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BlogValspar Championship Preview and Picks

Valspar Championship

April 29th – May 2nd, 2021

Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead Course)

Palm Harbor, FL

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,340

Purse: $6.9 million

with $1,242,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Paul Casey

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 39 of the top 100 and 17 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with three players from the top-ten: #1 Dustin Johnson, #2 Justin Thomas and #7 Patrick Reed. The other top 50 players are #15 Viktor Hovland, #19 Sungjae Im, #20 Paul Casey, #21 Scottie Scheffler, #27 Ryan Palmer, #31 Abraham Ancer, #32 Joaquin Niemann, #33 Louis Oosthuizen, #34 Kevin Na, #35 Jason Kokrak, #38 Corey Conners, #39 Justin Rose, #41 Max Homa and #42 Kevin Kisner.

In 2019 the last time the Valspar was played 17 of the top-50 ranked players were in the field

The field includes 9 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2021.  Those top-25  players in the field are: #2 Justin Thomas, #7 Viktor Hovland, #10 Dustin Johnson, #15 Corey Conners, #16 Joaquin Niemann, #18 Max Homa, #19 Patrick Reed, #24 Jason Kokrak, and #25 Sungjae Im.

The field includes eight past champions: Paul Casey (2018 & ’19), Adam Hadwin (2017), Charl Schwartzel (2016), Kevin Streelman (2013), Luke Donald (2012), Gary Woodland (2011), Sean O’Hair (2008) and K.J. Chi (2006 & ’02)

The event was not played in 2001 because of the 9/11 tragedy and 2020 because of COVID-19.

