Valspar Daily Fantasy Blog

Valspar Championship

March 10th – 13th, 2016

Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead Course)

Palm Harbor, Fla.

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,340

Purse: $6.1 million

with $1,098,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jordan Spieth









Sunday March 13th, 2016



Odds and ends from the Valspar looking forward toward the Palmer…

Ryan Moore may have finished 3rd, but his final round was in a rut.  After opening with a birdie at one, he bogeyed three and five before making a birdie at six.  That would be his last one, he made par over his last 12 holes.  Now the good news, his third-place finish is his best since winning the CIMB Classic 17 months ago.  The really big news is that Moore has finished in the top-11 in five of his last seven starts.  Moore didn’t play in the Palmer last year, but he did finish T-4th in 2012, the course is very good for his game and he is someone to watch for next week.
Charles Howell III really wants to play in the Masters.  Hard to believe that he is 21st on the PGA Tour career money list but only has played in eight Masters and only once (T-19th in 2012) in the last seven years.  He was born and raised in Augusta, his dad is a pediatric surgeon in Augusta and Charles learned how to play at Augusta C.C. which is adjacent to Amen Corner.  He really wants to play in the Masters and he has to win either at the Palmer or the Shell Houston Open.  The bad news for Howell, in 15 starts at Bay Hill he only has one top-10 and that was in 2005 so I don’t expect him to do that great at the Palmer.  Howell always plays well the first three months of the year and tails off.  Yes, he has some top-10s in Houston and the Nelson, but Howell seems to struggle when the calendar clicks over to April.  Still Howell will make lots of cuts and finish a lot in the top-25 so look for him each week and if there is a week he is cheap, take him.
Scott Brown had a consistent week and finished T-7th and it’s his second straight top-10 (was T10th at Honda).  This week he led the field in strokes gained putting  (6.495 total for the four rounds) and when you go through the Draft Kings numbers look for him.  He is a great low-priced option and one that could help you at the Palmer.  He has played there twice, missed the cut in 2014 and was 13th in 2013 so you never know, if he keeps up the good putting he could have another good finish.
Retief Goosen could be a person to watch at the Palmer. Other than a 6th in an opposite-field event, the 2015 Barracuda, his T-11th at the Valspar is his best finish since a T-8th at the 2015 Northern Trust more than a year ago.  Goosen has two 4th place finishes in the Palmer, so if his price is low enough, he could be a good outside pick.
Henrik Stenson had a consistent four days at the Valspar, from tee to green he ranked third in strokes gained picking up 2.377 shots per round.  Stenson hit 48 of 72 greens and was 4th, but his problem was again his putting, he was third from last in Strokes Gained Putting.  You never know if in the next three days Stenson can find some pixie dust for his putter, but a combination of him hitting the ball well along with finishing in the top 10 at the Palmer the last three years (was runner-up last year) makes us think that he is a person who could win.  The course sets up for his game and if he could putt just a bit better he could be your winner next week.



Nothing unexpected in Schwartzel’s win…
It’s hard to believe that Charl Schwartzel had only won once on the PGA Tour before this week, at the 2011 Masters.  For years now Schwartzel has taken care of business on the European Tour between December and January.  Of his 15 worldwide wins, only four have happened in months that aren’t December and January, with the Masters being one of them.  Eight of the wins have come in South Africa and what is strange when he comes over to play in the United States or Europe, he seems to lose his steam.  The last three months is a perfect example, the only difference is a win in America.  Schwartzel ended his 2015 European season finishing T-4th at the DP World Tour Championship.  The next week the European Tour started 2016 with the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa and he won it by four shots.  The next week he finished T-9th at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, then the holidays came.  In Schwartzel’s first start in January, he won the Tshwane Open by eight shots and came over to play in the Northern Trust.  He has played well at Riviera, but this year he finished T-45th and was T-17th at Doral, so the thought was that like other years he would go without a victory after his South African swing.
On the surface his game has been good this year.  He played in L.A. a week after winning the Tshwane, so we could understand a bit of jet lag from the 10,000-mile journey along with the 10-hour time change.  In L.A. Schwartzel’s game wasn’t sharp, from tee to green he was sloppy and had troubles on the green.  The same could be said of Cadillac, his putting was terrible as he ranked 57th out of 66 players in Strokes Gained Putting, but he did show some ball striking improvement as he was 7th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green.  Another reason he went under the radar, it was only his second visit to Innisbrook, his first in 2012 was a missed cut, so many never even thought of him.
The one unheard stat of Schwartzel’s week is that he was the only player in the field that improved his score each day, shooting a first-round 71, then 70 followed by a 69 on Saturday and 67 on Sunday.  Schwartzel also improved his birdie count each day, making 3 on Thursday, 4 on Friday, 5 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday.  Stat wise he didn’t dominate anything, about his best stat was T-10th in hitting 47 of 72 greens.  The most important thing that Schwartzel did was get very hot with the putting on Sunday.  He picked up 3.047 shots putting as he made 144 feet of putts.  He made five putts over seven feet but the one that really got him going was the 64-foot bomb on 13 for birdie.  He also made a 7-footer on the next hole for birdie and then another bomb on 17 of 23 feet for birdie.  Schwartzel started the day five behind Bill Haas and going to the 13th tee he was still four back.  So when Schwartzel played the last six holes in three under and Haas was one over that set up the playoff.
The interesting thing about Schwartzel winning is the fact that he goes on the list of past Masters champions that have won in the last two months, so he has to be one of the favorites at Augusta.  He is also a great candidate for playing well in late spring and the summer in the Byron Nelson, the Memorial, the U.S. Open and the British Open.  It should be a great year for him.
Here are some neat numbers for Schwartzel for this week:

Here are some neat numbers for Schwartzel for this week:

  • 4 – Number of Masters champions that have won since January (Jordan Spieth, Hyundai – Bubba Watson, Northern Trust – Adam Scott, Honda & Cadillac – Charl Schwartzel, Valspar
  • 5 – Number of shots he made up in the final round over Bill Haas, it was the biggest comeback in Valspar history.
  • 6 – Number of major champions that have won in 2016 (the four Master champs above plus Graeme McDowell and Jason Dufner.
  • 9 under – Score on the Par 5s for the week, along with Henrik Stenson the best of the week.
  • 144′ 9″ – Length of putts Schwartzel made on the final day.

