on TOUR for his standards. Can he “Vijay-it”? Of course. That’s why they call it GAMBLING.

Brian Harman: Oh, hey, there you are! T8 last week was his first top 25 since last June. Might need one more round or two before I leap back to lefty. It doesn’t help his last three here are MC X 3.

Henrik Stenson: Yeah, man, no, it’s all good. I’ll wait for summer time when you thaw.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter (@MikeGlasscott) or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

 

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