The PGA Tour returns to Florida this week for the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor. Adam Hadwin of Canada is the defending champion and Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both make a start.
Valspar Championship Preview, TV Times
After last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship, the PGA Tour is back in Florida for the Valspar Championship. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods compete in the event for the first time and they will be joined by a host of top players, including Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both come into this event after a week off. Rory chose to miss the WGC-Mexico Championship and Tiger wasn’t eligible to play in it.
Tiger Woods continues his comeback from injury and will be looking to build on his solid 12th place finish in The Honda Classic.
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. Four years ago, 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, Luke Donald and Jordan Spieth have all won here. Last year Charl Schwartzel won for the first time in the U.S. since his 2011 Masters victory. The South African caught Bill Haas on the back nine and then beat him on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Haas returns to action this week following three weeks off after he was involved in a fatal car crash prior to the Genesis Open.
Last year in the Valspar Championship, Canada’s Adam Hadwin held off Patrick Cantlay to claim his first PGA Tour win. Cantlay was making just his second start after two years off with injury.
Designed by Larry Packard and opened in 1974, the Copperhead course at Innisbrook has played host to a number of PGA Tour events through 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.
The weather forecast is for unsettled conditions – Wind, rain and thunderstorms could all be a factor.
Venue: Copperhead Course, Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbor, Florida
Date: Mar 8-11
Course stats: par 71, 7,340 yards
Defending champion: Adam Hadwin (-14)
How to watch the Valspar Championship
Thursday 1 – Sky Sports Golf from 7pm, featured groups on Sky Sports Golf from 12 noon
Friday 2 – Sky Sports Golf from 7pm, featured groups on Sky Sports Golf from 12 noon and Sky Sports Main Event from 3.30pm
Saturday 3 – Sky Sports Golf from 6pm
Sunday 4 – Sky Sports Golf from 5pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Valspar Championship?
Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £7.99 you can get a day pass if you wish to watch one of the rounds or, for just £12.99, you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.
Players to watch:
Jordan Spieth – Looked to be close to a return to top form in the WGC-Mexico Championship. If he can re-find his putting touch he’ll be right up there.
Ryan Moore – This is a course that suits Moore; he has recorded five top-20 finishes at Innisbrook.
Cameron Smith – The 24-year-old Australian comes into this event on a good run of form. He’s recorded nine top-20 finishes in his last 10 starts.
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. The last three holes at Copperhead are known as “The Snake Pit.” Last year it was the fourth hardest closing three holes on the PGA Tour.