The PGA Tour remains in Florida this week for the third leg of its “Florida Swing,” John Senden defends the title in the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor.

Lowdown:
The PGA Tour remains in Florida this week for the third leg of its “Florida Swing,” John Senden defends the title in the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor.

This tournament began life in 2000 as the Tampa Bay Classic. It’s also been known as the Chrysler Championship, the PODS Championship, the Transitions Championship and the Tampa Bay Championship. Last year, Valspar (a global provider of paints and industrial coatings) took over as title sponsor in a four-year agreement.

Over the seasons, the event has seen some notable champions: K.J. Choi, Retief Goosen, Mark Calcavecchia and Luke Donald have all won here. In 2014, Australia’s John Senden won by a single stroke over Kevin Na of the USA

Designed by Larry Packard and opened in 1974, the Copperhead course at Innisbrook has played host to a number of PGA Tour events over the years. In 1999 the layout was revamped to bring it in line with the modern game. The redesign was completed just in time for the 1999 JCPenney Classic, an event won by John Daly and Laura Davies.

Unusually for a West Coast Florida course, the track features some fairly significant changes in elevation – up to 80 feet. It has traditionally been one of the tougher courses visited by the PGA Tour. Last year the field averaged 1.433 strokes over par.

Strong winds were a contributing factor to the difficulty last year, and they could play a part again this time out. Don’t expect the winning score here to be much better than the 10-under-par mark.

Venue: Innisbrook Resort – Copperhead, Palm Harbor, Florida
Date: Mar 12-15
Course stats: par 71, 7,340 yards
Purse: $5,900,000  Winner: $1,026,000
Defending Champion: John Senden (-7)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Friday 13 – Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Saturday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 5pm
Sunday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 5pm

Player Watch:
Brandt Snedeker – He has a decent record in this tournament and it’s the type of testing track that should suit his game. It’s less than a month since he won at Pebble Beach

Ryan Moore – Playing well right now, he was tied ninth in the Cadillac but would have been a lot better if not for a poor last round. He’s finished in the top-25 in his last three events.

Kevin Na – Also tied ninth at Doral, Na was runner-up in this event last year.

Key Hole: 16th. This 460 yard par-4 has ranked as the toughest hole on the course in each of the tournaments since 2010. Water is a factor all down the right hand side.

Skills required: It’s not long driving that tends to win the day at Innisbrook. Far more important is scrambling and putting.