Haas finds it hard to lead…
Of Bill Haas’ six wins, three of them have come when he leads or co-leads going into the final round.  His last two wins has been with the lead so many felt that he would be comfortable with the lead on Sunday.  In his first 54 holes Haas made just four bogeys, but on Sunday he made four in regulation and one in his playoff loss.  It’s easy to see why he lost, he couldn’t get up and down from greenside bunkers on the 16th hole and then the first in the playoff.  Another problem for Haas was not being able to scramble for par.  In his first 54 holes, he missed 16 greens but saved par in 14 of those cases.  But in the final round, Haas missed eight greens and was only able to get it up and down four times, accounting for his four bogey.
Haas isn’t playing at the Palmer, but returns at the Match Play where he hasn’t done very well.  Haas is not a very good spring player, so don’t count on seeing him high up leaderboards until the Players, where he finished T-4th last year. He also has had some luck at the Memorial and the Wells Fargo, but it will probably be the summer until he plays in the Greenbrier and the Quicken Loans when we see him contending again.


Saturday March 12th, 2016


Haas moves to the front…
Bill Haas quietly goes about his business on the PGA Tour, so it is perhaps easy to not notice he has won at least one tournament in five of the last six years (six wins in all). He’s got a good chance to add 2016 to his winning list as a 67 on Saturday gave him a one-stroke lead over Graham DeLaet and three strokes clear of third place.
It wasn’t a spectacular 67, but it got the job done (amateur Lee McCoy had the only better round, a 66). Haas hit 14 greens and made only one bogey, but hit only two approach shots inside 15 feet. He made both of those putts (from nine feet at No. 1 and six feet at No. 10), two-putted for birdie at the par-5 11th, holed a 16-footer at No. 4 and a 30-footer from off the green on the 15th to account for his five birdies. Haas three-putted the 13th from 40 feet for his lone bogey, but that wasn’t reflective of the wonderful touch he had on long putts most of the day, lagging putts of more than 50 feet within tap-in range on three occasions.
Haas has been inconsistent to start 2016 after taking most of the fall off. He does have a pair of top-10s (T-9 at CareerBuilder, T-8th at Pebble Beach), but in his last four tournaments missed two cuts and was a lowly T-49 at the no-cut WGC-Cadillac. As for his record with the 54-hole lead, he’s been getting better. His first four times in that situation he shot between 72 and 75, managing to win one of them, but his last two times has shot 66 and 67 for victories that give him a 3-for-6 mark with the third-round lead.
Some key numbers for Haas this week:

  • 4 – Number of bogeys through three rounds on a course that has been playing tough, tied for the fewest in the field.
  • 4th and 5th – His ranks in strokes gained tee to green and strokes gained putting, respectively, showing that he’s been good all-around.
  • 38 – Greens in regulation through three rounds (10, 14, and 14), ranking T-1st.
  • 1 under – Haas’ score on the four greens he missed Saturday, chipping inside five feet three times and knocking it in the hole once.
  • 14th – Haas’ best finish in seven previous appearances at Innisbrook.



Have a funny feeling about Graham…
Yes Bill Haas is a good player and there are a lot of good players on the leaderboard going into Sunday’s final round, but I just have to think that it’s Graham DeLaet’s time to shine.  He has been on the PGA Tour since 2010 and been in this position a dozen times in which a good final round could get him his first PGA Tour victory.  But DeLaet just never delivered that killer blow, just five months ago DeLaet was in a similar situation as he entered the final round at the Frys.Com two shots back of the leader and shot 77.
Still after playing 136 events he is long overdue.  The last time he played here in 2014 he shot 68 in the final round to finish T-8 so I just have to think that maybe Sunday will be his day.



72 wasn’t that bad for Steve Stricker…
Normally when players are in the hunt on Saturday and shoot over par, they wouldn’t be happy.  But for Steve Stricker his third-round 72 had some positives.  Maybe because he is 49 and has a lot of experience, but if you look at his stats, he hit 8 of 13 fairways and 14 of 18 greens.  But his problem on Saturday was putting, he lost 1.267 shots on the greens as he only made 56 feet of putts.  Things didn’t get off very well when he missed a 5-footer on one for birdie, then on the next hole hit a poor drive and couldn’t save par.  For the day he missed four of five putts in the five- to ten-foot range.
Still Stricker is happy with his game but after this week it may be a while till we see him again.  Stricker isn’t playing next week in the Palmer and since he is 249th in the World Rankings he won’t be in the Match Play.  Worst of all Stricker won’t be in the Masters and it will be the first time since 2006 that he hasn’t played at Augusta.  Still we will see him in lots of spring events and you know that he will be a person we watch.



Jordan Spieth…
After opening with a 76, Spieth had a bogey-free third round shooting 67.  After playing his first twelve holes in five over, he has played his last 42 holes in seven under.
On Saturday it helped that he was able to make to long putts on the back nine, first on 12th hole with a 31-footer for a birdie and then on the 14th hole making a 52-footer for an eagle.  Spieth has made a remarkable recovery, after Thursday he was T-117th and has climbed 108 spots to T-9th.  More importantly, he is six back of leader Bill Haas and has an outside chance of winning.




Charley Hoffman…
We have seen his game improve this year after missing the cut in his first three starts.  Hoffman’s problem has been playing four solid rounds, at the Northern Trust started with 71-69 only to finish 73-73.  Last week at the Cadillac, the same thing, opened with 68-70 but had a tough weekend of 74-75.  So for Hoffman to start with rounds of 69-72, the question was going to be if he could improve over the weekend.
He showed lots of improvement on Saturday as he shot 67 and it could have been better if he didn’t bogey his final hole.  His ball-striking wasn’t the greatest, he hit 7 of 13 fairways and 9 of 18 greens, but he found a bit of luck holing a 32-foot bunker shot on 8 for birdie and then again from a greenside bunker at the 15th.  In between he birdied 12 with a 35- footer and the 14th with a birdie from 6 feet.  So it had to be a big disappointment to hit a perfect drive at 18 only to dump his second shot short of the green in a bunker.  He missed an 11-footer for par, but still shot 67. For Hoffman it’s been a while since he broke 70 in the third round, the last time was 14 tournaments ago at the Canadian Open when he shot 69 to help him finish T-7th.



