2017 Valspar Championship Preview

Course Breakdown

The Valspar Championship is played at Innisbrook Resort at the Copperhead course. It is a Par 71 that plays at 7,340 yards and was the 7th hardest course on tour last year. The course went through a complete restoration in 2015 so last year was the first year on the new track. There were bunkers added and fairways reconstructed for better drainage. There are 63 bunkers and 8 hazards throughout the course. Holes 16-18 finish up the round with players venturing through the “Snake Pit,” similar to the “Bear Trap” we just saw at the Honda Classic.

There are 5 Par 3’s on Copperhead and only one of them is under 200 yards. Of these 5 Par 3’s, the only hole to average less than par is the “short” 4th hole. With this in mind we are going to focus on Greens in Regulation (GIR) from 200+ yards and proximity from 200-225.

The Par 4’s throughout the Florida swing do no make as many birdie opportunities as we have been seeing in the tournaments leading up to the Sunshine state (i.e. Hawaii, California and TPC of Scottsdale). With tougher Par 4 scoring we are not going to weight driving distance as heavy this week. It will be more crucial to focus on GIR, Strokes Gained (SG), and tee to green.

The Par 5’s are where there will be birdie opportunities this week. They are very long holes so most players will be hitting the green in 3 shots. While there will be a select few of players that can reach the green in two because of their distance off the tee, I would reserve those players for tournament lineups only and avoid them in cash.

Our Player Pool

When selecting the player pool for Valspar, there are a few key statistics that we will be relying on.  Historically this course has favored the golfers with the strongest accuracy/precision so we will be putting little weight on bomber’s.  Valspar requires players to take a strategic approach in their shots to give them the best angle at the green. This will give an advantage to players that have a strong Strokes Gained:  Tee to Green ranking.

Course History will be important in this tournament.  As mentioned earlier, giving yourself a favorable line at the green will be very important.  This will favor the players with a strong course history as they will be able to benefit from the advantageous approach angles.

Recent Winners

2016: Charl Schwartzl
2015: Jordan Spieth
2014: John Senden
2013: Kevin Streelman
2012: Luke Donald
2011: Gary Woodland

Field Notes

With a field similar to the Honda Classic played a couple weekends ago, there are a few notables that stand out.  Henrik Stenson will be returning to action after his weekend was cut short at the WGC-Mexico Championship due to illness.  It will be important to monitor his health as he has finished 11th and 4th place in his two trips to Valspar.  Matt Kuchar has made the cut each year and could be a cash game staple this week. Charles Howell III has made the cut 6/7 tries with three straight top-15’s at Valspar.  Bill Haas looks for revenge after last year’s playoff loss to Charl Schwartzl. Haas is coming into the Valspar Championship in great form. Jason Dufner provides us with the elite course history that we are looking for with 6 straight top 30 finishes and no missed cuts. Luke Donald, a notable Florida import, has fared well at the Valspar Championship.  A course horse with 6/6 made cuts as well as an impressive stretch of three straight top 4 finishes from 2012 to 2014.  Luke is returning to that No. 1 golfer we once knew so it will be interesting to see where he is priced this week on DraftKings.

Weather Forecast

A detailed Valspar Championship DFS strategy article will be published Tuesday evening.

Podcast: Course History

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