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 Zurich Classic RBC Heritage Masters Valero Texas WGC – Match Play Corales Puntacana Honda Classic The Players Arnold Palmer WGC-Workday Puerto Rico Genesis Invit.
Corey Conners
(258.17 pts)
DNP T4
(80)
T8
(100)
T14
(24)
T61
(0)
DNP DNP 7
(27.5)
3
(30)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Scottie Scheffler
(254 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP T18
(64)
T54
(0)
2
(100)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP 5
(35)
DNP T20
(10)
Louis Oosthuizen
(182.5 pts)
2
(100)
DNP T26
(48)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP T41
(4.5)
DNP T6
(30)
DNP DNP
Charley Hoffman
(178.17 pts)
T11
(39)
T18
(32)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP T17
(16.5)
T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
Viktor Hovland
(159.67 pts)
T25
(25)
DNP T21
(58)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T49
(0.33)
T2
(50)
DNP T5
(23.33)
Ryan Palmer
(158.5 pts)
7
(55)
DNP T34
(32)
T17
(22)
17
(33)
DNP DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP
Abraham Ancer
(156.67 pts)
DNP T18
(32)
T26
(48)
T23
(18)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP T22
(14)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Patrick Reed
(155.17 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(100)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP T22
(14)
CUT
(-3.33)
T9
(22.5)
DNP DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(154.33 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP CUT
(-5)
T21
(9.67)
DNP T11
(13)
CUT
(-3.33)
Chris Kirk
(152.33 pts)
27
(23)
T7
(55)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
T48
(1)
T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Justin Rose
(147.33 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP 7
(110)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
T54
(0)
DNP DNP
Justin Thomas
(146.17 pts)
DNP DNP T21
(58)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP DNP Win
(66)
DNP T15
(17.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Tyrrell Hatton
(143.67 pts) (WD)
T8
(50)
T39
(11)
T18
(64)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T21
(9.67)
T22
(14)
DNP DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(139.67 pts)
2
(100)
DNP T26
(48)
T69
(0)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T62
(0)
Keegan Bradley
(135.17 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
DNP DNP T30
(13.33)
T29
(10.5)
T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP T60
(0)
Bubba Watson
(134.67 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP T26
(48)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Russell Henley
(126 pts)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP T28
(22)
DNP T3
(60)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP DNP T38
(4)
Sam Ryder
(125 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T2
(66.67)
T8
(33.33)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(119.67 pts)
T4
(80)
T42
(8)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Peter Uihlein
(112.33 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP
Denny McCarthy
(112.33 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
T55
(0)
T26
(8)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Max Homa
(111.33 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T10
(13.33)
T22
(14)
DNP Win
(44)
Erik Van Rooyen
(108.5 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP T14
(24)
T9
(45)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP T57
(0)
T37
(6.5)
DNP DNP
Paul Casey
(108.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T26
(48)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP DNP T5
(35)
T10
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Jason Kokrak
(106.67 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP 49
(2)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
T8
(16.67)
T9
(22.5)
DNP T32
(6)
Sam Burns
(106 pts)
T4
(80)
T39
(11)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP 3
(30)
Keith Mitchell
(99.33 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
CUT
(-5)
T43
(2.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(97.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T12
(76)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP DNP WD
(-2.5)
T43
(2.33)
T11
(19.5)
DNP T38
(4)
Ian Poulter
(96.33 pts)
DNP T48
(2)
T26
(48)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-5)
T26
(8)
DNP T35
(5)
DNP
Chase Seiffert
(95 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T42
(8)
DNP T44
(4)
DNP T18
(21.33)
T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP
Danny Willett
(95 pts)
T8
(50)
T18
(32)
CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 8
(33.33)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Richy Werenski
(95 pts)
3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-5)
T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
Joaquin Niemann
(92.5 pts)
DNP DNP T40
(20)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T25
(16.67)
T29
(10.5)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP T43
(2.33)
Brandon Hagy
(90.67 pts)
28
(22)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Talor Gooch
(85.67 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP T46
(2.67)
T5
(35)
T43
(2.33)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
Sungjae Im
(85.5 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T13
(37)
CUT
(-20)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP T8
(33.33)
T17
(16.5)
T21
(9.67)
T28
(11)
DNP DNP
Lucas Glover
(82.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T33
(17)
DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
T48
(1)
T66
(0)
DNP T39
(3.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Rafael Campos
(80.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP T2
(66.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
DNP
Mackenzie Hughes
(78.33 pts)
DNP T52
(0)
T40
(20)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T36
(9.33)
CUT
(-5)
DNP T44
(3)
DNP T32
(6)
Tom Lewis
(76 pts)
T8
(50)
T25
(25)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP T56
(0)
T36
(9.33)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Phil Mickelson
(75.5 pts)
DNP DNP T21
(58)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
T35
(7.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Branden Grace
(73 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T42
(8)
DNP T23
(18)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T26
(8)
DNP Win
(44)
T20
(10)
Adam Schenk
(69.33 pts)
T11
(39)
T25
(25)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T56
(0)
T36
(9.33)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP T27
(7.67)
DNP
Vincent Whaley
(67.33 pts)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP T28
(14.67)
T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(11.67)
DNP
Camilo Villegas
(67 pts)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T8
(33.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Zurich Classic RBC Heritage Masters Valero Texas WGC – Match Play Corales Puntacana Honda Classic The Players Arnold Palmer WGC-Workday Puerto Rico Genesis Invit.
Austin Cook
(-45 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Hunter Mahan
(-43.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brian Gay
(-42.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T46
(2.67)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T60
(0)
Xinjun Zhang
(-41.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Robby Shelton
(-40.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T43
(4.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Russell Knox
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T67
(0)
70
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Beau Hossler
(-35 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T60
(0)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Chez Reavie
(-34.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-5)
T49
(0.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Byeong Hun An
(-31 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-5)
T43
(2.33)
DNP T35
(5)
DNP
Vaughn Taylor
(-30.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T44
(4)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-5)
DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

