Even though a large bunch of the top golfers in the world are not playing in the Valspar Championship, the line up for the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort is packed with talent. The $5.7 Million Dollar purse, and more importantly, the 500 Fed Ex Cup points available are attracting players who are behind the curve in the new Wrap Around Season. As usual, the PGA Tour is providing some nice pairings for the Thursday and Friday broadcast.
Jordan Spieth, Harris English, Chesson Hadley
8:20 a.m. No. 10 tee on Thursday; 1:10 p.m., No. 1 tee on Friday
This is the pairing I want to watch. Two youngsters who have been mainstays on the tour in the past year and a half, and a new winner from The Puerto Rico Open last week. Both Spieth, and English could use a start that doesn’t include a full field of the world’s best players, and both could use a win.
Jordan Spieth has had three top ten finishes this year, including a solid second behind Zach Johnson at The Hyundai TOC, but he hasn’t had a win since beating Zach in a playoff at The John Deere Classic last year. English hasn’t won since the OHL Mayakoba earlier this year. The 26-year-old Hadley won in Puerto Rico on Sunday.
Jason Dufner, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker
1:10 p.m., No. 1 tee on Thursday; 8:20 a.m. No. 10 tee on Friday
The 2013 PGA Champ finished T 9 at Doral last week where his strong short game kept him in contention in the difficult conditions at The Cadillac Championship. 2013 US Open Champ, Justin Rose is still recovering from shoulder problems, and doesn’t appear to be 100% at this point in the season.
2012 FedEx Cup Champion, Brandt Snedeker has never really recovered from the rib injuries he picked up early in the 2013 season. He got a gift win at The RBC Canadian Open last year when 54 hole leader, Hunter Mahan withdrew to attend the birth of his daughter. Brandt has not shown the consistency that finished second in three events last year before winning at Pebble Beach.
Jim Furyk, Bill Haas, Matt Kuchar
1 p.m., No. 1 tee on Thursday; 8:10 a.m. No. 10 tee on Friday
I’m not sure Jim Furyk has the length to be a contender at Copperhead, but he is a grinder, and you can never tell when he will visit a leaderboard. Both Furyk, and Bill Haas are Fed Ex Cup Champions, and along with the consistency of Matt Kuchar, this should be a nice group to watch.
In an earlier post, I picked Matt Kuchar to win this event. The Kuch missed his first cut in a year and a half back at Riviera earlier this year, but he bounced back quickly to put up a nice defense of his title at Dove Mountain.
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (NBC).
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