The PGA Tour heads down I-95 and across I-20 into Tampa this week for the final leg of the Florida Swing and the Valspar Championship.
While this year’s edition will go off sans Tiger Woods, it’d be a mistake to say there’s no star power in the field this week at Innisbrook.
The Copperhead Course offers one of the Tour’s toughest non-major tests of the year. Last year, the scoring average in this event was 71.968. When you consider it plays as a par-71, you get an idea of just what the world’s best are actually in for this week.
Before we move forward, let’s a take a quick look back — I’d be remiss to not congratulate all you wise disciples who took my advice and cashed in on Rory McIlroy last week. It was hard to imagine Rors would be denied much longer than he had been entering The Players. If you didn’t see his win coming, you’re just a hater.
So, who has what it takes to charm the snake and take down the title?
Here’s your can’t-miss, no-doubt, sure-fire, mortal locks for the Valspar Championship:
Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead) – Palm Harbor, Florida
March 21 – 24, 2019
ODDS to Win:
|Rafael Cabrera Bello||40/1|
|Harold Varner III||150/1|
|Field (all others)||10/1|
Dustin Johnson — The field this week isn’t exactly stacked, as the kids say, but it’s not too shabby. The best of those teeing it up is probably Dustin Johnson. Like he normally does, DJ has put together a nice start to the season having won twice in the last seven weeks. Having not played here since 2010, it’ll be the first time Paulina’s better half tees it up on the Copperhead Course since the renovation, but I’d hardly say that matters. When DJ gets hot there’s not a park on the planet that can stop him. At 11/2, he’s the favorite.
Patrick Reed — It’s no secret that Patrick Reed is a top-5 player in the world in his mind, but, in reality, he’s also a top-5 player to watch at the Valspar. Not only has Reed put together a run of 15 consecutive cuts made worldwide, he’s also been nothing short of stellar on the Copperhead Course. With two runner-ups and a T-7 here, its no surprise he’s a popular pick to win. At 20/1, the juice is worth the squeeze.
Louis Oosthuizen — While he hasn’t been great as of late, he has been a solid choice for fantasy players and degenerate gamblers alike whenever he tees it up at the Cooperhead Course. Perhaps a return to a track he’s got some good juju on will give him the confidence he needs to regain his form. At 30/1, Shrek is a great sleeper choice this week.
Brian Harman — It seems like a long time ago now, but Brian Harman is not so far removed from a career year that I’ve forgotten him. A week like this could be just what the doctor ordered for the Georgia Bulldog. His 2019 has been forgettable, but a T-8 at The Players last week suggests he might be turning a corner. In a field like this, I’m happy to take a flier, especially when it pays 100/1.
Fun Under $5
Luke Donald — Regardless of whether he’s playing like the former World No. 1 he is or his swing looks closer to that of the lady Chubbs Peterson ditches to teach Happy Gilmore, you take the action on Luke Donald exactly two weeks of the year: At Innisbrook and at Harbour Town. At 200/1, it’s not going to take much to make it big.
There you have it, friends and degenerates. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to update my CV. Word on the street is Jon Rahm may need a new caddie. And while I don’t speak Spanish, I doubt it’ll be an issue. After all, it doesn’t matter what language I’m speaking if he’s not listening.
Until next time, go and choose wisely…