When the PGA Tour announced the 2021 schedule, many were concern with the change in the scheduling.  The Valspar Championship was changed from a mid-March start in the middle of the Florida swing to now at the end of April, an entire month after the last event was played in Florida.  Because of the way the calendar year fell, it meant that between the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Masters, one event had to move, and it fell onto Valspar.  Many wondered how the field would be, would the top players not show up, and this event loses some of its luster.  But a combination of two factors has played an essential role in getting a pretty good field to show up.  The first item of interest for players, when the event is played in mid-March, it’s the windiest time of the year, and with average daily winds between 15 and 30 mph, it made for a challenging course.  But with the move to the end of April, the wind won’t be as much of a problem.  The second and most important item for player interest is the Innisbrook resort and its Copperhead course, which has held a PGA Tour event since 1990.  In its first nine years, it was the old JC Penney, a fun event in which a PGA Tour pro would partner with an LPGA pro.  This was always a great event and a shame when it was discontinued in 1999 but went out with a bang as John Daly and Laura Davies won it.  Now the folks of Innisbrook didn’t shed any tears at the demise of the JC Penney as it was replaced with this event.

Things you need to know about the Valspar Championship
  • This will be the 20th Valspar Championship, with the first one played in 2000.  The first time a full-field PGA Tour event was held in the area since the St. Petersburg Open was played between 1930 and 1964.
  • 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 its 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.
  • Now the event doesn’t have much history, which is a problem for attracting a great field.  But the Innisbrook Copperhead course is a hidden gem on the PGA Tour and one that gets players’ attention.  Accuracy is more of a premium at Copperhead than length.  This course can’t be overpowered like many other courses like Bay Hill.
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.
  • 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.
  • So from day one in 2000, the Copperhead course has the reputation of being a fantastic, fair course that many of the players enjoy.  As I said before, you can’t overpower the Copperhead course, and by no coincidence, players that hit it long usually take this week off.  So the course demands hitting fairways and avoiding the rough.  Another key to the course is the greens. They are some of the hardest on the PGA Tour because of the grain on the greens.  In 2019 (the last year event was played), the field finished 42nd in overall putting average, meaning that only 7 courses on the PGA Tour had better putting numbers than the Cooperhead course.  Historically, the winners have a great putting week; Paul Casey showed that in his two victories in 2019 and ’18.  Other great putters that have won the Valspar including Jordan Spieth, Luke Donald, and Jim Furyk.
  • More prove on the toughest of the course, in the history of this event, only 52 times has a player shot four-under-par rounds, the last being Tiger Woods in 2018.  Taking it a step further, only 12 times has a player shot four rounds in the 60s, the last time it happened was in 2012.  We have to understand one of the factors of this stat is mother nature.  The winds of March seem to show up each year this event is played, and this is why the course has played over par every year since 2012.  In 2019 the course played almost a full shot over par with a 71.98 average making it the 6th hardest course on the PGA Tour that year.

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 the 2019 Valspar Championship, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2021. 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 2019 was 71.98, so with par being 71, that means the average score was just a shade under one shot per round, making Cooperhead the 6th hardest course to score on in 2019. In 2018 the scoring average was 71.97, and again it was the 6th hardest course to score on in 2018. What makes the course so hard is the winds that would blow up to 30 mph making the course really hard. In the wind the course is a bear, just look in 2015 when 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 to start with, add some wind and it’s a brute. But when you have four days of calm conditions, the course can get easier as in 2017, during perfect conditions with little winds the course played to a 71.51 scoring average making it the 17th hardest course. The last time the course played under par was in 2012 when it played at 70.73. Now in all those periods when the course played over par, the event was played in mid-March which is the windiest time for that area. With the change in the calendar to the end of April, the six weeks will make the course play a bit easier. This week winds will be under 10 mph each day with temperatures right around 80 each day so look for scoring to be easier this year.