Wild swings over the first two days at the Valspar…
The second round produced its share of wild swings from the first round.  We all know about the eight-shot swing of Jordan Spieth shooting 76 and 68, but here are a few others.  George McNeill shot 74 on Thursday afternoon, but was eight shots better on Friday morning and went on Thursday losing 0.783 shots on the greens to picking up 3.903 thanks to making 151 feet of putts, the most of anyone on Friday.  McNeill has been a pretty consistent player since 2011, but struggled in his first five starts of 2016 missing the cut.  Things got better at Honda when he finished T-53rd and if he plays well this week we may consider him for next week’s Palmer, in which his best finish in six starts is T-14th in 2014.
Another big turnaround came from Graham DeLaet, who is getting more coverage for looking more like California mountain man Grizzly Adams with his long beard than someone on the PGA Tour.  DeLaet went from a round of 72 on Thursday in which he only made one birdie, to Friday’s 66 in which he started his day eagle-birdie, then played the back nine in 33.  DeLaet didn’t hit the ball any better on Friday, but made 87 feet of putts compared to just 41 on Thursday.  DeLaet struggled with his swing after the terrible weather in San Diego at the Farmers, but has strengthened things out.
One of the biggest turnarounds was by Adam Hadwin, who shot 79 on Thursday but fought back with a 69 that included a double bogey.  He did it manly with a turnaround in his ball striking, hitting 5 of 13 fairways Thursday compared to 10 of 13 on Friday.  He hit only 8 of 18 greens on Thursday, was 13 of 18, the fourth best of the day.
Along with the big comebacks you also have the big falls.  It doesn’t get any bigger than Keegan Bradley, who went from leading the tournament on Thursday with a 67 to missing the cut after shooting 79 on Friday.  It was like the difference from day to night for Bradley, on Thursday he gained 3.931 shots from tee to green, on Friday he lost 3.368.  On Thursday he gained 2.291 shots putting, but lost 2.984 on Friday.  Bradley made three double bogeys on Friday, two of them on par 5s which he played in 3 over on Friday, compared to two under on Thursday.  For many of us we have a big choice next week on Bradley.  In the Arnold Palmer he was T-3rd in 2013, 2nd in 2014 and T-49th last year so going with the horses for courses theory he would be someone we would think of picking.  But after shooting 79 at Innisbrook we have to think twice.  We can see that he has missed five of his last six cuts, and has been very inconsistent going back further than that.  The last time Bradley had four rounds in the 60s during a tournament was back in 2014 at the WGC-Bridgestone.  In his 36 stroke play events since the Bridgestone 18 months ago, Bradley’s high-round average is 73.29 an astonishing number.  So we just can’t advise picking Bradley anytime in the near feature until he regains some form of constistency and stops going from 67 to 79.

Afternote on Bradley missing the cut…
So how rare is it to lead after the first round and not finish 72 holes?
Since 1970 it’s happened 36 times, but nine of them was because a player either was disqualified or withdrew.  Of the 27 left, you have to eliminate 11 of them because they were in five-round events like the old Bob Hope or the Las Vegas Invitational.  So that leaves 16 players who like Bradley led after the first round and then missed the 36-hole cut.  Interesting to note that the last time this happened was at the 2014 Valspar when Danny Lee went from a Thursday 68 to a 79 on Friday.


Friday March 11th, 2016


Hard to believe, but your co-leader is…
Steve Stricker. We’ve just about written him off, thinking that his finish to the 2013 season was his last hurrah. At the age of 46, he ended the 2013 season finishing 2nd at the Deutsche Bank, 4th at the BMW Championship and 2nd at the Tour Championship to finish 3rd in the FedEx Cup playoffs.  But physical and family problems derailed him after that.  At the start of 2014, Stricker spent a lot of time with his brother Scott who was so sick that he needed a liver transplant.  He had the transplant in February but when Steve went back to playing, he was struggling.  His game didn’t come together until the Memorial, where he finished T-6th.  His next start at the U.S. Open he finished T-21st but just after that hurt his left hip which turned into a torn labrum.  If that wasn’t enough, Stricker was suffering some pain from a herniated disk in his back and neck which forced him not to play in the British Open.  The next month he seemed better, finishing T-7th at the PGA Championship but the day before the championship he found out about the torn labrum.  After the PGA he decided to shut it down and rest his injuries along with spending some time with his brother.  In the first week of October, Scott’s kidneys malfunctioned and soon after he died.
Stricker didn’t play again until the start of December at the Hero World Challenge and finished 14th.  The bulging disc became worse and he underwent surgery on December 24th to fix the problem.  Stricker didn’t play again until the 2015 Masters and despite not being in the best of shape still finished T-28th.  Stricker didn’t play well in his next eight starts and after finishing T-30th at the PGA Championship, decided to rest and not play in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Stricker came back this year at the Sony Open and opened up with three subpar rounds, shot 72 on the final day and finished T-64th.  He missed the cut at the CareerBuilder, Phoenix and AT&T Pebble Beach before finally having a good showing at the Northern Trust, finishing T-11th.
Coming into the Valspar the one thing that was encouraging was that Stricker is starting to feel stronger again and able to practice without back pain.  So it’s no surprise that feeling better that Stricker played well the first two rounds.  Stricker feels like he is hitting the ball well, for the first two days he picked up 3.268 shots from tee to green but it’s his 5.602 shots gained putting that leads the field.  He has made 203 feet of putts which is 4th, and his round on Friday included an eagle at ten when he holed out from 150 yards with a 7-iron.  He opened the round making a six-footer for birdie at 1, then holed from 61 feet at 4 for birdie.  As he said to the media after the round about his eagle and long putt at 4 that was going pretty fast at the time that the hole got in the way, “some things evidently definitely went my way.”  He made bogey at 8, but added birdies at 14 and 16.
The good news is that Stricker seems to be healthy again and even with a limited schedule you know he will play well on courses like Innisbrook.  In looking into the future, Stricker should also be good at Colonial, Memorial, Greenbrier and the John Deere so we have another player to watch the rest of the year.



