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BlogValspar Preview and Picks

Valspar Championship

March 8th – 11th, 2018

Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead Course)

Palm Harbor, FL

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,340

Purse: $6.5 million

with $1,170,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Adam Hadwin

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 46 of the top 100 and 20 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with two players from the top-ten: #4 Jordan Spieth and #5 Justin Rose. The other top 50 players are #11 Sergio Garcia, #12 Rory McIlroy, #14 Henrik Stenson, #17 Paul Casey, #20 Matt Kuchar, #25 Charley Hoffman, #26 Gary Woodland, #27 Patrick Reed, #28 Branden Grace, #29 Ross Fisher, #30 Louis Oosthuizen, #32 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #34 Tony Finau, #42 Webb Simpson, #44 Adam Hadwin, #46 Jason Dufner, #47 Chez Reavie and #50 Charl Schwartzel.

Last year 15 of the top-50 ranked players were in the field

The field one includes 9 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Those top-25  players in the field are #7 Tony Finau, #10 Chez Reavie, #12 Gary Woodland, #14 Austin Cook, #15 Justin Rose, #17 Chesson Hadley, #19 Luke List, #20 Ted Potter, Jr. and #22 Cameron Smith.

The field includes nine past champions: Adam Hadwin (2017), Charl Schwartzel (2016), Jordan Spieth (2015), Kevin Streelman (2013), Luke Donald (2012), Gary Woodland (2011), Jim Furyk (2010), Retief Goosen (2009 & ’03) and Sean O’Hair (2008).

The event was not played in 2001 because of the 9/11 tragedy.

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Valspar Championship field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Valspar Championship in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Valspar Championship.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Valspar Championship

Player WGC Mexico Honda Classic Qatar Masters Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert Classic CareerBuilder Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open in Hawaii Sentry T of C
Adam Hadwin
(178.17 pts)
T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP T43
(4.67)
T35
(10)
DNP T3
(30)
DNP DNP 32
(6)
Tony Finau
(173.83 pts)
T27
(34.5)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Luke List
(158.67 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP T26
(16)
T12
(25.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Chez Reavie
(148.67 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP T73
(0)
T2
(66.67)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP
Scott Stallings
(145.67 pts)
DNP T29
(21)
DNP T4
(80)
7
(36.67)
T23
(18)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Jordan Spieth
(138 pts)
T14
(54)
DNP DNP T9
(45)
T20
(20)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
9
(15)
Byeong Hun An
(131.33 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(18)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP DNP
Gary Woodland
(127.5 pts)
T50
(1.5)
T49
(1)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Win
(88)
T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP
Kevin Na
(120.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(100)
T20
(20)
T48
(1.33)
DNP DNP T42
(2.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Rory McIlroy
(120 pts)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP T20
(30)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T3
(30)
DNP DNP
Webb Simpson
(114.17 pts)
T37
(19.5)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP
Sergio Garcia
(111.5 pts)
T7
(82.5)
T33
(17)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Paul Casey
(106.33 pts)
T12
(57)
DNP DNP T49
(1)
T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(15)
DNP DNP
Cameron Smith
(103 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP T48
(1.33)
T20
(20)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
T17
(11)
John Huh
(88 pts)
DNP T24
(26)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP T38
(8)
T45
(3.33)
DNP T3
(30)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Branden Grace
(83.33 pts)
T30
(30)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
T20
(20)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP DNP
Charley Hoffman
(76.67 pts)
T20
(45)
DNP DNP T41
(9)
WD
(-3.33)
T26
(16)
T35
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Streelman
(76.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(9)
6
(40)
T40
(6.67)
T29
(14)
DNP T29
(7)
DNP DNP DNP
Matt Kuchar
(76.67 pts)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP T26
(24)
T62
(0)
T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP
Brandon Harkins
(76 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(9)
T15
(23.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
T12
(25.33)
DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP
Rory Sabbatini
(71.67 pts)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP 72
(0)
T31
(12.67)
T20
(20)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Jason Kokrak
(70.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(30)
T35
(10)
T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP T47
(1)
DNP
Derek Fathauer
(70.33 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP T16
(34)
T62
(0)
T48
(1.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Jamie Lovemark
(69 pts)
DNP 7
(55)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP T52
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Chesson Hadley
(67.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T35
(10)
T5
(46.67)
T23
(18)
DNP T42
(2.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Martin Laird
(65 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP T9
(30)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Justin Rose
(62.17 pts)
T37
(19.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP DNP
Ollie Schniederjans
(61.67 pts)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T3
(60)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP
Ted Potter, Jr.
(61.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
Win
(88)
DNP T73
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Jason Dufner
(61.33 pts)
T55
(0)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T18
(10.67)
T11
(13)
Ryan Palmer
(60 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T2
(66.67)
DNP T20
(10)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP
Patrick Rodgers
(59.33 pts)
DNP T33
(17)
DNP T26
(24)
T8
(33.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP
Charles Howell III
(59 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T37
(13)
DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP T20
(10)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Henrik Stenson
(56.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP 8
(16.67)
DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(56.33 pts)
DNP T33
(17)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T11
(26)
T35
(10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Valspar Championship

Player WGC Mexico Honda Classic Qatar Masters Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert Classic CareerBuilder Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open in Hawaii Sentry T of C
Fabian Gomez
(-40 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Robert Streb
(-36.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Smylie Kaufman
(-36.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Billy Hurley III
(-36.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T69
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Matt Every
(-30 pts)
DNP 66
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP 75
(0)
DNP
Whee Kim
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Danny Lee
(-28.33 pts)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T58
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Ernie Els
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Geoff Ogilvy
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Mac Hughes
(-26.67 pts)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

The Valspar is one of those unfortunate events on the PGA Tour.  Played on a great golf course, it doesn’t get the field it deserves, mainly because it falls the week after the WGC-Mexico and right before the Arnold Palmer.  This year 20 of the top-50 are in the field, five more than last year.  Unfortunately, a lot of marquee names like last week’s winner Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day are not in the field.  Another lost was Hideki Matsuyama, he was planning on coming back after his wrist injury but decided to rest another week, he will return for the Palmer next week.

