Preview: Valspar Championship 2021

New month, April/May

New field, max 156

Same champion, Paul Casey

Valspar Championship

Innisbrook Resort

Copperhead Course

Palm Harbor, Florida

  
Yards (per official scorecard):7,340
Par:71 (36-35)
Greens:TifEagle Bermuda over-seeded with Poa trivialis; 5,822 square feet.
Stimpmeter:12′.
Rough:Celebration Bermuda (over-seeded with Rye) at three inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards74/8; water in play on NOYNE holes.
Architects:Larry Packard (1971; 2016).
Course Record:  61; Padraig Harrington (2012).  
Tournament Record (spring):15-under; Gary Woodland (2011).
Purse:$6.9 million; $1.242 million and 500 FedExCup points (winner).

Notes:

  • Field of 156 (maximum).
  • Top 65 and ties play the weekend.
  • First time being played this late since leaving the fall portion.

2020-2021 Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

EventWinner
Safeway OpenStewart Cink
120th United States OpenBryson DeChambeau
Corales Punta Cana ChampionshipHudson Swafford
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSergio Garcia
Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenMartin Laird (playoff)
CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEKJason Kokrak*
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPPatrick Cantlay
Bermuda ChampionshipBrian Gay
Vivint Houston OpenCarlos Oritz*
84th Masters TournamentDustin Johnson
The RSM ClassicRobert Streb
Mayakoba Golf ClassicViktor Hovland
Sentry TOCHarris English
Sony Open in HawaiiKevin Na
The American ExpressSi Woo Kim
Farmers Insurance OpenPatrick Reed
Waste Management Phoenix OpenBrooks Koepka
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmDaniel Berger
The Genesis InvitationalMax Homa
WGC – Championship at The ConcessionCollin Morikawa
Arnold Palmer InvitationalBryson DeChambeau (2)
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipJustin Thomas
The Honda ClassicMatt Jones
WGC- Match PlayBilly Horschel
Corales PuntacanaJoel Dahmen*
Valero Texas OpenJordan Spieth
85th Masters TournamentHideki Matsuyama
RBC HeritageStewart Cink (2)
Zurich Classic of New OrleansCameron Smith/Marc Leishman

Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details and angles for this week.

Previous Winners

(*Playoff)

YearWinnerScoreComment
2020COVID-19 No tournament
2019Paul Casey-8Final group 72 couldn’t slow his repeat!
2018Paul Casey-105 back to start Sunday, week co-best 65 to win by one.
2017Adam Hadwin-14Tied the 54-hole record on 14-under; first TOUR victory.
2016Charl Schwartzel-7*5 back to start Sunday, defeated 54-hole leader Bill Haas in a playoff; shot 67 in the final round.
2015Jordan Spieth-10*Knocked out Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair in a playoff.

Facts and Figures:

Lowest Rounds – 201966; Casey, Tyler Duncan, Jason Kokrak and Louis Oosthuizen.
Defending Champion(s):Paul Casey (2018-19).
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:Casey and KJ Choi (2002, 2006 – both fall events).
First Time – TOUR:Adam Hadwin (2017); Gary Woodland (2011).
First Time – EventWoodland
Oldest winner:Mark Calcavecchia, 45.
Youngest winner:Jordan Spieth, 21.
Odd Fact:Three straight international winners.
Odd Fact II:2016 renovation was the first year for TifEagle on the greens.

Quick Thoughts

Back to golf on yer own ball for 72 holes!

Back to Florida but this week doesn’t look like Florida. Oak trees, pine trees and elevation changes will make it feel different but plenty of Bermuda will quickly bring it all back around.

Rough is back. Over-seeded and three inches. It’s been since Bay Hill that the big boys have had to go dig it out. That changes this week and next at Quail Hollow.

Rough is back so that means scrambling and fairways increase in value.

If you’re not good at one, you better be good at the other.

Putting this week on grainy Bermuda shouldn’t be an issue since the last eight events (minus the Masters) have been on this surface.

Pete Dye gets the week off and that will help some, if not all. It’s not a “break” but it’s not unlocking a mystery on every shot. See it, hit it.

I hope you like Par-3 holes because there are 5 of them this week. Sounds easy, right? Drop a peg, load it and go. The quietest one is 195 on the card. The other four are 205 and up. Again, if you can’t you better scramble.

Par-5 holes will help but in the last edition only three players were 10-under or better. Paul Casey was 15-under. The other two were 10-under. No mystery on how he won!

Par returns as a proper score and rounds of 67 or better are rewarded.

Pros love this course because there’s no bullshit. It’s hard and it’s delightful. You don’t fake it here. The golf ball has to go both ways off the tee and into the greens. The grainy Bermuda will run 12+ so putters will enjoy as well.

Please read HORSES FOR COURSES for more details.

Last Week at Zurich Classic

Rahm/Palmer (+750): I mean, I get why but I don’t get why. Defending champs here have never found any magic in the team game or on their own ball. Marked men. 7th. It’s not an easy game to handicap but fading the past champions is rule No. 1 until it isn’t.

Schauffele/Cantlay (+800): This isn’t the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup so throw that out. This is a hit and giggle. SoCal kids pairing up are cool, just like Cantlay’s three straight MC. T11 would sting for those who jumped for a top 10.

Smith/Leishman (+1200): Yep, they take it more seriously. They just do. So do the Euros. Go read Ben Everill’s article at PGATOUR.com for more info on why this week is a big one for them. Oh and they both hit the top 10 at ANGC and Smith is racking them up for fun. Buying. A WINNER.