Spieth survives to the weekend…
Jordan Spieth isn’t one to let a bad first round get him down. At last year’s Heritage, a week after winning the Masters, he opened with a 74 and came back with a 62. Three weeks ago at the Northern Trust, he shot a first-round 79 and a 68 the next day, though the first round was so high that he missed the cut. So, it wasn’t a big surprise that the world No. 1 and defending Valspar champion rebounded from Thursday’s 76 with a 68. He didn’t want the weekend off, and ended up making the cut with a stroke to spare.
It didn’t start that way, as Spieth’s tee shot on No. 1 sailed into the trees on the right and he had to take an unplayable lie. He ended up with a bogey on the par 5, after making bogey on two par 5s in the first round. He steadied himself with an approach to six feet to birdie the third, but the key to his round was holing shots from off the green three times. We’ve almost come to expect around-the-green play like that from the man with perhaps the best short game on Tour, but his first chip-in was something different. Just 16 feet from the hole on No. 5 but with the ball sitting down a little in the intermediate rough, he decided to belly a wedge for the first time ever—and knocked it in the hole. Then he holed out from the fringe from 30 feet to birdie the seventh, and after a conventional birdie on No. 9 from six feet chipped in from 34 feet for his last birdie on No. 15. For good measure, he saved par on 17 with a bunker shot inside two feet.
While Spieth showed plenty of grit and a great touch, he didn’t show that his game was particularly sharp, though he certainly hit the ball better than he did in the first round. After hitting just six greens in the first round, he hit 10 in the second and ranks T-69 in that category through 36 holes. His putting was decidedly ordinary in the second round, losing 0.557 strokes on the greens as he missed from six feet, from nine feet, and several in the 12-to-16-foot range. Is he all the way back? No. But he provided relief to fantasy players who at least didn’t have to endure a missed cut from him. And some hope for himself that he’s headed in the right direction.



Second round thoughts

Choi fights back…
K.J. Choi had to be on a lot of people’s list as a good darkhorse. Despite not winning since the 2011 Players, he has come close recently, finishing runner-up and one shot back at the Farmers and T-5th at the Northern Trust, three shots back of winner Bubba Watson. He came to the Valspar as a two-time champion, but since finishing second in 2010 has not played very well there.
The first round wasn’t pretty as he didn’t birdie a single hole and had three bogeys for a 74. His main problem was the putter, he lost 2.334 shots on the green and it looked like he would have to scramble just to make the cut.
Playing early Friday morning, he got off to a great start making birdie at 10 from 39 feet, then made a 12-footer for birdie at 12. He hit a poor tee shot at the par-3 13th that cost him a bogey but birdied the 14th and 16th holes to turn in 32. On his second nine again he made a long putt, from 31 feet for birdie at 3, made bogey at 5 but with a five footer at 9 made birdie for his 67. For the day he made 133 feet of putts, second best of the day turning around the first day’s negative numbers putting into a 3.558 shot gain.
With the 67 Choi climbs 68 positions to T-15th and is just four shots back of the leaders. This round just goes to show how much a good day can turn things around.



The other 67s
There were three other 67s along with K.J. Choi’s, Justin Thomas and Will MacKenzie joining Choi by doing it in the morning and Bill Haas doing so in the afternoon. .
Will MacKenzie got off to a great start with four birdies on the front.  They came thanks to a five- footer at 1, a nine-footer at 2, a seven-footer at 6 and a nine-footer at 7.  His sole bogey came on the par 5, 11th hole when he hit a poor third shot and wasn’t able to make a seven-footer to save par.  He did end the day tossing in a bomb on 18, making a 36-footer for birdie and the lead.  Stat wise he was sharp, leading the field hitting 15 of 18 greens.  He gained 3.975 shots from tee to green.
It’s been a year since MacKenzie’s last top-ten, a T-6th at the Puerto Rico Open.  The last time he opened with two subpar rounds was at the OHL Classic when he shot 67-70 but struggled on the weekend with rounds of 72-72 to finish T-58th.  It’s been a slow start for him, mainly due to having knee surgery in July to repair a torn meniscus. He feels that maybe he shouldn’t have played in the fall events and given the knee some rest, but things are great now.  One thing to watch is his putting which hasn’t been good the last couple of months.  On Friday he used two different putter grips, going back and forth between a traditional grip to a claw grip.  Very strange to see him with different techniques during the round, still he is the co-leader so it’s working just fine.

Justin Thomas had the potential of having the best round of the day before finishing poorly.  Starting on the back nine, Thomas made a 23-footer on 10 for birdie, then made a 14-footer for birdie at 11.  He made par on the next three holes, on 13 thanks to a 9-footer.  N 15 he holed a 15-footer for birdie, at 16 holed a 6-footer for par and then at 18 made a 5-footer for birdie.  He also birdied 1 and 3.  A strange thing happened on 4, he had a 14-footer for birdie but ran it ten feet by. He made that one for a tough par.  The next hole a par 5, he hit a terrible 75-yard wedge into a greenside bunker, came out and missed a 17- footer for par.  On the next hole he just missed the green, but chipped poorly and missed another 17-footer for par.  For the day he gained 3.418 shots on the green thanks to making 104 feet of putts.  He hit the ball well gaining 2.230 shots from tee to green when he hit 8 of 13 fairways and 11 of 18 greens.  Despite being two back he could have easily been tied for the lead..

Bill Haas had a very consistent 67, making five birdies and one bogey.  He hit the ball well hitting 14 of 18 greens and did what we all know he is good for, playing well on tough courses.  Bill has struggled a bit of late, missing the cut at the Farmers and Northern Trust, then finished T-49th at Doral.  Earlier in the week he was working on his game with his father, who probably had a lot to do with his improved ball-striking.  One thing to keep in mind with Haas, despite the course seeming to be perfect for his game, in seven starts at Innisbrook he only has made the cut four times and last year’s T-14th was his best finish.  So I expect a good finish from him, but not a win.



First causality of the day, Charlie Beljan…
Talk about a player that is in real limbo, someone that nobody would pick not matter how low a price he was. Three and a half years ago Beljan won the 2012 Children’s Miracle Network Classic, the last event played at Walt Disney World in Florida. It was a classic win that caught the attention of the sports world when he managed to fight his way through the second round with severe shortness of breath, heart palpitations and an elevated heart rate. He managed to post an 8-under 64, good for a three-shot, 36-hole lead as he headed straight to the hospital by ambulance. The situation was determined to have been caused by extremely high levels of anxiety and stress. Though nothing was physically wrong, doctors still advised him not to continue playing. Over the weekend he shot 71-69 which was good enough for a two shot win.
It ended his year on a high note, going into the week he was in danger of losing his PGA Tour card and all of a sudden he had a two-year pass on the Tour. The win gave him new life on the PGA Tour, three months later he was runner-up in the Northern Trust and everything looked great. In his last 18 events of 2013 he only made five cuts, but things still seemed like they would be OK.
He continued to struggle in 2014, in 26 starts only made 12 cuts and his best finish was a T-9th at the Humana Challenge. He didn’t qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs finishing 130th in the rankings, but he was 124th on the money list to keep his card. In his eighth start of the year he finished third at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but things still didn’t work out and again he didn’t make it into the FedEx Cup playoffs, finishing the year 149th on the list. Again, the good news, thanks to his $462,000 check at Pebble he finished 120th on the money list which enabled him retain his tour card for 2016.
That was the good news, after finishing T74th at the Fry’s, he hasn’t made a check in his last nine starts. In those 22 rounds he has only broken par six times.
In the first round yesterday Beljan started par, birdie but then had three bogeys on the front. The back was terrible, he had a bogey, two doubles and a triple on the 13th hole and shot 81, his worst round since an 82 in last year’s Humana Challenge. He withdrew this morning without reason and isn’t planning on playing until Puerto Rico in two weeks. No matter what, he is not a player you want to pick.