Now the news isn’t all that bad; Tiger Woods is in the field.  He has never played in this event, but he did play in the old JC Penney Classic in 1996, a mixed-team event.  As a 20-year-old he teamed up with 19-year-old Kelli Kuehne, and with rounds of 66-64-68, they finished T-2nd and just a shot back of winners Mike Hulbert and Donna Andrews.

Can Tiger win?  Damn right he can.  He was 12th at the Honda Classic, 8 back of the playoff between Justin Thomas and Luke List.  But Tiger took a lot from his play at the Honda.  One of the significant problems he had in his other starts at the Farmers and Genesis was hitting greens, at PGA National Tiger hit 48 of the 72 and ranked T-10th.  In the previous events he played, Tiger was toward the bottom of the rankings.  Another good thing that came out of the Honda, he was 1st in Proximity to Hole, again an indication that he has improved his ball-striking skills.  Tiger was T-11th in Scrambling at the Honda, and he was T-5th in making putts from 4 to 8 feet and T-9th in putting inside ten feet.  So that means that three critical area’s of his game is sharp, hitting greens, scrambling and putting.  One other stat from the Honda that was good, Tiger was 6 under on the par 4s which got him tied for the lead in that stat.  Just like at PGA National, the Cooperhead course has some very demanding par 4s.  Now the biggest thing that Tiger needs to do is take advantage of the par 5s. He was one over on the three par 5s at the Genesis and Honda.  This stat was the most critical stat in Tiger’s career, he ate up the par 5s each week he played, and if he can do well on them at the Valspar, he will win.

What’s wrong with Jordan Spieth?

Jordan won the 2015 Valspar and since then has won nine other events.  In both 2016 and ’17 he won before the tour got to the Florida swing, but so far in 2018 Spieth hasn’t won.  Since the Sentry Tournament of Champions in six starts his best finish is 9th at the T of C and Genesis.  In Mexico last week he finished T-14th, and for many, the question is what is wrong with him.

The first thing to talk about is what happened to him personally in November and December.  Spieth admits that his preparation for 2018 didn’t get off to a good start with a bout of mononucleosis in which he couldn’t practice and lost some weight.  Then he got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Annie.  “I probably lost a full month, month-and-a-half out of it,” Spieth told the media in Mexico.  Still, what are some of the causes other than that because frankly there is a trend building, even though he had a great 2017 with three wins.

Lee Trevino had a saying that is so true today: “There are two things that won’t last long in this world, and that’s dogs chasing cars and pros putting for pars”.

The key to Spieth’s game is his putting, and if you can see his Strokes Gained-Putting over the years, you can see the reason Spieth’s game is off.  In 2015 he ranked 9th and improved it to 2nd in 2016.  He dropped back to 42nd last year, but still, his numbers were substantial.  But this year he is 163rd in Strokes Gained-Putting with means that his putting is costing him 1 shot a round.  So what does a shot relate to?  It means that you go from being in the upper elite to the middle of the pack.  That shot a round could cost you around a million dollars a year and even though Spieth’s scoring average is 69.91 he is 18th on that list and 52nd in FedEx Cup points.  So, in reality, Spieth isn’t having that bad of a year when you consider that in six starts he has missed one cut but finished in the top-20 in the other five starts.  But that one shot a round translates from barely getting into the top-ten and winning.  Jordan was eight back of the playoff in Mexico; if he would have been four shots better, he would have been T-7th.  At the Genesis, he was five shots back of Bubba Watson, and the four shots were the difference from finishing T-9th instead of a possible runner-up finish.

Going a step further, in 2018 Spieth has made only 328 putts out of 383 attempts on putts inside ten feet and that 85.64% means he is ranked 170th on the PGA Tour.  So we can see why Spieth isn’t winning and struggling.  Unfortunately, things aren’t getting any better, and this is not a problem that crept up a couple of starts ago.  The problem has been around for about a year, but Spieth is such a great player that if he hits the ball great as he did at AT&T Pebble, Travelers and British Open last year, he still won.  In a way, Jordan reminds me a lot like Arnold Palmer, who between 1957 and 1966 was the most magnificent putter in the world  His putting started to slip around 1964 and by 1968 Palmer just wasn’t the same golfer.  Could the same happen to Spieth?  Nobody knows, and we will just have to wait and see if his putting comes around, the longer he goes, the harder it will get.

So what does Phil’s win mean?

What the most significant thing about Phil winning is the confidence that he now has.  Phil’s win at the WGC-Mexico wasn’t a fluke, or he didn’t walk into the victory.  When Justin Thomas holed his second shot at 18, Mickelson was on 14 and two behind.  He made birdies at 15 and 16 and came close to making birdie at 18, but Phil went into the playoff with the hottest player in the world and beat him.  Yes, he got lucky that Thomas overshot the green on the first playoff hole which led to a bogey, but Phil was able to keep things together.  Mickelson shot rounds of 69-68-65-66 and over his last 63 holes only had two bogeys.

