After the excitement of THE PLAYERS Championship, there's often a bit of a lull, especially with last week's star-studded leaderboard setting a high bar for the PGA Tour. 

While this week's Valspar Championship might not have the same big names or hype as THE PLAYERS or the prestige of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it's still a solid event with the Copperhead Course always providing a tough test. 




Valspar Championship 2024 Tournament

Last year, Taylor Moore surprised everyone with a gutsy final round to take the title, and now he's up against tough competition like Xander Schauffele, Sam Burns, and Justin Thomas. Let's take a look at some of the past winners, course history of the Valspar Championship, and my upcoming PGA DFS picks!

Copperhead Course At Innisbrook Resort Breakdown

Copperhead has been hosting this event since 2000, but things got spiced up in 2007 with a date change, and since then, the course has been throwing tougher challenges. Forget about checking out the course history before '07; it won't tell you much. 

Nestled in Palm Harbor, Florida, the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort is like the kind of place where you could easily see a PGA Championship happening next week, no questions asked. It's tough as nails, consistently ranking among the PGA Tour's hardest. Over the past decade, winning scores at the Valpsar (all held at Copperhead) have mostly been 10-under par or less. 

Last year, they beefed up the rough and brought it closer to the greens, sticking to their high standards. This course is unlike your typical Florida layout; it's got twists and turns, tight fairways, and greens that are a pain to hit. And then there's 'The Snake Pit'—a beastly three-hole stretch to finish. 

While it might not be a hitter's paradise, there are still plenty of Par-5s to tee off on. But watch out, there are also five Par-3s, not exactly a walk in the park. You can bag birdies on the Par-5s, but it takes some serious shot-making skills. Smart play off the tee is crucial, given the course's sneaky doglegs and thick rough. 

It's all about ball striking here, with accuracy being king. And with water hazards lurking around, you'll need to bring your A-game across the board. Long irons and a solid off-the-tee game are a must. Last year, the top dogs gained serious strokes on approach and off the tee, showing just how crucial those shots are.




Valspar Championship Field 2024

Golf fans are getting pumped for the Valspar Championship, where a bunch of big-name players will be teeing off at Innisbrook. Xander Schauffele is coming in hot after his awesome T2 finish at THE PLAYERS, aiming to build on his five top-10 finishes this season, including a solid T12 at Innisbrook last year. 

Brian Harman's feeling good after his strong showing at THE PLAYERS too, even though he's had a rocky ride at Innisbrook in the past, with more missed cuts than made ones. But hey, he did manage a cool T5 finish last year. Sam Burns, on the other hand, has been on fire at Innisbrook, winning the past two Valspar Championships and landing in the top 12 four times out of five. 

Justin Thomas is hoping to bounce back after missing the cut at THE PLAYERS. He's usually pretty solid at the Valspar, only missing the cut once in his career. Tony Finau's making a comeback to Innisbrook after a few years away, hoping to do better than his past three missed cuts out of four tries. 

Taylor Moore's feeling confident too, having made the cut in all seven of his starts this season. And then there's Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Valspar champ, who's had a knack for doing well at Innisbrook, finishing in the top 20 in five out of six starts. It's shaping up to be an exciting tournament with these big names battling it out on the challenging course.

PGA Stats To Know: 2024 Valspar Championship

Top SG: Putting Targets

  • Aaron Baddeley - 1st on Tour
  • Taylor Montgomery - 3rd on Tour
  • Justin Suh - 6th on Tour
  • Jordan Spieth - 9th on Tour
  • Pierceson Coody - 10th on Tour

Top SG: Approach Targets

  • Tony Finau - 4th on Tour
  • Justin Thomas - 6th on Tour
  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout - 8th on Tour
  • Nick Taylor - 9th on Tour
  • Lucas Glover - 10th on Tour

Top SG: Around The Green Targets

  • Maverick McNealy - 2nd on Tour
  • S.H. Kim - 3rd on Tour
  • Mackenzie Hughes - 5th on Tour
  • Andrew Novak - 6th on Tour
  • Aaron Baddeley - 10th on Tour

Best Course History

  • Sam Burns - 2 Wins, 6th, 12th & 30th (5 of 5 Cuts)
  • Jordan Spieth - 1st, 3rd, 7th & 2 Top 20s (5 of 6 Cuts)
  • Justin Thomas - 3rd, 10th, 10th, 13th, & 18th (5 of 6 Cuts)
  • Matt Kuchar - 3 Top 20s 1 Top 25 & 3 Top 40s (6 of 6 Cuts)
  • Adam Schenk - 2nd & 18th (2 of 4 Cuts)

My Best Bets (12-22 Overall, -2.10 Units)

  • Brian Harman: Top 20 (+110)
  • Doug Ghim: Top 30 (+105)
  • Maverick McNealy: Top 30 (+140)

One & Done Play

  • Maverick McNealy




PGA DFS Picks: Valspar Championship

Top-Price Core Plays

Xander Schauffele ($11,200)

The odds seem fair for Schauffele to bounce back quickly after missing out on his biggest win and settling for second place at THE PLAYERS just a few days ago. Despite not securing a victory since July 2022 in Scotland, he has consistently avoided missing cuts and demonstrated solid skills. Additionally, Schauffele boasts five top-10 finishes in 2024 and performed admirably, tying for 12th, in his sole Valspar appearance in 2022. 