Thursday March 10th, 2016


And your first round leaders are…

Keegan Bradley
Since the calendar turned to 2016, Bradley has made only one cut in five tries, a T-24th in Phoenix. His main problem has been putting, as he ranks 208th out of 213 players in strokes gained: putting this season at -1.233 per round, struggling to adjust after the anchoring ban. In Thursday’s 67, he was very good on the greens, gaining 2.291 strokes. He didn’t miss a putt inside 18 feet, which isn’t quite as awesome as it sounds since he only faced two putts of between five and 18 feet. Still, it’s nice that he made those two, both of them from nine feet, and didn’t miss any short ones (which were mostly tap-ins after chipping or putting close from near the green). And also nice that he canned a 25-footer for his last of five birdies.
Bradley hit only 11 greens, but that’s misleading since he hit the fringe in regulation three times and gained 3.931 strokes tee to green. Now he’s tied for the lead and the main question heading into the last three rounds is how his putter will hold up when he’s bound to face more 4-to-12-footers than he did today.

Charles Howell III
One of those anomalies on the PGA Tour, it’s hard to believe that he has won close to $30 million playing golf.  Not bad for a player that only has won twice, in his 16-year career he has made 460 starts and had 76 top-10s and an incredible 172 top-25 finishes.  You see Howell is one of those players you don’t think about in fantasy golf because he rarely comes down the stretch with a chance to win.  Howell is always in the $8,000 range which is high for someone that you want to just make the cut.
You see Howell is a money making machine, he is one of about a dozen guys that seems to always get a high check and finish over a million dollars a year.  Talk about consistency, he has made a million dollars every year since 2001, yes 15 straight years (you can call it 16, he is at $842,292 for this year).
But for fantasy golf players he is one that isn’t high up many lists.  It’s hard to believe that this is only the sixth time he has led or co-led after the first round and the last time he did it was the 2004 Booz Allen.  Oh, in his previous five first-round leads he never won, funny thing in his two PGA Tour wins he never led in those after any of the first three rounds. Howell had a round of four birdies and no bogeys, one of just three bogey-free rounds of the day (Others were Ken Duke (67) and Chez Reavie (69).  In his round Howell hit 7 of 13 fairways and 11 of 18 greens.  His putter was working, he gained 2.658 shots on the green, one of his birdies on 11 was thanks to a 45-foot bomb.  Now for those wondering, since Howell has done so well at the Valspar with three top-10s including a runner-up in 2009 maybe this will be his year.  Unfortunately, we can easily predict what will happen with Howell, he will hang on and get another top-10 finish but based on his track record you can bet the farm that he won’t win.
So you can see why I say that Charles Howell III is one of those anomalies of the PGA Tour.

Ken Duke
Ken Duke must have been really ticked off that he missed a birdie putt from 2 feet, 9 inches on the 14th hole after nearly hitting the par 5 in two and chipping close. He proceeded to chip in on the 15th hole (from 45 feet) and 18th hole (23 feet) to wrap up a 67 and earn a share of the lead. It was a scrambling round, as he hit only 10 of 18 greens but didn’t make a single bogey. The scoring was mostly due to his short game rather than his putting as he had the two chip-ins and chipped or blasted close to the hole other times—he had 25 putts, but his strokes gained: putting was -0.536.
We don’t expect Duke to hang around at the top of the leaderboard. This is his fifth time with the first-round lead or co-lead, and his best finish in the previous four is T-7. What’s more, he broke his wrist four months ago and only returned to action at Phoenix a month ago and made his first cut at the Honda. So, he’s still just rounding into form and at age 47 probably isn’t much of a winning threat—a high finish would be a solid accomplishment.



Players that didn’t hurt themselves in the first round…

Henrik Stenson
He had the task of trying to keep his game in shape as his playing partner Jordan Spieth was all over the place, and he did it pretty well.  As usual, Stenson’s tee to green game was good as he hit 12 of 18 greens, which ranked T-11 in the windy conditions, and he gained 3.387 strokes tee to green. His putting wasn’t very good (losing 1.165 strokes), but the key for him was that he was able to make five birdies to balance out five bogeys.   With his even par 71, Stenson is in good shape to make a run tomorrow and move into contention.

Patrick Reed
We have talked about how Reed’s game isn’t very sharp and it showed again on Thursday.  He had trouble with the driver hitting only 5 of 13 fairways and was a bit lucky to shoot even par.  After making par on his first six holes (played the back nine first), Reed pushed a drive into the lake on the right side.  He went on to make double.  The good news he was able to bounce back and make an 18-footer on his next hole for a birdie, then made par on the rest of the holes except for No. 6 where he made a five-footer for birdie.  The good news is his even par 71 was the first time in his last four starts that he didn’t shoot over par in the first round, the 71 is also his lowest round since shooting 65 in the last round of the AT&T Pebble Beach which was seven rounds ago.

Danny Willett
One of the favorites, Willett got off to a bad start making bogey on 10 (his first hole of the day).  He birdied 14 but then gave the shot back with a bogey at 18.  On the back he made four birdies and two bogeys to shot a one-under 71, a kind of round that keeps him in contention.  Willett co-led the driving accuracy stat by hitting 11 of 13 fairways and was T-11th in greens in regulation, hitting 12 of 18.  But he stumbled a bit with the putter, taking 34 putts and only making two putts over five feet.  In a way Willett’s round with the putter is a bit like he ended in Doral, missing several key putts down the stretch.  If Willett can find some confidence with the putter, he could go a long way and possibly win this week.