But as we say what this does for Phil gives him a wealth of confidence and that is very important.  Confidence brings on more good play, and with the Masters just four weeks away Phil is getting better and better each week.  He is taking the next two weeks off and will be at the Match Play and Houston before the Masters.  But for Phil I have to think there are two big things on his mind, one making the Ryder Cup team for a 12th straight time which will break the record of 11 starts by Nick Faldo and Mickelson will have played in more Ryder Cups than anyone else.  But the biggest prize that Phil wants to do is win a U.S. Open.  This year it goes to Shinnecock Hills, Phil was runner-up the last time they played the Open in 2004 at Shinnecock.  If he doesn’t do it this year, next year the Open returns to Pebble Beach, he not only has won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am four times, but he was T-4th the last time Pebble held the U.S. Open in 2010.  And if that doesn’t work, in 2020 the Open goes to Winged Foot. The last time the Open was played on the course in 2006 he was runner-up.  So you can see where this is all going, if Phil can complete the grand slam with a victory at the U.S. Open he will be one of the top-ten players in the history of golf.

As the old saying goes, it’s always fun to watch what Phil does next.

Is Shubhankar Sharma for real?

Yes he is, Sharma now joins the elite under 25 year-olds superstars of golf with his excellent performance in the WGC-Mexico Championship.  Since turning professional in 2013 at the tender age of 16, Sharma has played most of his golf on the Asian Tour.  He was born and raised in India, the country with the 2nd most population of 1.2 billion.  Despite all of the people, there are under 50 courses in the whole country, and golf in India is popular among the wealthier classes, great Indian players are rare.  The first one that comes to mind is Arjun Atwal who joined the PGA Tour in 2004 and won the 2010 Wyndham Championship.  After the win, he struggled and lost his PGA Tour card in 2013 and now plays mostly on the Asian Tour.  There have been others that saw success, Jyoti Randhawa became the first Indian to win the Asian Tour order of merit in 2002.  Other big names are Jeev Milkha Singh and Anirban Lahiri, who both have won twice on the European Tour and had seven Asian Tour wins.  In 2015 Lahiri became the first and only Indian to play on the Presidents Cup team, he returned and played on the team in 2017.

We mention Lahiri because he had or should we say Lahiri’s father had an essential role in Sharma taking up golf.  Both Sharma and Lahiri’s fathers were members of the Indian army. They were stationed together, and Lahiri’s father was the doctor who delivered Sharma’s younger sister. In getting to know the family, Dr. Lahiri told Col. Sharma to take his son to the golf course. No one in Sharma’s family had ever played golf, but seven-year-old Sharma took to the game quickly and became the countries best amateur by 2013.  He was the number one junior and after winning the All India Amateur Championship in 2013 turned professional at the age of 16.

Sharma played first on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and had one win and six top-10s in his first season on that tour.  He won the PGTI Cochin Masters making him the youngest winner on that tour at 17.  At the same time, he jumped to playing on the Asian Development Tour.  He got his best finish on the Asian Tour with a runner-up finish in the Solutions India Masters (which was joint sanctioned by ADT and PGTI), losing in a playoff to S Chikkarangappa.  He also finished T-4th in the Asian Tour’s Panasonic Open India in 2015.

In 2016, Shubhankar earned his Asian Tour card after coming through the Qualifying School. He enjoyed two top-5 finishes in his rookie season on the Asian Tour – 3rd at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open and T-4th at the Resorts World Manila Masters – thus finishing inside the top-60 of the Asian Tour order of merit and earning an exemption for 2017.

The start of 2017 was good for Sharma as he finished in the top-11 in those four starts with the best being a T-4th at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open.  After that he struggled in his next 13 events, missing six cuts and his best finish was a T-18th at the Panasonic Open India.  That seemed to get his game in gear, three weeks later at the UBS Hong Kong Open which is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, Sharma had a final round 67, and that moved him into a T-10th.  With that finish, it jumped him up to 454th on the Official World Golf Rankings.  The next week he was T-27th in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open and then he went off to another European and Asian Tour co-sanctioned event the Joburg Open.  After a second round 61 to move him into contention, Sharma showed nerves of steel as he shot a third round 65 and then endured a rain delay that caused the event to finish on Monday.  He showed no signs of pressure as he birdied three holes on the front nine and then made par on his last nine holes to seal a three-shot win.  The victory also earned him an exemption to the European Tour and a place in the British Open   The next week he ended the year T-11th in the Indonesian Masters to finish 7th on the Asian Tour order of merit and ended the year 202 in the World Rankings.

With the start of the 2018 season, his goal was to play on the European Tour.  At the Abu Dhabi Championship, he was T-48th and the next week T-61st at the Dubai Desert Classic.  He traveled to Malaysia to play in the Maybank Championship, and with a closing round of 62, he won for the second time on the European Tour.  The win made him the third Indian after Jeev Milkha Singh and Anirban Lahiri to win two European Tour events in the same season.  But more importantly, the win took him into the lead of the Race to Dubai rankings, up to 72 in the World Rankings and help him claim a spot in the WGC-Mexico Championship.  He played solidly for 54 holes, taking a two-shot lead into the final round but struggled shooting a 74 to drop him into a T-9th.  He showed the world a lot, but his bogeys on 17 and 18 could be costly for Sharma.  He moved up to 66th in the world rankings and is on the bubble for a spot in the WGC-Dell Match Play championship, which takes the top-64 in the rankings.  He is playing back home in India at the Hero Indian Open on the European Tour and probably needs a top-6 finish (almost impossible to pinpoint until all of the fields at Valspar & Indian become official) to secure a spot at the WGC-Dell Match Play.  If by chance Sharma does get into the Dell, he will be looking to play well enough there because after the tournament is the cutoff for Masters spots and he needs to get into the top-50 for that.

