The Florida Swing has come and gone however there may be one final cease within the Sunshine State.
It’s the Valspar Championship which takes place this week at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course.
The occasion has taken a late slot on the schedule this yr, usually performed in mid-March in earlier years. It was not performed throughout the 2020 calendar yr, resulting from COVID-19.
There might be 156 golfers lining as much as begin the week and the highest 65 plus ties will advance via the 36-hole minimize line.
The course this week is the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort. It has hosted this occasion because the inaugural 2000 version when it was simply an alternate-field occasion.
The scorecard reads 7,340 yards whereas taking part in as a par-71 structure. It’s not a conventional par 71, although, as there are 4 par 5s and 5 par 3s.
The par 5s do not provide many eagle alternatives however they’re the perfect place to select up birdies, that are uncommon at this course. The discipline solely averages about 11 par breakers per 72 holes performed. One of the harder scoring environments they face all yr. Boring golf is the recipe for fulfillment right here, as Bubba Watson identified in his final go to.
Looking at membership choice off the tee, the course is tight and tree-lined, golfers will lay again on fairly a number of holes right here so it is undoubtedly thought-about extra of a less-than-driver, or positional, course. That may be very obvious while you learn via the previous quotes from the course.
Since golfers are taking much less membership off the tee, that leaves them some longer method photographs. Combine that with all 5 of the par 3s taking part in over 195 years, it ups the significance of mid-iron and long-iron efficiency.
As for the dialogue on grass, the transfer to late April has given time for the bermudagrass to develop in. In earlier editions, the overseeded rye and poa triv had been dominant throughout event week however that will not be the case this week because the bermuda ought to be the star of the present.
The greens are smaller than TOUR common, fairly slopey, and run between 11.5 and 12 ft on the stimp most years. All the slopes on the greens make them play fairly a bit quicker than that ho-hum stimp itemizing. It places an emphasis on iron play as a result of you will get your self into plenty of unimaginable up-and-down conditions right here if you’re lacking your mark on method.
Sifting via some previous quotes, let’s attempt to break down the course to see the way it will play.
Henrik Stenson: “It’s a course where you position yourself off the tee quite a lot, you have to lay back unless you really want to try and thread a few of the tee shots out there. So, quite a few 2-irons and 4-woods, 3-woods off the tee and little bit longer irons into the greens which are pretty small and kind of sits at an angle towards you quite a lot so you want to try to keep it underneath the hole because I can only imagine the kind of quick putts you can get if you end up in the wrong place or chipping from the wrong place.”
Paul Casey: “The difference between hitting the green and landing just short, the dispersion of where the shots finish is high. There’s a premium on ball striking. Scoring’s never that low around here.”
Jordan Spieth: “The course plays longer than the yardage, no doubt about it. But I enjoy the challenge. You really have to be in the fairway out here and so whatever it takes to put it there, whether it’s driver or you got to go back to a hybrid or 2 iron.”
Daniel Berger: “You got to hit your long irons well because you’re going to have a few of them coming into in par-4s and par-5s. I’m used to South Florida, born and raised. It gets windy out there.”
Bubba Watson: “Started messing around with stats and looking at it and this week Teddy texted me, to play good around here you’re going to have to play boring golf. So you have to pick and choose your battles and around here it wasn’t so much of putting as it was hitting the greens in regulation. So trying to hit fairways or hit wherever you can to get on the green. It’s about greens in regulation here we figured out and so you had to just kind of plot along and that’s kind of what I did. “
Looking at grass sorts, geography, course attributes, and previous efficiency, listed here are a number of programs/occasions that I feel may show to be an excellent pointer this week:
Quail Hollow Club
TPC River Highlands
The themes listed here are long-iron play and strategic off-the-tee selections.
Thursday: Partly sunny with a excessive of 86 levels. Winds at 6 to 10 MPH.
Friday: Sunny with a excessive of 79 levels. A 50 p.c likelihood of sunshine rain, doubtless early afternoon. Winds at 6 to 12 MPH.
There is a few afternoon rain doable most days this week however general it appears to be like like a strong climate week so long as they will keep away from the heavy stuff.
Golfers to Watch
Thomas landed prime 20s in every of his first two Valspar appearances however missed the minimize in his most up-to-date go to (2017). He was coping with abdomen points that week so we must always most likely give him a go for the MC. The variety of lengthy irons required right here ought to actually go well with him effectively.
A regression was to be anticipated after his red-hot run final summer time into the autumn. that occurred just lately when he completed 54-48-MC on the WGC-Workday, PLAYERS, and Masters. He rebounded with a Thirteenth-place end at Harbour Town. signal that his recreation is again on monitor? Potentially, however with him not firing on all cylinders within the lead-up it is smart by Thomas takes the highest spot on the chances board.
Speaking of odds, the Canadian checks in at fourth on the chances sheet this week and sits proper between confirmed winner Patrick Reed and back-to-back Valspar champ, Paul Casey. Conners might not have the identical pedigree as them however he led after rounds one, two, and three throughout the 2018 Valspar and arrives this yr taking part in the perfect golf of his profession.
How are you able to discuss in regards to the Valspar with out mentioning the Englishman. He is the back-to-back champ at this occasion however had nothing higher than a T37 in his first 4 visits. Funny how that works out generally. It seems he is discovered an excellent recreation plan for the course.
The Clemson product has prime 20s in two of his final three appearances at Innisbrook Resort. He additionally arrives with prime 20s in two of his final three begins within the lead-up. One of these “converging trends” picks that appears fairly good while you persist with the fundamentals of current kind and up to date course historical past.
Nearly picked off a win final week alongside fellow South African, Louis Oosthuizen. Now Schwartzel returns to the positioning of his 2016 victory as he tries to construct on that Zurich momentum. He’s not going to look nice in most fashions due to his decline in baseline efficiency over the previous couple of years however it seems this is perhaps the early levels of a return to kind and he is taking part in a course that has handled him effectively over time.
Ranking the Field
1. Justin Thomas
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Patrick Reed
4. Paul Casey
5. Corey Conners
6. Viktor Hovland
7. Tyrrell Hatton
8. Joaquin Niemann
9. Abraham Ancer
10. Jason Kokrak
11. Scottie Scheffler
12. Louis Oosthuizen
13. Russell Henley
14. Ryan Palmer
15. Sungjae Im
16. Justin Rose
17. Chris Kirk
18. Sam Burns
19. Max Homa
20. Emiliano Grillo