Matt Every
Normally he wouldn’t be on anyone’s radar screen, but since he is about to have a double title defense next week at the Arnold Palmer we find it interesting that his game could be coming around.  Every shot 70, making six putts over six feet and the importance of this is to get him in a good frame of mind for the Palmer.  Since winning last year he has struggled with his game, in his last 24 starts he has only made the cut eight times with only one top-20 finish, T18th at the RBC Heritage last April.  Between the PGA Championship and the RSM Classic, in those seven events he only played 72 holes once, at the CIMB which didn’t have a cut.  He took a couple of weeks off and decided to go without his coach, Sean Foley because he felt that he was not coachable.  Since coming back at the Hyundai he only has played well once, finishing T-24th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and things could have been better except for a final-round 72.  So after missing the cut at the Northern Trust and Honda, he is encouraged with his 70 on Thursday and is on track to get his game back in shape for next week.

Daniel Berger
The last we thought about Berger was at the Cadillac.  Berger had been through a rough patch missing the cut at the Farmers, Northern Trust and Honda.  But he was reuniting with his caddie Grant Barry so thought that maybe that was a good sign.  He finished T-28th at Doral, despite some very inconsistent play, we were wondering if he would show some more good play.  He had a first-round 70 today, in a weird round of making birdies on his first two par 5s, 1 & 5, then bogeyed 8.  He finished up with ten straight pars on a day that he hit 14 of 18 greens and gained 2.595 in strokes gained tee to green.
As for the future, it’s worth watching Berger this week, if he can have a consistent week he is one to watch in coming weeks.  He isn’t playing the Palmer, but will make it to the WGC-Match Play.

Charley Hoffman
Just like with Berger, Hoffman’s 69 was thanks to making a lot of pars.  He had just three birdies and one bogey that came on the par-5 11th hole.  We mention Hoffman because he is always a low figure in Draft Kings, this week he was $7,600 which is a good value.  Usually he is good because he makes a lot of birdies, he has played OK in his last four starts and someone to always think of.



Tell me it ain’t so Jordan…
I would say about half the folks playing fantasy golf this week are in shock over Jordan Spieth shooting 76.  Many including myself thought that Spieth would appreciate being back at Innisbrook about as much as Babe Ruth loved the short distance to the right field seats in Yankee Stadium.
With an early 8:07 tee time, many thought that Spieth would get his business done before the greens got marked up and winds started up in the afternoon.  But those winds were swirling this morning and it seemed that Spieth’s game woke up on a different side of the bed than Jordan woke up on as he made bogey on five of his first seven holes.
Every part of Jordan’s game was in disarray, he was wild off the tee in his early holes before being able to get it under control on his second nine hitting seven of 13 fairways.  With some poor driving it meant that Jordan was hitting it back into the fairway on a half a dozen holes, making par a struggle.  For the day he hit 6 of 18 greens as he ranked T-133rd out of 144 players.  He told the media at the end of the round, “It was tough. Wasn’t a very good round. I got off to a poor start and I was behind the 8-ball with gusty winds, you know, on a tough golf course.”  It was a bit of déjà vu of last month’s first round in the Northern Trust in which he shot 79.  He did bounce back on Friday in L.A. with a 68 but still missed the cut for the first time since last September.
Spieth couldn’t explain these two high rounds, saying that even on off days he is usually able to salvage something but in L.A. and today, he is doing nothing more than shooting high numbers.  Spieth has about 24 hours to figure out a different approach and try to figure out why he is off.
In Bob Harig’s report on ESPN.Com in talking with Spieth’s playing partner Henrik Stenson, who shot 71 on Thursday, Stenson said,

“I think he’s just running a bit out of steam. … He’s traveled a lot, had a tough schedule. I think he’s a bit flat on energy and needs a bit of time to recover.”  

Spieth may have the weekend off if he doesn’t play great on Friday and after that he only has two more tournaments, The WGC-Dell Match Play and the Shell Houston Open, before he tries to defend his Masters title.


Wednesday March 9th, 2016

Players to think about and those to avoid…


The “bubble” men this week…

We talked about Ian Poulter who is ranked 64th in the World Ranking and pointed out the importance of a good finish this week.  There are several others in the same boat, #61 Ryan Moore, #62 Jason Dufner, #67 Ryan Palmer, #68 Patton Kizzire, #69 Gary Woodland and #70 Harris English.
Have to think that Moore’s chances of holding his position are very good, he has finished in the top-11 in three of his last four starts.  In his last event he finished 10th at the Northern Trust.
As for Dufner, he really needs to make the cut this week.  He finished T-11th last week in the Cadillac and I would say that Dufner is a good pick for this week.  His game has progressively gotten better after his injury and he capped it off with a win at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January.  Dufner is very high in Draft Kings at $9,400 and you have to wonder if he is worth the price, since in eight starts at the Valspar he only has one top-10, a T-10th in 2012.  But I still think he is worth the gamble and I think he could get you a top-10.
As for Palmer he has struggled in the Valspar, his best finish is T-25th in 2006.  He has four top-25 finishes in 2016, but his T-13th at the Sony is his best.  So he has to step it up this week.
Between Kizzire and Woodland they only have one top-10 between them this year, Kizzire’s T-8 at the Farmers.  So they both have to step it up.  As for English, he finished 10th at Cadillac and 3rd at Phoenix and he has played well at the Valspar, finishing T-7th in 2013 and T-10th last year. But he probably needs something in the order of a top-five to make it into the 64th position.



K.J. Choi

Now let’s get to a secret weapon for fantasy golf players for this week.  Yes Mr. Choi is pretty good value even at an inflated rate of $8,800.  Yes, he hasn’t played well at Innisbrook since he finished second in 2010, but he has won this event twice and does have two top-five finishes in his last four starts.  He was runner-up at the Farmers and T-5th at the Northern Trust, and both of these events are played on courses that are a lot like Innisbrook.
So it may be worth looking at Choi this week, not for a top-10 but something even better.



Ian Poulter
A very important week for him since he is 64th in the world rankings and this is the last week to qualify for the WGC-Dell Match Play.  The field is 64 so Poulter is looking to maintain that and qualify for a championship he always has thrived in, winning it in 2010 and finishing in the top ten six times.  Poulter had the longest standing streak of playing in 40 straight World Golf Championships but he missed last week’s WGC-Cadillac.
Poulter has always been one of those “verge” players.  What I mean is he always seems to finish well in three to six events a year, enough that it has kept him in the top 50 of the world rankings.  But that pace has slowed down, he hasn’t had a top-ten since finishing T-5th at Colonial and his last good finish in a major was T-6th in last year’s Masters.
Now I can’t blame Poulter for enjoying the good life, he has worked hard on not only his golf game but his business interests which includes a very successful clothing line.  But he has never really achieved the level in golf many thought he could.  In match play events he is the greatest and we know what he has done in the Ryder Cup, but in week to week play he has struggled.  A lot of that has to do with his personal life, being at home with the family is his number one goal so we can’t blame him for that, but for fantasy golf players Poulter’s never been a top pick, unless it’s a match play tournament.
So the big question is how well Poulter will do this week?  If he doesn’t make the cut he will drop out of the top-64 and won’t get to play in Austin in two weeks.  As for Innisbrook it’s not a bad course for him, but he only has played twice, finishing T-24th last year and missed the cut in 2010.  I think he will make the cut this week, but if you’re looking for someone that will finish in the top 10, I don’t think Poulter is your guy.