Still, for fantasy golf players most of you don’t care about this, and your question is, his he a player that we should look for in the future?  I think he is; it’s hard to judge him and Chris Paisley because both are such sudden rises to the top.  Guys like Jordan Spieth never played much other than the PGA Tour, and Justin Thomas played one year on the Web.Com Tour, but the point is that both were recognized stars.  As for Paisley and Sharma, their great play has only been stretched back to the last three, four months, so it’s hard to predict stardom for them, but right now they have shown a lot of fire-power and players that could be excellent picks for fantasy golf players. Still Sharma is a powerful player with a great touch on and around the greens and should get better with time.  He also has a great shot at getting his PGA Tour card, h received 78 non-member FedEx Cup points and if he can find his way into the Match Play, and make it to weekend play, he has a great shot of getting even more points and getting close to that exemption to get enough points to earn a tour card for the rest of 2018.

UPDATE: After we published this story have found out that Augusta National has granted Sharma an invitation to play in the Masters and Sharma has accepted.  It makes sense that the Masters would do this, right now the field is very small and Augusta has a knack for inviting international players that have not qualified.  Sharma will become the fourth Indian player to compete in the Masters, following Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal, and Anirban Lahiri. Ryo Ishikawa in 2013 was the last player to receive a special Masters exemption.  One other thing, a trip to the Masters and if he can play well will help his cause in getting enough points to get a special exemption to join the PGA Tour for the rest of 2018.  Even if he doesn’t get that, he still has a place on the European Tour which could help him get into the top-50 of the world rankings which is always a ticket to play in the big events of the year.

One last note:

Through the WGC-Mexico Championship, seven of the last nine winners in the 2017 calendar year have been inside the top 26 in the Official World Golf Ranking: Dustin Johnson (SBS Tournament of Champions/1); Jon Rahm (Builders/3), Jason Day (Farmers/9), Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open/26); Justin Thomas (The Honda Classic/2); and Phil Mickelson (WGC-Mexico Championship/18).  And for the others, they aren’t that bad with Bubba Watson (Genesis Open/38); Patton Kizzire (Sony Open in Hawaii/51) and Ted Potter, Jr (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am/77).

Things you need to know about the Valspar Championship

  • This will be the 18th Valspar Championship, with the first one played in 2000.
  • The tournament was formally called the Tampa Bay Classic and then changed in 2003 to the Chrysler Championship.  Chrysler dropped out in 2006 and PODS took over sponsorship and got an added boost with the advent of the FedEx Cup series and the transfer of the Players Championship to May.  So in 2007, just six months after the close of the 2006 event the tournament moved into it’s new March date. But that didn’t last long as with a change of management at PODS; they left after the 2008 event.   The power of the PGA Tour shined through as Transitions Lens, an optical lens manufacturing company, whose headquarters are in the Tampa Bay area, came to the rescue with a four-year deal but unfortunately, that deal came to an end after the 2012 event.  They got EverBank to write off some of the expenses in 2013 but for 2014 got their sixth and present sponsor Valspar, a company that is paint and coatings manufacturers.  The 2001 event didn’t happen because of the 9/11 tragedy.
  • When the tournament first started in 2000, it was the first time that a full PGA Tour event was held in the area since the St. Petersburg Open,  held between 1930 and 1964.  The course was the home of the mix-event JCPenney Classic, which ended in 1999.

Course information:

  • Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead Course)
  • Palm Harbor, Fl.
  • 7,340 yards     Par 36-35–71
  • The course has a 76.8 rating and slope rating of 144 from the championship tees. The course is part of a resort and is open to those that stay at the course.  It also sells local memberships.
  • The course has 63 bunkers and eight water hazards in which six holes have water in play for the professionals.
  • Last year the Copperhead course was the 17th hardest course on the PGA Tour.  In 2016 it was the 6th hardest course on the PGA Tour with a 72.618 average, playing over a shot and a half over par. In 2015 the course was the 10th hardest on tour with a 71.863 average while in 2014 the Copperhead course was the 6th hardest course on the PGA Tour with a 72.433 average, playing almost a shot and a half over par.
  • Larry Packard designed the Copperhead course and opened in 1974.  It was restored in 1999, two years after Westin Inc. purchased it. The goal of the restoration project was to regain the shot values and still challenge today’s longer-hitting PGA Tour players when Innisbrook hosts PGA Tour events. The plan involved refurbishing all 18 greens, restructuring many of the bunkers, removing some trees around the greens to improve air movement and sunlight, and clearing out undergrowth between fairways. The length of the golf course is the most visible change from 7,087 to 7,230 yards by the addition of tournament tees on five holes.  Since then minor renovations have added another 110 yards to the course, bringing the final yardage to 7,340.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing on the Copperhead Course:

This is based on the most important stats for Cooperhead Course, based on data from last years Valspar Championship, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2018. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
The scoring average of the field at Cooperhead in 2017 was 71.51, so with par being 71 that means the average score was a half over par, making Cooperhead the 17th hardest course to score on in 2017 One of the reasons the course played so easy was due to the lack of wind, each day except for Saturday the winds were under 10 mph. In 2016 when each day saw wind average of 20 mph the course played to a 72.62 average making it the 6th hardest course of the year (only five courses played harder). It’s also important to see how weather plays a factor, as the wind also blew in 2015 and the average was 72.88 (3rd hardest), in 2014 the average was 72.59 (10th hardest) and in 2013 it played at 71.91 making it the 12th hardest course on tour. So historically the Copperhead is a challenging course. Now the good news for the week, winds will peak at 14 mph on Thursday, 7mph on Friday, 11 mph on Saturday and the most active day will be Sunday with winds getting into 20 mph.  Sunday is also going to be tough with thunderstorms most of the day.

