PGA Preview – Valspar Championship, Odds, TV Schedule
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
Several of the games elite players are taking a week off following the PLAYERS this past weekend where Rory McIlroy captured his first 2019 win. But the Valspar Championship will still have the No. One ranked golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson, and several others in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) top-25! Johnson continues his ride at the top as No. 1 and he enters the Valspar Championship as the clear favorite.
Johnson comes into the Valspar Championship at +600 following a tournament where he fell behind McIlroy and second place finisher Jim Furyk finishing T5 at the PLAYERS. Johnson shot two-under on the final day but McIlroy went two-under on Sunday finishing -16 overall. Johnson went -13 overall at the PLAYERS which makes him the favorite according to oddsmakers at Intertops.
McIlroy is sitting out this week but last weeks second place finisher, Furyk, is well below Johnson at +3300. John Rahm and Jason Day are both at +1000 following the PLAYERS where Rahm finished 11-under and T12 while Day was slightly better at 8-under finishing T8. Here are the top-ten favorites entering Thursday play through +4000.
Even though Sergio Garcia got bogged down slightly last week he’s shown marked improvement on his game which seemed to be suffering several weeks ago. Garcia went 5-under on the final day at the PLAYERS showing that he’s more than capable of carding great scores. His +1600 for the Valspar may be a sign that oddsmakers like his current level of play especially when it comes to a venue like Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida. More on Copperhead below.
Factoring OWGR stats and Past Valspar Wins.
Even though names like McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Tommy Fleetwood, Phil Mickelson, and Rickie Fowler are absent from the entry list for the Valspar Championship there are plenty of power players in the field. In fact, the field this year seems stronger than most Valspar events. Seven of the favored players listed above are ranked in the top-25.
Garcia enters the event ranked No. 26 according to the OWGR and Louis Oosthuizen coming in at No. 27. But what is interesting is only two of the favored players to win the Valspar outright have won this event in the past. A quick look at past winners makes this a tough choice for those who factor past wins into their picks.
Paul Casey is the defending Champion as he went 10-under for the win in 2018 while Reed finished T2 last year with Tiger Woods - who is not playing. Reed has finished in second place at the Valspar twice. The other former Champion is Gary Woodland who won the event almost a decade ago in 2011.
Copperhead Course by the Numbers
The Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club is one of three courses designed by Larry Packard on the property. The course is gently rolling with pine tree-lined fairways featuring plenty of water hazards which is typical for Florida style courses. The course plays long, has only a few open fairways, several doglegs, tons of water and funnel-like bunkers making it the 6th toughest course on the PGA Tour Schedule.
Consistently off the tee for all four rounds is a must! Packard used the natural flow of the land, just outside of Tampa, to create a tough venue that at first look seems rather standard. Fairways tighten and narrow with the use of thick groups of pine trees. Where there are open areas Packard makes use of stand-alone trees and water hazards. Bunkers are rimmed with sloping rises that will swallow errant shots.
All these features come together at the end with three holes nicknamed the “Snake Pit” complete with individual snake names and a statue! No. 16 is the “Moccasin” and is a 460-yard par four with an elevated green. The fairway is tight with water along the right and trees to the left with several bunkers along the green. No. 17, the “Rattler,” is a tough par 3 with a tight fairway leading to large green protected by bunkers. No. 18 is the “Copperhead” which is a long par-4 lined with bunkers, trees, and fans! The upward final shot is aimed at a front and back sloping green. Sticking the green is the only way to finish.
Founded: 1974, Modern Course 2000 Designer: Larry Packard Yardage: 7,340 Par: 71 Rating: 76.8 Slope: 144 Greens: Bermuda Fairways: Bermuda
TV Coverage for 2019 Valspar Championship
• Thursday: 2:00-7:00 pm ET - Golf Channel • Friday: 2:00-7:00 pm ET - Golf Channel • Saturday: 2:00-7:00 pm ET - NBC • Sunday: 1:00-3:00 pm ET – Golf Channel • Sunday: 3:00-7:00 pm ET – NBC • Featured groups and holes streaming via PGA Tour Live.