The Valspar Championship is another PGA event which fell foul of last year’s lockdown. So the PGA Tour we return to Innisbrook, Florida for the first time since 2019.
Valspar Championship: The Tournament
This event has only been around since 2000, and has been known as the Tampa Bay Classic, PODS Championship and Transitions Championship. It 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 – which is 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 then 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. It makes the week a stiff examination for the golfers.
266: Vijay Singh (2004)
61: Padraig Harrington (2012)
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
There’s a slim chance of rain all week, but it’s unlikely to interfere with the action. There will be plenty of cloud cover, some humidity, and temperatures will rise into the high 80’s. But with wind speeds struggling to reach 10mph on all four days, the players should face good conditions throughout the tournament.
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.
Patrick Reed – each-way (currently $22 with TopSport)
Reed hasn’t been seen since a Top 10 at Augusta, but that eighth-place finish at the Masters serves as a timely reminder of the American’s ability. As a 9-time PGA Tour winner, and Major champion, Reed has plenty of medals to put on the table. And his record at Innisbrook, where he has been runner-up twice in his last five starts (plus another Top 10) shows that this week he could well add another title to his haul. Taking time off can cut both ways, but Reed will know what’s required this week and on a track where he’s played well, it’s impossible not to think that the ebullient Texan won’t be fully wound-up. He’s already won in 2021 (Farmers Insurance Open), and his general form is good. I’d say 20/1 was a fair price, as this event looks open with a number of top players either absent or not playing their best at the moment. As such, the confident and confrontational Reed looks a decent choice to put up another strong challenge at Copperhead.
Denny McCarthy – Top 20 (currently $3.75 with TopSport)
McCarthy has found a new level of consistency in recent weeks which has really caught the eye. His form reads 26-55-3-34-13, which is extremely encouraging coming to a course where he finished ninth at his only start. McCarthy is a superb putter, and he’s consistently ranks in the Top 20 week-on-week in this category. He’s gained 21 strokes on the greens over the field for his last five starts, which just underlines how reliable he is with the putter in hand. His ball striking is often hit or miss, but recently it’s been clicking ranking 20th and 24th in two of his last three starts for Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green.
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