Watson/Scheffler (+1400): Bubba has had plenty of fun here and will take the newbie under his wing. Somebody will have to make a putt but pray for the Par-5 holes that will be run over. Nice T8 for the boys. When Bubba is interested, you should be interested.

Morikawa/Wolff (+1600): Not sure what Wolff is going thru right now but if he can keep the ball on the planet and make a putt or two, Morikawa can handle the rest. No signs of life again from Wolff as they didn’t break 70 in EITHER format. MC.

Finau/Champ (+1800): Could be plenty of recovery shots in this group in foursomes… And boy were there on Sunday. Started the day at 18-under in the fight, blew a tire, shot 76, fell to T17. Too much ham. Not enough egg.

Kirk/Todd (+2000): Love it. Kirk is on fire and Todd doesn’t get too far out of position and can really putt. Buying. This sadly will cut into the profit as 27th of 33 doesn’t register.

Horschel/Burns (+2200): Could have as many birdies as bogeys. Home game for Burns and Horschel is the only player to win twice here. Nibble across the board. Boom. T4 checks two of three boxes and adds a few to the till.

Willett/Hatton (+2500): Top 10 for the pair of proper grinders. Ding. Ding. T8.

33-1 or worse

Rose/Stenson (+3300): Both flashed at Augusta and then faded. They’ve tried this here before for MC and T19. Stop me if you heard this before: T3 after 36 holes. T11 after 72.

Oosthuizen/Schwartzel (+3500): Been there, done this. And both playing decently enough not to “need” anything. Relaxed. Top 10. P2. Cashed.

Grace/Varner III (+3500): Thought I’d get a bigger price but I’m still on board. Win ticket and top 10. Crashed. Burned. Give some back.

Bradley/Steele (+3500): Both are in excellent form but they’ll need to make some putts at some point. T4.

Castro/Tringale (+5500): Ramblin’ wreck together again after T5 in 2019. Go fight win. Favorite long shot. Not favorite MC. Loss.

Laird/Taylor, Nick (+7000): Laird loves this event with back to back top 10s including last time with NT. MC.

McNealy/Bramlett (+8000): Stanford boys both in very solid form including McNealy’s T4 on Pete Dye last week. Solidly MC.

$2 Long Shots

Duncan/Schenk (+12500): Those who make Boilers have posted 64 in their last 3 rounds of best ball. Fix up that alternate shot…BOOM T11.

Putnam/Harrington (+17500): Washington state boys. Should have went with George Washington…MC.

Dufner/Bozzelli (+17500): Auburn Tigers. Not close. MC.

Chalmers/Percy (+25000): Aussie pairing has hit the top 10 before. Hey, SOMEBODY had to finish DFL! 82 with a closing birdie on Sunday!

This Week – Valspar Championship

Justin Thomas (+900): I dig he loves Florida. Tough track to bust rust. More interested next week, if he plays, at Quail Hollow, site of his PGA win.

Dustin Johnson (+1300): Went close here with Casey in 2019 as he played from the final group. He loves Riviera and this reminds me of Riviera. I’ll remind you his last top 10 was at Riviera. So top 10 scratch.

Patrick Reed (+2000): Lightly raced so when he’s in the field, he has my attention. I’ve wrote all week he’s owed one here. Across the board for me (win, top 10, top 20).

Corey Conners (+2000): Worse start in his last five is T14 on a course where he’s picked up his only TOUR win (Valero). Heavy top 20 plus a top 10.

Viktor Hovland (+2000): T5 at Riviera gives me hope but I don’t like him as much as the other two at this same number above.

Paul Casey (+2200): Looking to join a hyper-elite club with three straight at one place. I like that he’s won two different ways here but I’ll let history happen without my money haha.

Scottie Scheffler (+2800): Doesn’t hate Florida, like Hovland; first trip, like Hovland. Like vets more.

Louis Oosthuizen (+3000): This goes only two ways for me: Big or Bust. Too many experiences for bust and his last three here are all T16 or better. Buying across the aboard.

Abraham Ancer (+3000): T18 book it. Top 20.

Sungjae Im (+3000): Ben An funk still on him? I’ll let you.

Russell Henley (+3000): T9 and T3 last two stroke play and a past top 10 here. Add another top 10 and top 20.

Jason Kokrak (+3000): Yeah, I’m riding this. Across the board.

Justin Rose (+3300): One of these weeks he’s going to bring it for all 72 holes. Skinny win ticket, just in case.

33-1 or worse

Joaquin Niemann (+3500): Only player between 35 and 49 at the book I use. Weird. Cut making machine but not top 10 since January. Pass.

Charley Hoffman (+5000): With three of his last seven in the top 10 and five of seven in the top 25, I think I shall.

Cameron Tringale (+5000): Trending nicely. Top 20.

Emiliano Grillo (+5000): Last two top 10s and five of seven top 25. Interesting that he’s added this to his schedule for the first time since 2015 (MC; 0-1). Pass.

Lucas Glover (+7000): T4 at Valero highlights six straight. This will be his 18th start at Valspar. Skinny across the board.

Charles Howell III (+9000): Five top 10s here are tied for the most. Add one more and a top 20.

$2 Long Shots

Brandt Snedeker (+12500): Another nice one in the Zurich followed a T6 at a demanding Valero.

Peter Uihlein (+12500): I mean, it’s hot, right?

Matthew NeSmith (+15000): Highlight that tee to green game.

Rory Sabbatini (+15000): Vets this week; last two best two.

JB Holmes (+27500): Time for him to randomly show up and contend.

Cut Makers:

DJ Trahan, Chase Koepka, Luke Donald, Sung Kang

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

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