Kevin Na
Normally he is a very consistent player, for the first time in two years Na missed back to back cuts at Pebble and Los Angeles.  On top of that he didn’t play that great in Phoenix and finished T-35th at Cadillac which isn’t that bad considering that Na is in the bottom 10% of driving distance stats.  In looking at his stats we can see that he has drastically regressed in putting, in Strokes Gained Putting he ranks 119th this year after finishing T-49th in that stat last year.
You can see the problem, in putts inside ten feet he is 396 of 467 and his 84.80% ranks 193rd.  He is even worse in the 4 to 8 foot range, ranked 206th.
So the question is, can he overcome this rash of bad putting?  He didn’t improve at Doral, he ranked 64th out of 65 players that finished so the problem will probably be the same at Innisbrook.  The good news, his tee to green game is better this year so maybe that will help him to a high finish this week.  With him costing $9,100 on Draft Kings I would say he won’t have many takers and I would say that anything in the top 10 will make Na very happy right now.



Louis Oosthuizen
A very interesting player, he won in Australia ten days ago, and flew half way around the world to finish T-14th at the Cadillac.  But he showed signs of being tired, he opened up the Cadillac with a 74 and finished with a 73.
This week at Innisbrook he should be well rested or getting back in sync after the 13-hour time zone change but I don’t think it’s going to be a good week for him.  He has played terribly in this event, missing his last three cuts, and I can see that happening again, the course just doesn’t suit his game.



Branden Grace
A bit surprised that he has fallen flat after playing so well on the European Tour, winning his last start at the Qatar Masters.  Maybe it’s the month off between starts at Qatar and the Honda, but he missed the cut at the Honda and then finished T-23rd at the Cadillac.  In those six rounds he is seven over par, but the good news was his final round at Doral, he shot 68 which was the third best score on Sunday.
Grace is too good not to play well, I can see a very good week, he missed the cut in 2014 at Innisbrook but I see things being different, thanks to that final-round 68 at Doral.


Danny Willett

Showed us a lot last week in Doral, people really don’t realize how close he came to winning.  He makes that short putt at 17 for birdie and avoid the lake at 18 and he would of been the winner.  Of all the Europeans he is the second best in my mind behind Rory.
Willett comes to Innisbrook not only playing well but his game is well suited for the Copperhead course.  He has never played it and I think he will like it.  In looking down the road, Willett is taking next week off, will play in the Dell Match Play but then everything is up in the air.  His wife Nicole is due with the couple’s first child and it’s due the week of the Masters.  Danny is hoping for an early arrival but no matter what he will be with his wife, even if it means missing the Masters.
But for this week anyway, look for him to play well.



Patrick Reed
He is a bit like Bubba and Dustin, a streaky guy that is hard to beat when he is on top of his game.  But when things go south, like they are right now you have to just forget him.  Just look at Reed’s stats, he has struggled with the driver and that’s not good for this course.  Reed is also struggling making birdies so I would say that we have to watch him for a bit, yes he was T-6th at Pebble and what an incredible stretch he had on the European Tour in October and November.  Reed looked like he was going to torch the PGA Tour when he was runner-up at the Hyundai, but it’s been mixed since.  He won the Cadillac in 2014, then had another great Florida swing last year finishing runner-up in this event and T-7th in Honda, but the fact is he is struggling right now.  One other thing that shows he is struggling, when Reed plays well he is big on twitter, telling us how it’s getting done and what a great life it is on the PGA Tour.  But we have only gotten two tweets from Reed since Hyundai so things are a struggle for him now.


Jordan Spieth
This is a defiant yes, you can almost bet the house that he will finish in the top 10.  No need to worry that his last three stops have been duds (T-21st Pebble, cut Northern Trust, T-17th Cadillac).  Last week was a perfect example of a course that just isn’t in Spieth’s wheelhouse and I would bet that Spieth wouldn’t be unhappy if the tour never returns to Doral.
One thing Spieth struggled with last week was the putter, he was 45th in Strokes Gained Putting, example of his poor putting he only made 10 of 16 putts from 4 to 8 feet and on putts of inside 10 feet Spieth was 64 of 74.
This week is a very important anniversary for Spieth.  He was going to have a great year, but if he doesn’t make a six-footer on 17 and a 12-footer on 18 for par he wouldn’t have gotten into a playoff.  If Spieth never reaches the playoff who knows what kind of year it would have been, but I bet he wouldn’t have won the Masters and the U.S. Open.
So I think this week will reinvigorate him and he will play well.



The European outlook…
While the schedule crunch of last week’s WGC event and then the Arnold Palmer and WGC-Match Play the next two weeks has a lot of top Americans taking the week off, the Valspar fits for some top Europeans. Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett, and Martin Kaymer just started their U.S. schedule last week at the WGC-Cadillac, so they’re not going to head right back across the Atlantic for a week off, they’ll tee it up at the Valspar even with the other big events on the horizon.
Willett is coming off a T-3rd at Doral last week and won in Dubai in February. He also had third-place finishes at the WGC-HSBC Champions last fall and the WGC-Match Play last spring, so that’s the resume of a guy who is quite capable of winning an event like the Valspar. Then again, for DraftKings players, he’s the third highest priced player in the field, so you need to have a good degree of confidence in him to make that call. Stenson is the second highest priced player in the field behind Jordan Spieth, which makes sense since he’s the only other player in the top 10 in the world ranking (No. 7). Stenson had knee surgery in December, but he did have two top-10s on the European Tour desert swing, so he’s worth considering. Kaymer’s form isn’t so good (missed cuts in his last two Euro Tour starts and T-42nd last week), but at just $7,500 on DraftKings a player of his caliber is a good value.
Some U.S.-based Europeans are worthy of consideration, too. Graeme McDowell took five weeks off and is now in his third week of action in his home state of Florida, which makes for a good combination of reasonably rested but sharp. Another Florida resident, Freddie Jacobson, has two T-4ths this year but isn’t worn out as he didn’t make the WGC-Cadillac field. Ian Poulter also had last week off, but he doesn’t have any good results to point to this year except a T-14 at Abu Dhabi back in January, so he’s a shaky pick at $7,400. Francesco Molinari has made four of five PGA Tour cuts this year, admittedly with no top-30 finishes, but he’s a better bet at just $6,900.



