After two brutal weeks on the PGA Tour, most of the World’s top players will be taking a break this week for the Valspar Championship. The Valspar will feature a nice blend players who played in the Puerto Rico Open last weekend, and a few battle weary players who have survived the US Open layouts at PGA National, and Doral. A large group will be resting in Orlando awaiting a date with Arnie at Bay Hill next week.
The Valspar Open was formerly known as The Tampa Bay Championship, but will tee-off at the familiar Copperhead Golf Course at The Innisbrook Resort in the Tampa area of North Central Florida. The 7340 yard layout plays to a par of 71 for the pros, and features the “Snake Pit”
The Snake Pit, much like The Bear Trap at PGA National is a three-hole finishing stretch that includes a 215 yard par three hole sandwiched in between two brutal par fours. It is ranked sixth in most demanding finishing holes on the tour, and averages .637 strokes over par.
Kevin Streelman won his first PGA Tour event here last year, shooting a bogey-free 65-67 on the weekend to outlast a hard charging Boo Weekly for the win. He became the second player in three years to get his first tour win at Innisbrook. Gary Woodland picked up his first victory at the 2011 tournament.
After a strong finish at the 2013 Puerto Rico Open, 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth finished seventh here last year and bootstrapped a season that included special exemptions which led to his first win at The John Deere Classic. The win validated all of the FedEx Cup points he had accumulated, and gave him full PGA status. The rest they say, is history.
The field at The Valspar Championship is not great, but there are some top players who are behind in FedEx Cup points due to the new “Wrap Around” season, and have signed up to play. Visit this link to PGATour.com for a full listing of players who will be in this weeks field.
The Copperhead Course at The Innisbrook Resort is the only stop on the Florida Swing that contains some rolling hills, and tree-lined fairays. With the highest point in Florida being at 58 feet above sea level, there aren’t many places where you can find hills, but Innisbrook is one of them. It provides a break from the usual flat venues in the rest of the state.
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