In looking at the stats for Cooperhead for 2019, Greens hit, Driving Accuracy, and putting from 4 to 8 feet were important. So our first stat is Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green because of the fact that in 2019 the course ranked 11th in driving accuracy and 1st in greens hit. Not only is Paul Casey the defending champion, he also won the Valspar in 2018 so he has held on to the title for three years now. In 2019 Casey was 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green and in 2018 he was 6th. In 2019 Casey was 9th in driving accuracy (was T-68th in 2018) and was T-5th in Greens hit (was T-30th in 2019). Showing how important greens hit is, of the players who finished in the top-five in 2019, 3 of them were in the top-eight in greens hit. In 2018, of the top-4 in position, 3 of them were in the top-ten of greens hit with 4th place finisher Sergio Garcia finishing 2nd in greens hit.
So it’s important to get it close to the hole from the fairway. Last year the Cooperhead course was 15th in Proximity to the hole while Casey was 65th 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 many undulations, so players can do well on the greens. Last year the field finished 42nd in overall putting average meaning that only 7 courses on the PGA Tour had better putting numbers than the Cooperhead course. Last year’s winner Casey was T-32ndin overall putting average but in Strokes Gained Putting he was 43rd (we always knew that Paul Casey putting is not the strong suit of his game).
Last we have Par Breakers as the course was the 2nd 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. In looking at the comparison,it had a 16.04 average in Par Breakers at Innisbrook, but the most productive course in 2019 in Par Breakers was La Quinta C.C. that average is 27.88 But Par Breakers wasn’t a problem for Casey as he ranked T-1st in 2019 and T-5th in Par Breakers in 2018.

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 lots 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.

144 of the 156 players from this year’s field with stats from this year:

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

What to go to the stats of all 144 players

DraftKings tips

Of the 156 in the field, 119 have played at least once in the Valspar.  Here are the players with the most under par totals at the Valspar since 2015:
  • Paul Casey is 18 under in 8 rounds, playing 2 years
  • Henrik Stenson is 13 under in 18 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Patrick Reed is 12 under in 18 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Charl Schwartzel is 11 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Ryan Moore is 10 under in 16 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Wesley Bryan is 8 under in 4 rounds, playing 1 year
  • Sean O’Hair is 8 under in 11 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Jason Kokrak is 8 under in 18 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Louis Oosthuizen is 7 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Sungjae Im is 6 under in 4 rounds, playing 1 year
  • Keith Mitchell is 6 under in 4 rounds, playing 1 year
  • Charles Howell III is 6 under in 16 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Dustin Johnson is 5 under in 4 rounds, playing 1 year
  • Ryan Armour is 5 under in 8 rounds, playing 2 years
  • Sam Burns is 4 under in 8 rounds, playing 2 years
  • Denny McCarthy is 4 under in 4 rounds, playing 1 year
  • Austin Cook is 4 under in 8 rounds, playing 2 years
  • Bubba Watson is 4 under in 6 rounds, playing 2 years
  • Zach Johnson is 4 under in 8 rounds, playing 2 years
  • Abraham Ancer is 3 under in 4 rounds, playing 1 year
  • Corey Conners is 3 under in 4 rounds, playing 1 year
  • Rory Sabbatini is 3 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Justin Rose is 3 under in 6 rounds, playing 2 years
*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)
  • Paul Casey is -18 under, playing 2 years (-9.0)
  • Charl Schwartzel is -11 under, playing 4 years (-2.8)
  • Henrik Stenson is -13 under, playing 5 years (-2.6)
  • Ryan Armour is -5 under, playing 2 years (-2.5)
  • Patrick Reed is -12 under, playing 5 years (-2.4)
  • Ryan Moore is -10 under, playing 5 years (-2.0)
  • Sean O’Hair is -8 under, playing 4 years (-2.0)
  • Sam Burns is -4 under, playing 2 years (-2.0)
  • Austin Cook is -4 under, playing 2 years (-2.0)
  • Bubba Watson is -4 under, playing 2 years (-2.0)
  • Zach Johnson is -4 under, playing 2 years (-2.0)
  • Louis Oosthuizen is -7 under, playing 4 years (-1.8)
  • Jason Kokrak is -8 under, playing 5 years (-1.6)
  • Charles Howell III is -6 under, playing 4 years (-1.5)
  • Justin Rose is -3 under, playing 2 years (-1.5)
  • Rory Sabbatini is -3 under, playing 4 years (-0.8)
  • Jamie Lovemark is -2 under, playing 3 years (-0.7)
  • J.T. Poston is -1 under, playing 2 years (-0.5)
  • William McGirt is -1 under, playing 2 years (-0.5)
  • Justin Thomas is -1 under, playing 3 years (-0.3)
  • Russell Henley is -1 under, playing 3 years (-0.3)