In looking at the stats for Cooperhead last year, Greens hit, Driving Accuracy and putting from 4 to 8 feet are important. So our first stat is Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green because of the fact that last year the course ranked 20th in driving accuracy and 8th in greens hit. Last year’s champion Adam Hadwin was 5th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green as he was T-27th in Driving accuracy and T-5th in Greens hit. Showing how important greens hit is, of the players in finishing in the top-five, 4 of them were in the top-five of greens hit with runner-up Patrick Cantlay finishing 1st in greens hit.
So with it important then it’s important to get it close to the hole from the fairway. Last year the Cooperhead course was T-17th in Proximity to the hole while Hadwin was 5th in our second stat.
Our third stat is Strokes Gained-Putting because of the importance of putting well at Innisbrook. The greens are average size and don’t have much undulation, so players can do well on the greens. Last year the field finished 40th in overall putting average meaning that only 10 courses on the PGA Tour had better putting numbers than the Cooperhead course. Last year’s winner Hadwin was T-9th in overall putting average but in Strokes Gained-Putting he was 4th.
Last we have Par Breakers as the course was the 7th hardest course on the PGA Tour to get birdies and eagles. This is one of the reasons the scoring average is high, players just can’t make a lot of birdies or eagles. But that wasn’t a problem for Hadwin as he ranked T-1st with 21 birdies so he was T-1st in Par Breakers.

SO HERE ARE OUR FOUR CHOICES FOR THE MOST CRITICAL STATS FROM PLAYERS TO DO WELL ON THE COOPERHEAD COURSE:

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: This is a good indication on players that do the best at hitting it far, straight and then hitting lot’s of greens to pick up the most strokes by perfecting those combined stats.

*Proximity to the Hole: The average length that a player hits it to the hole from the fairway

*Strokes Gained-Putting: No matter how good your game is, you have to make these putts in order to win. This stat takes into effect everything that happens on the greens and calculates the number of shots either gained or lost.

*Par Breakers: The course is so demanding that making a lot of birdies and eagles aren’t possible. So players that are able to make a lot will do well on this course which ranked 6th in this stat on tour in 2015.

123 of the 144 players from this year’s field with stats from this year:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to the other 111 players with stats from 2018

DraftKings tips

Of the 144 in the field, 118 have played at least once in the Valspar.  Here are the players with the most under par totals at the Valspar since 2010:

  • Jim Furyk is 39 under in 28 rounds playing 7 years
  • Jason Dufner is 26 under in 32 rounds playing 8 years
  • Luke Donald is 24 under in 26 rounds playing 7 years
  • Webb Simpson is 22 under in 24 rounds playing 7 years
  • Sergio Garcia is 20 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Justin Rose is 19 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Nick Watney is 19 under in 24 rounds playing 6 years
  • Henrik Stenson is 18 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Matt Kuchar is 16 under in 24 rounds playing 6 years
  • Jordan Spieth is 15 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years

*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)

  • Bill Haas is 11 under playing 5 years (-1.64)
  • Henrik Stenson is 18 under playing 3 years (-1.50)
  • Jim Furyk is 39 under playing 7 years (-1.39)
  • Sergio Garcia is 20 under playing 4 years (-1.25)
  • Justin Rose is 19 under playing 5 years (-1.06)
  • Jordan Spieth is 15 under playing 4 years (-0.94)
  • Luke Donald is 24 under playing 7 years (-0.92)
  • Webb Simpson is 22 under playing 7 years (-0.92)
  • Charl Schwartzel is 9 under playing 3 years (-0.90)
  • Jason Dufner is 26 under playing 8 years (-0.81)
  • Nick Watney is 19 under playing 6 years (-0.79)
  • Matt Kuchar is 16 under playing 6 years (-0.67)
  • Steve Stricker is 6 under playing 3 years (-0.60)

Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will make lot’s of points this week

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Jordan Spieth- $11,800
  • Rory McIlroy – $11,300
  • Sergio Garcia – $10,900
  • Henrik Stenson – $10,200
  • Justin Rose – $10,000
  • Tyrrell Hatton – $9,800
  • Tiger Woods – $9,500
  • Tony Finau – $9,400
  • Ryan Moore – $9,100
  • Gary Woodland – $9,000
  • Adam Hadwin – $8,800

This is a tough tournament to gauge because of a lot of different reasons.  First, it’s not one of those events that historically players attend, a perfect example of that is Jordan Spieth who won the tournament in 2015 but didn’t play in it last year.  Then you have the weather, winds play havoc to scoring, and there is going to be wind on Thursday and Sunday.  Also if it rains on Sunday, that brings in another factor, picking a player that does well in the wind.

