The Valspar Champs is not an event that puts you on the edge of your seat or in fact gives you any interest at all. However, it isn’t the event that the players are intrigued by but more the course itself. The tournament is played at the notorious Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor. Valspar itself is an international manufacturer of paint and coatings, which isn’t exactly interesting but there you go. Valspar have sponsored many tournaments in the past all of which are well-known amongst PGA tour fans, some of these events include; the Tampa Bay Classic 2000-02, the Chrysler Championship 2003-06, the PODS Championship 2007-08, the Transitions Championship 2009-12 and last years Tampa Bay Classic.
The Copperhead Course has a total of five par 3s, ultimately making it a shorter course than most. However, it still plays as a par 71 with the help of four par 5s. Similar to the Honda Classic the Copperhead course has named their final stretch after an animal. Holes 16, 17 and 18 are called the Snake Pit, a name like that is enough to make any player overwhelmed with nerves. These three holes are either going to prove magical or disastrous on the final day, an under par score on these final few holes will guarantee the leader the win but a slight wayward tee shot will ultimately lose them the tournament there and then. With narrow tree-lined fairways and an oscillating terrain it will prove a tough test for those competing.
The favourite to take the title is the in form Harris English who since his first PGA tour victory back in November has achieved three top ten finishes in four stroke-play starts. He has some fond memories of this course as well with English finishing at a well-respected 7th here last year. Everything is going well for English and he seems to be performing at an extremely high level in every tournament he competes in. He is at a very inviting 16/1 bet to secure his first win in 2014.
Fellow American Jordan Speith is narrowly behind Harris English on an 18/1 bet. Speith will turn up to a course he is very enamored of. After bursting onto the scenes here last year when he finished 7th alongside Harris English, Speith has since taking the golfing world by storm. He won his first PGA tour victory at the John Deere Classic which ultimately gave him a position in last years Ryder Cup where he excelled. The new season has seen him finish six times in the top 25 and three times in the top 10. It isn’t long until he wins his second PGA tournament, could the Valspar Championship be the one?
Luke Donald is the leading Englishman in the pack and has some decent course form where he has finished sixth in 2010, he then won in 2012 and came forth here last year. His current form on the PGA tour is also looking good even after a torrid second round at last weeks Cadillac Championship where he carded a forgettable 82. His recovery however was certainly to be admired as he pushed his way back up into the top 25 with a 71 and a 69 on the final day. This form extends through to the Honda Classic where a top 8 finish gave him the boost he needed. Luke Donald is my tip of the day at 20/1 and certainly worth a bet.