PGA Tee to Green – Valspar Championship
By Christopher Feery
The PGA Tour will be in Palm Beach, FL this week for the Valspar Championship. Once again, the action gets underway bright and early on Thursday morning, so be sure to have your DFS golf lineups in on time. The field isn’t quite as star-studded as it was for The Players Championship, but there are plenty of appealing options to be found at each price point.
Course and Weather
The Valspar will be contested at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort. This is a Par 71 course which spans nearly 7,400 yards. Among the notable attributes are a trio of somewhat challenging Par 3 holes, as well as four Par 5’s.
The weather for this four-day event looks like it will be pretty consistent throughout. We open up with sunny skies, low 60’s, and winds at 12 mph or less for Thursday and Friday. For the weekend, the forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, temps in the mid- to upper 60’s, and winds at 6 mph or less.
Field and Cut
Last week at The Players, the Top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings took part. We’re not quite as fortunate this time around, but 10 of the Top 30 are scheduled to compete. At the top of the list is the golfer who holds down the top spot in the rankings, Dustin Johnson. He has nabbed a Top 10 finish for five of his last six events. Can he seal the deal this week?
Also participating will be golfers such as Jon Rahm, Jason Day, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, and Webb Simpson, all of whom are ranked in the Top 20. Casey and Reed finished one-two at this event last year, and they have favorable odds to have another solid showing this time around.
Standard cut rules are in effect this week with the Top 70 and ties moving on to play the weekend. If more than 78 golfers advance, the MDF rule will go into effect for another round of cuts after round three to further chop the field down.
While past success at a specific event is no guarantee of a future bonanza, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Some golfers excel on certain courses, while others may struggle just to make the cut on a course that doesn’t agree with their game and approach. Here are the last five winners of The Valspar Championship for your reference.
* 2018: Paul Casey
* 2017: Adam Hadwin
* 2016: Charl Schwartzel
* 2015: Jordan Spieth
* 2014: John Senden
In addition to the above names, golfers such as Reed and Henrik Stenson have had solid success here in recent years. Reed has finished in the Top 10 for three of his last four tries here. As for Stenson, he finished up in 11th or better each year from 2015 through 2017. However, he had a dismal performance here last year while missing the cut entirely.
As for golfers on the affordable end of the spectrum, Rory Sabbatini and Trey Mullinax both finished in the Top 10 here last year. Among the golferes to finish in the Top 20 in 2018 are value plays such as Sam Burns, Sean O’Hair, and Ryan Blaum.
What the Oddsmakers Say
Once again, Johnson is the clear cut favorite to win this event outright. While we’re certainly not going to count him out, let’s also remember that he has been favored many times this tour season. Similar to past performance, presence at the top of the odds chart is not necessarily a portender of success. However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to lean on oddsmaker research as confirmation of which golfers project to play well. Here are the current favorites to win the Valspar Championship for your reference.
* Dustin Johnson +500
* Jon Rahm +1000
* Jason Day +1100
* Sergio Garcia +1600
* Webb Simpson +2000
Behind Simpson, we have Reed and Casey with odds of +2200. Gary Woodland is right behind them at +2500, and then odds bunch up a bit more than at the top of the charts. In the range of +3300 to +8000, we have 21 names on the list.
The Bottom Line
It looks like we’re going to have good weather for what shapes up to be a solid event. While there’s not quite as much star power as there was for last week, there are still enough top names involved to keep it interesting. If we add in the intriguing value plays of the week and those in the middle tier who look like they could go off, we have plenty of different directions we can go with this week’s lineups.
For additional insight on this week’s tour stop, we encourage you to check out our PGA Premium Content.