But the most critical problem of this event, historical data may not help things because the elements change from year to year and players don’t participate every year.  So it’s important to see which players seem to produce a lot of offensive every time they play.  Here is a list of some of the top ones:

  • Jordan Spieth – in 4 years averages 4.00 in offensive (eagles & birdies)
  • Charl Schwartzel – in 3 years averages 3.80 in offensive
  • Webb Simpson – in 7 years averages 3.75 in offensive
  • Adam Hadwin – in 3 years averages 3.70 in offensive
  • Jamie Lovemark – in 4 years averages 3.64 in offensive
  • Sergio Garcia – in 4 years averages 3.63 in offensive
  • Justin Rose – in 5 years averages 3.56 in offensive
  • Jason Dufner – in 8 years averages 3.56 in offensive
  • Henrik Stenson – in 3 years averages 3.50 in offensive

Now of all these players, Jordan Spieth (4), Sergio Garcia (4), Jason Dufner (8) and Henrik Stenson (3) have perfect records in making the cut all the years they have played.  I did leave out Jim Furyk and Nick Watney out of this because they aren’t playing well.

So let’s look at our top players, it seems for this week Jordan Spieth at $11,800, Sergio Garcia at $10,900 and Henrik Stenson at $10,200 provide your best shot.  If I was to pick one I don’t like Spieth because of his putting issues and between Garcia and Stenson they are both excellent picks, I feel that Garcia is my choice, better ball striker and frankly this is a course that suits his game better.

As of Justin Rose, he too is a good shotmaker and should give you a top-20 finish the way he is playing and is 4th in ParBreakers for 2018, so he is a good choice.  Tyrrell Hatton has played well of late, but I am worried over his missed cut at the Honda Classic, a course that is tough like Innsbrook and wind played an effect so I would take a pass on him.

Tiger Woods is more of a sentimental choice.  Do I think he could win, yes I think he can win.  But he may do it with a lot of pars and very little offensive so I have to take a pass on Tiger even though I will be rooting for him.  As for Tony Finau, several of you have asked after he finished T-2nd at the Genesis why I was so down on him.  The reason, DraftKings seems to be in love with him and places him over the $9,000 mark, he is not worth that money.  As for Ryan Moore and Adam Hadwin, I would pass.  As for Gary Woodland, another sentimental choice due to him winning in Phoenix and a past champion, I would take a big pass on him because since winning at Phoenix his offensive has been poor averaging about ten birdies a round since.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,800 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

The first decision is Webb Simpson, he has historically given good offensive in this event, but since he finished 2nd in 2011 and T-10th in 2012, he hasn’t played that well in this event which presents a problem.  He is $8,500, and in looking at his 2018 offensive the numbers are above average so he could be a good choice, especially since he finished T-5th and his putting numbers are great for the year.  Next, one worth picking is Matt Kuchar at $8,200.  Yes, I suggested him last week, I personally took him on my team last week in Mexico, and he dragged my totals down.  But this week is different, in his previous seven starts Kuchar has produced ok offensive numbers, always makes the cut and good value at $8,200 so buy him.  Another savvy pick is Cameron Smith at $8,000, he has produced some excellent numbers of late, he is 20th in ParBreakers for the year, and the price is right.  A couple of other winners is Luke List at $7,800, he always is a good pick for production and in his last start lost the playoff to Justin Thomas.  One other good pick is Jason Dufner at $7,800, he’s been very steady this year, nothing speculator but in his last nine starts at the Valspar, he not finished worst than T-28th.

Are there any “Bargains” out there?

Absolutely, positively, you have a lot of choices in the $7,500 and under list.  A couple of good picks at $7,500 is Steve Stricker, who won last week on the Champions Tour and has three top-tens in his previous four starts.  Now to be fair he did miss the cut last year, and he isn’t going wild making a lot of birdies, but he is above average in offensive of the 118 on our list.  He is an excellent pick because I not only think he will make the cut, but he could finish in the top-25.  I also believe that Charl Schwartzel at $7,500 is a good bargain, he won in 2016 and was 6th last year.  He loves this course and for the year has been steady, nothing significant since his runner-up finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic last summer and in his 15 starts since missing the cut at the British Open, he has made all the cuts which is good, but his best finish is a pair of T-12ths.  Still, he is suitable for the course.  Chesson Hadley at $7,400 is a good buy; he is 13th in ParBreakers for the year and terrific from tee to green.  Bryson DeChambeau is also a good pick at $7,400 he is 23rd in ParBreakers for the year and last year at the Valspar had a lot of offensive making an eagle and 17 birdies.  Another player at $7,400 is Charles Howell III, Chucky Cheese has a runner-up finish and four top-tens in his last nine starts.  So you can see, you have a lot of great choices between $7,400 and $8,500 so just pick one top player like Sergio and go crazy with some of the others that will give excellent production this week.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Valspar Championship:

Key stat for the winner:

  • In looking at the 17 champions of this event, eleven of them have this in common.  They were in the top-12 in greens hit.  Matter of fact five of them was in the top-five while Gary Woodland in 2011 ranked T29th and Luke Donald was T43rd in 2012.  In 2013 Kevin Streelman was T11th in that stat, while 2014 champion John Senden was T3rd in greens hit.  In 2016 Charl Schwartzel ranked T-10th in greens hit, and last year Adam Hadwin was T-5th.  So it is crucial to hit lots of greens, and for those that do, they usually have an advantage.