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

More DraftKings tips

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

Justin Thomas – $11,500

Dustin Johnson- $11,200

Viktor Hovland – $10,500

Patrick Reed – $10,300

Paul Casey – $10,000

Scottie Scheffler – $9,800

Corey Conners – $9,600

Louis Oosthuizen – $9,500

Tyrrell Hatton – $9,400 (Has since WD, COVID-19)

Abraham Ancer – $9,300

Sungjae Im – $9,200

Joaquin Niemann – $9,100

Russell Henley – $9,000

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 the last couple of years.  Then you have the weather, historically winds play havoc to scoring, but this week it’s being played six weeks later and there shouldn’t be any 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.

So let’s look at our top players, first off is Justin Thomas at $11,500.  Very surprised to see him playing this year, though he would be spending the week on the beach at home in Jupiter.  Thomas hasn’t played since he missed the cut in 2017, but he did finish T-10th in 2015.  We have to think that with the PGA Championship just three weeks away, Thomas is getting serious and sees Innisbrook to be a great course to get reps in.  But does it mean Thomas is up to his peak or is he just getting started with his routine?  I think it’s more of the last one, think Thomas will finish in the top-ten but won’t win.  Next is Dustin Johnson at $11,200, he played in this event in 2019 and was in contention the final day and finished T0-6th.  We know that Johnson has struggled the last six weeks but I think we will see a better Dustin and he will play well.  Still, his price is very large and I won’t be picking him for that reason.  Viktor Hovland is $10,500 and a lot of money for a rookie.  But the course should prove up his alley, think he will play well but honestly think the price is way too high.  Same with Patrick Reed at $10,300, the course is perfect for him and he has two runner-up finishes.  Since winning the Farmers in January he has played indifferently but did finish T-8th at the Masters.  I would think he will play well, but not at the cost of $10,300.  So you are probably wondering if I like anyone?  I do like Paul Casey at $10,000, Innisbrook has been good for him winning the last two Valspar Championships.  Now Casey has always surprised me, mostly not in a great way.  Have always felt his game is one of the best out there, but it seems Casey is not willing to put in the 110% that is needed to be great.  Yes, he does put in 100%, but he never seems to have that little added ump which could take him to real stardom.  Maybe that is the reason he has never really achieved more in golf.  As for this week, fell he will do could and make the $10,000 investment worth it.  Also, like Scottie Scheffler at $9,800, yes is a rookie but think he has the came to achieve good things this week.  Also, like Louis Oosthuizen at $9,500.  He and Charl Schwartzel played well together in the team play, losing the playoff to Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman.  I like Oosthuizen because he has played well in the Valspar, was T-2nd in 2019 and T-7th in 2016. Abraham Ancer at $9,300 is also a toss-up for me, he was T-16th in his only Valspar start in 2018.  Plus he hasn’t played great since finishing T-5th at the American Express.  yes he has made cuts, but his best finish has been T-18th, that doesn’t cut it in my mind.  Sungjae Im at $9,200 is another question mark.  Yes in his only Valspar start in 2019 was T-4th, but his game in 2021 hasn’t been as sharp as in past years.  Joaquin Niemann at $9,100 is a possibility, was T-37th in his only Valspar start in 2019.  I say no because his game is Ok, he is making cuts but not contending as he did earlier in the year when he had back-to-back runner-up finishes in Hawaii.  Russell Henley at $9,000 is a possibility, he was T-9th in 2017, and in his last three starts was T-3rd at Honda, T-28th at the WGC-Match Play, and T-9th at Heritage.

Here is our feature in which we help you decide which guys make the cut the most in a tournament.  The importance of picking six players that play 72 holes is vital in playing well in Draftkings, and this list will help.  It’s a look going back to the 2010 Valspar on who has made the most cuts.  Of course, those who make a lot of cuts and are priced low are very helpful.  To get on this list, you have to make at least three Valspar starts:

Brandt Snedeker made 7 cuts in 7 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,300.

J.B. Holmes made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,600.

Kelly Kraft made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,200.

Nick Watney made 8 cuts in 8 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,100.