Comparatively, it remains uncertain how Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are faring recently, while Sam Burns, typically strong on this course, is experiencing issues with his ball striking. Hence, Schauffele emerges as the most balanced player in contention. Given the emphasis on tee-to-green proficiency on this course, the seven-time PGA Tour winner appears to have the best chance to claim the top spot on the leaderboard.

Sam Burns ($10,900)

In the past three years at the Valspar, Burns has snagged two wins and landed sixth once, making Copperhead his favorite spot to play. His impressive average score of 67.75 over the last twelve rounds here is a testament to his dominance. Burns excels in Total Strokes Gained per round at this course, primarily due to his killer putting skills. Additionally, he leads the pack in strokes gained on these poa greens, averaging 1.7 strokes per round over his 20 career rounds. 

Despite not securing a win in 2024, Burns has shown consistency with four top-10 finishes and no missed cuts. Surprisingly, he now ranks 12th in bogey avoidance in our model, a development that would have been hard to believe not too long ago. Although his price tag is almost as high as Xander's, Burns remains a top contender for another victory on this course. Burns and Copperhead seem like a match made in heaven, solidifying them as an unbeatable player/course combo.

Brian Harman ($9,800)

Brian Harman, a top-10 player on the PGA Tour, is making waves whether you're a fan or not. Last weekend at TPC Sawgrass, he really showed his stuff, almost clinching The Players. With his status as the reigning Champion Golfer of the Year, he consistently proves himself in big events. 

I'd back his reliability over both Spieth and Thomas right now, especially after his standout performance on approach shots last week. Despite only winning once out of six tries since 2015 at Copperhead, he has a soft spot for the course, evident from his solid T5 finish in 2022. Therefore, it's fair to expect him to maintain his strong game on a course where he's performed well before.




Mid-Price Core Picks

Doug Ghim ($8,400)

Doug Ghim, an emerging force on the golf course, is demanding attention with his recent performances. Last week at THE PLAYERS, he showcased his skill among the elite, securing a spot in the Top 20. Impressively, Ghim has achieved T16 or better finishes in his last five starts, trailing only Xander in Total Strokes Gained during this remarkable streak. 

Despite potentially surprising pricing, Ghim has consistently ranked among the top five players in this field for the past three months. It's hard to bet against a player in such exceptional form. What's even more encouraging is the noticeable improvement in his historically weak putting this year. The former University of Texas standout is currently on an impressive streak. Considering his T27 finish at Copperhead last year, it seems he has a genuine chance of claiming victory this week.

Maverick McNealy ($8,100)

In his recent streak, Maverick McNealy has shown exceptional form, healthier and better than ever. At THE PLAYERS last week, he secured a respectable T9 finish, marking his third top-13 and second top-10 in his last four starts. McNealy's renowned short game has been particularly shining, leading the field in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green and ranking 17th in putting over his last 16 rounds. 

Additionally, he's been consistently strong off the tee, gaining 1.7 or more strokes in that department in three of his past four starts. Despite only managing a T36 here last year, McNealy's current lower pricing reflects undervaluation, especially given his recent stellar performances. It feels like anticipation has been building endlessly for McNealy's breakthrough win, and this week might finally be the one where it materializes.




Value-Price Core Picks

Sam Ryder ($7,300)

During this stretch, he's ranked fourth in the field in Total Strokes Gained, mostly thanks to his impressive putting, where he's gained a whopping 9.3 strokes on the greens. Although he might not be considered one of the top-tier golfers, this course favors someone with solid ball-striking skills like him. 

Ryder's particularly strong with his long iron play from 175-200 yards, ranking in the top 10 in this area. Despite struggling in his past four outings at Copperhead, Ryder made a breakthrough last year with a T19 finish. Sam Ryder is on a roll lately, following up his T16 finish at THE PLAYERS with a T21 at the Cognizant. Given his current form, it's fair to expect him to at least make the cut this week.

Davis Thompson ($7,000)

Despite this being his first time at the course, the former University of Georgia standout, Davis Thompson, should feel right at home on the Southeastern Bermuda greens. Thompson has been consistently making the cut and even landed in the top 20 once in his last three outings. 

He's someone I always keep an eye on because of his accuracy off the tee and his potential with his mid to long irons. What's even more promising is Thompson's performance on par 5s, where he ranks in the top 10 in this field for birdie or better percentage. These skills will be crucial at Innisbrook.

Webb Simpson ($6,700)

Simpson's been scoring quite a few invites from sponsors for various Signature Events, which has definitely got people talking. But honestly, it's not all that surprising considering how consistently he's rocked it at the Valspar. Over the years, he's been pulling in solid performances there, landing himself in the top 10 multiple times, even when folks thought his game might be slipping, like it did last year. 

Plus, his recent showing at Bay Hill, where he snagged a tie for 30th place in a seriously tough field, shows he can handle the pressure of tricky courses. With Simpson's reputation for playing it safe, he's totally in sync with what's needed for this week's tournament, making him a strong contender for the win.



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