Here are some more key stats look to for this week:

  • This event is one of the hidden gems on the PGA Tour.  Played on a great course, unfortunately, it’s in the wrong time between Honda and the Palmer to get a great field.  One thing for sure players respect the course and show up, of its past champions all active players are in the field.  The played this event in October until 2007, and the change hasn’t made much of a difference other than the rough is a bit healthier now.
  • Accuracy is more of a premium at Copperhead than length.  This course can’t be overpowered like many other courses like next week at Bay Hill.  Stats that prove this is first driving distance averages, in 2016 the average of all the drives in the field was 275.7 yards, the 8th lowest on the PGA Tour.  Since 2005 it’s been in the bottom six every year of shortest driving average course.  So it only makes sense that when you look at the champions, the only real long drivers were Gary Woodland in 2011 and Vijay Singh in 2004.  All the others were in the middle to back of the pack in average driving distance; so this is the one course that short hitters can do well on.

This chart shows how short the champions have been since 2005:

Year-winner          Driving distance/rank for week      Driving distance all drives/rank for the year

2017-Adam Hadwin                287.4 (37th)                                                         283.5 (109th)

2016-Charl Schwartzel          292.0 (T-29th)                                                       290.5 (30th)

2015-Jordan Spieth                 275.3 (T-26th)                                                     291.8 (T-78th)

2014-John Senden                     279.1 (20th)                                                      282.0 (T87th)

2013-Kevin Streelman               270.8 (48th)                                                        279.6 (T99th)

2012-Luke Donald                       264.1 (75th)                                                       269.2 (198th)

2011-Gary Woodland                 295.5 (7th)                                                           297.4 (5th)

2010-Jim Furyk                           261.0 (73rd)                                                       273.0 (172nd)

2009-Retief Goosen                   283.8 (25th)                                                       286.2 (43rd)

2008-Sean O’Hair                       282.6 (8th)                                                        287.3 (T30th)

2007-Mark Calcavecchia           276.9 (T34th)                                                    284.4 (T66th)

2006-K.J. Choi                            274.5 (T42nd)                                                 280.5 (T103rd)

2005-Carl Pettersson                  283.9 (40th)                                                    283.1 (T74th)

 

  • Maybe it’s no coincidence that players that hit it long took this week off as of the top-20 in the driving distance stats for 2018, only nine are in the field this week.  Justin Rose-3rd, Kevin Tway- 8th, Luke List-9th, Tony Finau-11th, Grayson Murray-T-14th, Gary Woodland-16th, Byeong Hun An-T-17th, Trey Mullinax-T-17th and Charl Schwartzel-19th.
  • Another important stat is putting, and the greens at Innisbrook are some of the hardest on the PGA Tour because of the undulation and grain on the greens.  Last year it was the 22nd hardest course to make putts between 4 and 8 feet, with 69.47.  In 2016 it was the 9th hardest with a 67.06, In 2015 it was the 2nd hardest course with 64.25.  In 2014 it was the 3rd hardest course to make putts from 4 to 8 feet while in 2013 it ranked 6th.  In putts inside 10 feet, it ranked 26th last year,  9th hardest in 2015 and 4th on the PGA Tour in 2014.
  • Florida is always windy, look for that to play havoc on the players who haven’t had to play Innisbrook under windy conditions
  • All the par 5s is within reach of the average player, and though the course is over 7,300 yards, it won’t present much of a problem. Look for lots of par 5 greens to be hit in 2. The average of all the champions on the par 5s is just a notch under 8 under   In 2012 & ’13 both Luke Donald and Kevin Streelman were 9 under on the four par5s, while in 2014 John Senden was 7 under.  Jordan Spieth played the par 5s in 7 under in 2015 and Charl Schwartzel was 9 under on the 5s in 2016.  Last year Adam Hadwin played them in 6 under par.
  • Look at all these facts, and you can conclude that good ballstrikers rule the roost at Innsbrook.  This is not your typical Florida type of course because the fairways are tight, the rough will be tall.
  • One oddity that you don’t see in most events is the fact that you don’t have many players that shot four rounds in the 60s.  Of the 15 champions, only four have accomplished that, in 2002 with K.J. Choi, in 2004 with Vijay Singh, in 2010 with Jim Furyk and 2011 with Gary Woodland.
  • Another oddity along this line, in the history of this event only 51 times has someone broke par four times during the week.  Last year four players did it while in 2016 nobody accomplished the feat.  In 2015 Jordan Spieth was the only player to complete the achievement.  Making this stat odd is the fact that only 11 times has anyone broken 60 all four rounds, the last time that happened was in 2012.
  • The last seven winners have been gone on to have great seasons as they have finished the year of their win inside the top-30 in FedEx Cup standings, with 2010 champion Jim Furyk and 2015 champion Jordan Spieth winning the FedEx Cup title.

Year-Winner                Final rank FedEx Cup year won

2017-Adam Hadwin                               26th

2016-Charl Schwartzel                          30th

2015-Jordan Spieth                                 1st

2014-John Senden                                 23rd

2013-Kevin Streelman                            25th

2012-Luke Donald                                   9th

2011-Gary Woodland                             17th

2010-Jim Furyk                                       1st

 

 

 

 

Who to watch for at the Valspar Championship

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

I can see him do very well on this course, he has never played it but it does suit his game of good ball striking.

Henrik Stenson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T7 T11 4

Plays well on this course and has put up some very good numbers and finishes the last three months, he will be hard to beat this week.

Tiger Woods

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

I saw a drastic improvement in Tiger’s game at the Honda. Tiger hit the ball great at PGA National, hitting lot’s of greens and close to the hole, he does that this week he will be in it on the back nine on Sunday. I also have to think that he is thinking about Phil’s win last week and saying, if Phil can win, I can also win.