Ryan Palmer made 4 cuts in 4 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 8,500.

Luke Donald made 8 cuts in 9 starts for a 88.9%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,000.

Charles Howell III made 6 cuts in 7 starts for a 85.7%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,700.

Kevin Na made 6 cuts in 7 starts for a 85.7%.  His DraftKings cost is 8,000.

Justin Rose made 5 cuts in 6 starts for a 83.3%.  His DraftKings cost is 8,800.

Zach Johnson made 5 cuts in 6 starts for a 83.3%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,200.

Chesson Hadley made 4 cuts in 5 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,200.

Henrik Stenson made 4 cuts in 5 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,000.

Jamie Lovemark made 4 cuts in 5 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,400.

Jason Dufner made 8 cuts in 10 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,400.

Jimmy Walker made 4 cuts in 5 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,100.

Rory Sabbatini made 7 cuts in 9 starts for a 77.8%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,100.

Bubba Watson made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 8,900.

Graeme McDowell made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,700.

Sung Kang made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6,200.

Russell Knox made 5 cuts in 7 starts for a 71.4%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,100.

Lucas Glover made 7 cuts in 10 starts for a 70.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7,700.

(Those that I like are in bold)

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Off the bat, I like Justin Rose at $8,800.  Despite him struggling with his game the last two years, he is fighting back and was 7th at the Masters and T-11th in the team event last week.  But like how he has played in the Valspar, was T-5th in 2018, T-5th in 2011, and T-8th in 2014.  Also, like Jason Kokrak at $8,700.  Has played well at Innisbrook, was T-2nd in 2019, T-8th in 2018, and T-7th in 2015. Returning to Florida where he played great in March, with top-tens in Players, Palmer and WGC-Concession.  Chris Kirk at $8,200 is a great pick despite never playing well in five starts at Valspar.  But in his last three starts, T-6th at Valero Texas Open, T-7th RBC Heritage, and 27th in the team event last week.  Talor Gooch at $8,000 is worth looking at.  Missed the cut in his only Valspar start in 2018, but has played well this year on the Florida swing.  Denny McCarthy at $7,500 is also one to think about at this price, he was T-9th in his only Valspar start and he is such a great putter that may get him by.

Are there any “Bargains” out there?

Like Peter Uihlein at $7,300 who has played great the last few weeks and is on a big streak.  Brandt Snedeker at $7,300 is another that is playing well right now and has always found a way to make the cut at Valspar.  Knows how to do well on the Copperhead course, which was 4th in 2011.  Zach Johnson at $7,200 is a good buy, he won’t win but in looking for a low-price player to make the cut he is perfect.  Now the best buy of the week has to be Charl Schwartzel at $7,100.  He won Valspar in 2016 and was 6th in 2017. Also like that he was 2nd last week with partner Louis Oosthuizen, T-26th at the Masters.

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

The key stat for the winner:

  • In looking at the 19 champions of this event, 12 of them have this in common.  They were in the top-12 in greens hit.  Matter of fact six of them were in the top five including 2019 champion Paul Casey who was T-5th in Greens hit in 2019. So it is crucial to hitting 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,  one thing for sure players respect the course and show up, of its past champions all active players (except for Jordan Spieth) are in the field.  They 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 Bay Hill a couple of weeks ago.  Stats that prove this is first driving distance averages, in 2019 the average of all the drives in the field was 276.2 yards, the 5th lowest on the PGA Tour.  Since 2005 it’s been in the bottom six every year as the 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 the 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:

 

  • 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 2021, only nine are in the field this week.  Ryan Brehm-2nd, Dustin Johnson-6th, Wyndham Clark-8th, Keith Mitchell-T-10th, Joaquin Niemann-12th, Brandon Hagy-14th, Cameron Davis-15th, and Luke List-18th.
  • Another important stat is putting, and the greens at Innisbrook are some of the hardest on the PGA Tour because of the grain on the greens.  In 2019 and ’18 it was the 19th hardest course to make putts between 4 and 8 feet, with 68.87% & 68.68%.  In 2017 it was the 22nd hardest 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 even this time of year. 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.  In 2017 Adam Hadwin played them in 6 under par, in 2018 Paul Casey was 8 under but he was the tournament-best 15 under par in 2019.
  • Look at all these facts, and you can conclude that good ball strikers rule the roost at Innsbrook.  This is not your typical Florida type of course because the fairways are tight, the rough will be tall.
  • 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

