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Golf: US PGA Tour – Valspar Championship Preview


US PGA Tour: Valspar Championship

Copperhead Course, Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbour, Florida > March 13-16th 2014 > 7,340 yards, par 71 

Off to Innisbrook this week for the newly-named VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP – previously this was the Transitions, before that the PODS, before that the Chrysler, before that the Tampa Bay Classic and so on – many sponsor changes but the same location albeit this event is now established in March not October

Full details can be found on the PGA Tour website here > PGA Tour Website

This is a decent course, not long these days but a tough challenge (7th toughest last yr); the rough will be longer at this time of year so that emphasizes the need for accuracy off the tee – hitting greens is really key here so look for all the straight, neat and tidy players (ie previous winners and most of the market principals)

Putting well is then the final pre-requisite as good GIR is wasted if you’re taking 29 or 30 putts a round. Compton and Henry last yr were top ranked but took way too many putts and fell right down the charts. This course demands concentration and a good strong nerve when you hit the Snake Pit (the closing 3 holes) so look for experience come Sunday afternoon to maybe be a determining factor

Players with good records here are:
Donald > 6th, 1st, 4th in 3 visits
Byrd > 5 top 20s in last 8 yrs
Simpson > 4 top 20s in last 4 yrs
Furyk > 1st,  13th, 2nd, 7th in last 4 yrs
Kuchar > 3 top 15s in last 3 visits (5 yrs)
Streelman > 10th, 1st last 2 yrs
Dufner > last 5 visits all top 30 or better
Rose > Top 30 or better in all 7 visits (5th was best finish)
Choi > 4 top 10s in 12 attempts including a win


Who’s getting hot?
Bill Haas has improved in each of his last 5 events, finishing 43 / 34 /23 /17 / 6 so he may well be timing his form well for this
Harris English has been super consistent 33 / 9 / 10 / 9 / 16 in his last 5
Chesson Hadley won last week in Puerto Rico

Who should win but probably won’t?
Justin Rose > those injury concerns stop me backing him this week although this is ideal for him really
Harris English > solid and in form and favourite, feel he may go off the boil a bit though now

Old boys who should be somewhere around?
Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, KJ Choi

Picks >
Jason DUFNER > in form and if he can sink a few unlike last wk will be hard to beat, has been consistently good here without really clicking, 27 BF
Bill HAAS > course hasn’t been great for him but he is improving well and is a top golfer, knows how to win too – will be very annoyed if I miss his good week! 34 BF
Luke DONALD > recent signs of form coming back and he will be happy here with such a stellar record; also will click back into top form at some point soon 24 BF
Cameron TRINGALE > nice 3rd last yr and another player who may step up a level soon, had some good finishes in recent events (3 Top 15s) and is reasonably accurate and putts well, plays the par5s well and could be a decent shout at 75 BF
Brendon TODD > 230 is a juicy price for someone who could make a breakthrough soon – has good form and is reasonably suited to this course I think despite MC on sole previous appearance
Sang-Moon BAE > catches the eye a lot and could be a good First Round leader, but worth backing overall at 95 for me but with a view to trade out as he usually starts well then fades (poor 4th rounds often), was 2nd two yrs ago


About Author

* UK born, now live in sunny Australia * Specialise in golf & football but also dabble on the nags, cricket, US sports, AFL, etc * Always looking to go against the flow and tend to trade most of the time

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