Draft Kings for this week…

Time for this week’s Draft Kings picks.
This week’s game is back to normal as there are 144 players in the field and half of them get cut and don’t earn a penny.  So it’s back to making sure you pick six players that will make the cut.
Again David and I are in the $100k Hybrid, which has a $3 entry fee. It’s a game that will have just over 38,000 players entered, with first place paying out $10,000. The game pays out the top 7,800 finishing positions with last place doubling your money with a $6 return.
Here is my picks for the week:

  • Jordan Spieth – $12,800
  • Luke Donald – $8,300
  • Kevin Streelman – $8,200
  • Vijay Singh – $7,200
  • Colt Knost – $6,700
  • Thomas Aiken – $5,600

With cut this week, it’s back to making sure you have six guys playing all rounds.  I really love two guys, Jordan Spieth (12,800) and Danny Willett (10,800) but at 23,600 for both, it’s too rich for my blood.  So I take Spieth, then my second pick is Luke Donald, who has played great on this course and always seems to bring on a good check.  New up is Streelman, who won just three years ago.  In looking at his year, he has three top-20s in his last four starts, but I like the fact that he is 2nd in Greens Hit and 3rd in putting from 4 to 8 feet.  He also ranks high in par breakers (26th) so these are all good stats to bring in to a place he won on.  Next pick is Vijay, who also has won here and played well in the Honda Classic two weeks ago and played well in this event last year.  We get down to the gritty picks, first one is Colt Knost who is 2nd on tour in driving accuracy and has made cuts in all ten 2016 starts.  My last pick was easy in Thomas Aiken, he leads the tour in driving accuracy this year and is 8th in greens hit.  His year has been up and down, along with him never playing this event all the reasons he was so cheap.

David’s strategy is a bit different:
The overall idea this week (and always, to some extent) was to pick a lineup of players who are good value for the money. Here’s who I came up with:

Jordan Spieth, $12,800. In a field bereft of other top players, Spieth is a value pick even as the No. 1 man on the board. His play last week was just OK, but his game is due to round into form soon—probably now.
Matt Kuchar, $9,800. Uncharacteristically had one terrible round last week (a 78), but that’s not likely to happen again.
Martin Kaymer, $7,500. I’m not generally a huge Kaymer booster, but a top 40 world-ranking player with two majors to his name shouldn’t be carrying this low a price in a lackluster field.
Daniel Berger, $7,300. Hasn’t been a good year so far, but the Florida native showed some signs of coming around last week.
Francesco Molinari, $6,900. Consistent player has a better chance of making the cut than most others in this price range, and could do more than that.
Ricky Barnes, $5,700. He’s made eight of his last 10 cuts and has a decent pedigree, not sure why he’s in the bargain bin.

Last week… 

David Barrett and I gave you our picks for the Honda. Both of us had cut problems, four of my guys missed the cut while two of David’s missed the cut.
David did pick the winner, but the rest of his picks didn’t help him much. Here is his results:

Player                         Price      Finish     FPts
Rickie Fowler           10,700        T-8       83.5
Justin Rose              10,100       T-17       65.5
Matt Kuchar               8,400       T-28       56
Kevin Na                     7,100       T-35      52.5
Danny Lee                  7,000        T-42     52.5
Jamie Donaldson      6,700        T-35      54.5

Total fantasy points 364.5
Placed 26,683 out of 38,315 in $100K Hybrid contest so no money won

My picks were good enough to cash a check as I picked the winner and runner-up.  Too bad that the rest of my picks prevented me from making a lot of money.

Player                         Price      Finish    FPts
Adam Scott              $11,600     Win     123.5

Bubba Watson         $11,400     2nd      101.5
Victor Dubuisson       $7,100     T52       36.0
Jamie Donaldson       $6,600     T35       54.5
Ross Fisher                $6,700     T42         47
Charley Hoffman        $6,500    T17        73

Total fantasy points 435.50
Placed 3,282 out of 38,315 in $100K Hybrid contest, good enough to win $7 dollars.



This week’s Valspar

The Tour moves to the west coast of Florida and Palm Harbor which is about 25 miles west of Tampa.  We all hear of the great resorts of America, Pebble Beach, Pinehurst and Doral, but one of the hidden gems is Innisbrook Resort.  It has everything, good food, a spa and four 18-hole courses along with the short nine-hole Fox Squirrel Course.
In talking about golf, the Copperhead Course is the favorite of not only those that play the course but of the tour pros that play in the Valspar Championship.  The course is different because it doesn’t seem like a Florida course with its tree-lined fairways and rolling terrain.  The one thing that sets the Copperhead course is the fact that it doesn’t favor the bomber, it’s funny but just about every “bomber” on the PGA Tour is taking the week off.  That’s because the course favors the shot-maker, the player that hits lots of fairways and then hits lots of greens.  Just look at the winners, since 2005 of the 11 winners, only two were in the top 19 of driving distance.  Of all 15 winners only four haven’t finished in the top 15 of the Greens in Regulation stat.  Guess what, of those four, they were among the leading putters like last year’s winner Jordan Spieth.  So you can see why this place is very special and will be a lot different than the last two Florida events.
A couple of oddities, like most Florida courses water is all over it, seven holes have water but for these pros the only true water hole is the par-4 16th.  The five par 3s are all different, all but the 4th are over 200 yards, so you can see how the five holes had an average score of 3.10, 15th hardest on tour last year.  But the four par 5s are really special and hard to play, they averaged 4.84 and were the third hardest on the PGA Tour last year.
So you can see, it’s going to take a special person to win this week. One important element, look at the last six winners in this chart and you will see that the champion went on to have a great year, so look for that kind of player to win this week:
Year – Champion                    Money rank          Fedex Cup Rank
2015 – Jordan Spieth                       1st                           1st
2014 – John Senden                       25th                         23rd
2013 – Kevin Streelman                  17th                         25th
2012 – *Luke Donald                      14th                          9th
2011 – Gary Woodland                   17th                         17th
2010 – Jim Furyk                             2nd                           1st
*won money title in 2011


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