2019-Paul Casey                                5th

2018-Paul Casey                               25th

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:

Corey Conners

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T16

Hottest player since the tour moved to Florida in late February, 3rd at Palmer, 7th at Players, T-8th at Masters, and T-4th at Heritage. Copperhead is perfect for him, was T-16th in his only start in 2018.

Justin Rose

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T5 CUT T8 T29 T5 T13

Has struggled with his game for two years now, showing signs that he is breaking out with a 7th place finish in the Masters and was T-11th in the team event last week in New Orleans. This is a perfect course for him to win again, was T-5th in 2018, T-5th in 2011, and T-8th in 2014.

Jason Kokrak

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T2 T8 T58 CUT T7 T14 CUT CUT CUT

Has played well at Innisbrook, was T-2nd in 2019, T-8th in 2018, and T-7th in 2015. Returning to Florida where he played great in March, with top-tens in Players, Palmer and WGC-Concession

Best of the rest:

Paul Casey

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
Win Win CUT CUT T37

Has won the Valspar the last two times it’s been played in 2019 & ‘18. His game was hot when they played in Florida with a T-5th at Players and T-10th at Palmer.

Louis Oosthuizen

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T2 T16 T7 CUT CUT CUT T20

Plays his best on tough courses including playing well at Valspar including T-2nd in 2019 and T-7th in 2016. Was T-6th at the WGC-Concession and runner-up last week in the team event with partner Charl Schwartzel

Dustin Johnson

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T6 CUT

There is a reason he is playing this week, the course is good for his game and he is starting to show that his game has gotten better since missing the cut at the Masters. Was T-6th in the 2019 Valspar so he can play well at Innisbrook.

Justin Thomas

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T18 T10

Hasn’t played much in the Valspar was T-10th in 2015, T-18th in 2016, and missed the cut in 2017. Won at the Players and was T-21st at the Masters, yes his game is on track and he will play well this week.

Solid contenders

Sungjae Im

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T4

Was T-4th last time Valspar was played in 2019. Was T-8th at Honda and T-13th at RBC Heritage, his game has not been as good as last year, but showing signs of coming back.

Viktor Hovland

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Playing for the first time at Valspar. Good ball-striker who was T-5th at Genesis and T-2nd at WGC-Concession all tough courses.

Scottie Scheffler

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Another Valspar rookie that has the potential to play well at Valspar. Was T2nd at Match Play, 5th at WGC Concession, and T-8th last week in team event.

Charl Schwartzel

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T49 6 Win CUT

Won Valspar in 2016 and was 6th in 2017. Was 2nd last week with partner Louis Oosthuizen, T-26th at the Masters.

Abraham Ancer

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T16

Was T-16th in his only Valspar start in 2018. Hasn’t missed a cut since tour moved to Florida in February, best finish T-18th at WGC-Concession, WGC-Match Play, and RBC Heritage

Long shots that could come through:

Chris Kirk

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
CUT T49 CUT T42 CUT

Has never played well in five starts at Valspar, best was T-42nd in 2016. Has made the cut in his last seven starts, has been in the top-25 in five of them. In his last three starts, T-6th at Valero Texas Open, T-7th RBC Heritage, and 27th in the team event last week.

Denny McCarthy

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T9

Was T-9th last time Valspar was played in 2019. Was T-3rd at Honda, T-34th at Valero Texas and T-13th at RBC Heritage.

Peter Uihlein

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T65 CUT CUT T57

Has never played well in four starts at Valspar, best was T-57th in 2011. His game has been red hot of late, was 2nd in the Korn Ferry Chitimacha Louisiana Open, won Korn Ferry MGM Resorts two weeks ago, and was 3rd at the team event last week.

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