I’m back and refreshed after a week away with the family.  It was nice to just spend a week out of my house first the first time in over a year.  Got to float in the ocean and play in the sand with my son, it was good for my soul.  Thanks to my FA Brother Steve Pimental for stepping up last week and putting together a great playbook for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.  Let’s get to this week’s tournament.

We head back down to Florida for the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbour at the Innisbrook Resort which is more affectionately known as Copperhead.  The course is 7,340 yards and a Par 71 but it is different from most Florida courses in that it is tree lined with a lot less water.  Normally, Par 71s feature only three Par 5’s but this one has four but an extra Par 3 and one less Par 4.  The fairways are very tight and the average for fairways hit for the week is usually 33/34.  The big bombers will be forced to club down as driving distance is not at a premium this weekend.  Scrambling will be a key factor this week especially when you look at the length of the rough.  Most all of the greens are well protected with bunkers, so targeting players with good numbers from the sand would be beneficial.  These five Par 3’s are all very long with the shortest one playing around 195.  You should target good long iron players with good numbers in Par 3 Efficiency 200-225.

The last thing to mention is “The Snake Pit.”  These players will finish their rounds every day in what is affectionately known as “The Snake Pit” which is holes 16 thru 18.  It starts with a 460 yard Par 4 with water all along the right side and a tight tree line along the left with a green that pushes balls away from the hole.  Then you move to one of those lengthy Par 3’s which is playing around 215 yards.  It has a narrow opening to a long green and you finish things off with a 445 yard Par 4 which has a green that is tucked away to the left which makes it extremely difficult for these players to make the green in two.  All of the greens on Copperhead are a challenge to reach safely but these last three can really bite you which is why the course is known as Copperhead.   

This is a difficult track and you really need to put a premium on accurate players. Paul Casey won this event in both 2018 and 2019.  He did not win it because of his long drives off the tee, he won it with skill and precision with his iron play.  He won the tournament at 10 under par and eight under par, this is not a course where you are hoping for a 65, you will be happy with a 69-70 each day.  Be smart with your selections this weekend.  

We've had four players as of Tuesday night withdraw from the Valspar after testing positive for COVID-19.  Keep your eye on the news to see if we've got any other late breaking withdraws as we get closer to Thursday morning.

ONE & DONE PLAY: SUNGJAE IM