Best of the rest:

Sergio Garcia

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T7 T16 T15 T41 T59

Has not played at Innisbrook in four years when he did play he had good finishes. The course is suited for his game so I can see him winning this week.

Jordan Spieth

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T18 Win T20 T7

Have to make an effort with this pick, I don’t think he will win but will have another top-ten.

Justin Rose

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T8 T29 T5 T13 T14 T25

Another person well suited for this course, he has played well in the last couple of months and is knocking on the door of victory. He is 4th in ParBreakers for the year, another good omen.

Charl Schwartzel

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
6 Win CUT

A past winner, he played well last year and should do well again this year.

Solid contenders

Paul Casey

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT CUT T37 T42

On paper this should be a good course for him but he has a dismal record, so the question is can he buck the trend and play well this week.

Matt Kuchar

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T22 T11 T33 T38 T14 T10 T12 CUT

Has never contented and only has two top-tens in ten starts, but he has always produced decent numbers and made some good checks on the course.

Luke List

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T27 CUT CUT

Would like to finish the job this week, he makes a lot of birdies and could put up good numbers again.

Webb Simpson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T41 CUT CUT T17 T10 2 T13 CUT

Played the course very well between 2010 and ’13, I can see him regaining this good fortune this week.

Jason Dufner

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T11 T22 T24 T14 T21 T10 T28 T28 T17 CUT

Year after year produces solid numbers on this course and could be a threat this year.

Long shots that could come through:

Cameron Smith

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T49 T42

This guy has been a great fantasy pick week in and week out, look for another good performance this week.

Chesson Hadley

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T69 T44 T14

Solid player that many don’t think of and should. He is 13th in ParBreaker so can make a lot of birdies.

Bryson DeChambeau

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T27

Been putting up good numbers in his last three starts, played solidly last year and could do well this year.

Comments

  1. Rick Nowosad says:

    Hmmm… not a knock but just curious. Hadwin is at the top of your “hot players” table and also last years champion. I would have thought he’d be among your 15 picks for the week!

  2. Rick, good question because I thought about him for not only my picks but for my DraftKings six picks. FIrst DraftKings, he is $8,800 and I really think that is too high for him.
    As for my other pick, frankly, I think being defending champion is really hard and for a person with just one tour win it’s near impossible. But hey, the impossible happened at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in which Daniel Berger won for the first time in 2016 and then won again in 2017.
    So maybe I am wrong, I looked back at the FedEx St. Jude picks from last year and listed him and now wonder why.
    So you bring up a good point on not picking Hadwin just because as you say according to my list of the hottest players in the field, he is on top.
    In hindsight, I probably should have given him at least a mention, just because of his good play of late.
    Guess we will see by Friday if I was right or wrong, but good point Rick.
    One other factor, I don’t know if you noticed the lateness of my picks, I try to get them up on Tuesday afternoon and it didn’t get up till last night, I had some things to attend too unexpectedly and was maybe a bit rushed to think the Hadwin thing over.

  3. Clayton K says:

    Wow! How is a person to have success in Draft Kings!? I agreed with most of your picks, even before I read your preview. Now we have MC’s for Rory, Speith, Stenson, Moore, Finau, etc…..My own sleepers, Chuckie H., Streelman, Hoffman, Reavie, Huh, Lovemark, etc…all gone! With talent so widespread on the PGA, you just never know who is going to be around for the weekend, much less on the top of the leaderboard! Frustrating……

  4. Clayton, as I said in the first paragraph of my DraftKings tips, I worth on how this is one of the hardest tournaments of the year to gauge.
    I wasn’t very high on Rory or Speith, but very surprised at Stenson playing so bad. Even some of these guys like Ryan Moore played terribly.
    It’s really hard to pick a guy like Corey Conners, hell he wasn’t even in the tournament yet when I made my picks. As for Paul Casey, yes I could see him, I just didn’t pick him because he hasn’t shown us much this year. Also, this is classic Casey being among the leaders on Friday and Saturday, we all know what lies ahead on Sunday for him. Also sensed that Palmer and Snedeker were playing better, every time I would talk about him being a good pick he would go into the dumper and miss the cut.

    One thing I can say about DraftKings is that it’s now become nothing more than a lottery, yes there is some skill but there are so many players with every combination it makes one feel sick because the only way to win is to pick multiple combinations of teams.
    I picked three teams, with Tiger on one with the likes of Henrik Stenson and Chesson Hadley who will miss the cut and Bryson DeChambeau who withdrew, so it makes me ill when you have one of the leaders but won’t make a dime.
    I do have one team with Sergio, Kuchar, Luke List, Schwartzel, Cameron Smith and Steve Stricker that is barely making money, but with all six making the cut that will improve. Still a bit frustrated since four of the six shot even par and the other two were over par for today.
    But frankly, for all of you, some weeks like this at Innisbrook is impossible because the course is demanding for touring pros and the afternoon winds play havoc on most players.
    That is the thing when the wind blows on demanding courses it brings out a lot of players that aren’t every day guys that you can pick to contend.
    Also, you are right, the talent is so damn good on the PGA Tour that a guy like Jason Kokrak seem to pop up in a half a dozen events a year and you never seem to know when that will happen.

    So I guess that is the fun of all this picking, I don’t care how savvy and smart you are, it’s really hard to pick a group of guys that will first make the cut and then possibly contend for you.

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