Dustin Johnson won last week’s WGC Championship at Doral thanks in no small part to his long game. Johnson drives the ball miles and is as accurate as he is lengthy with his long irons. This week, at the Valspar Championship, length will play second fiddle to accuracy, planning and precision. The Copperhead Course, at the Innisbrook Resort, Florida, is not a course that can be easily overpowered. Instead, the player who walks away with the 500 FedEx Cup points will have plotted their away around the course best and their caddie will have earned their 10% share of the $1,062,000 winner’s cheque.
When you talk about accuracy and a patient approach to the game of golf, two names from this field jump out straight away. They are Luke Donald and Jim Furyk. Let’s begin with the Englishman. Donald, the former world number one, has had real troubles with his game in recent years. He has swapped coaches and gone back and forth between swings in an attempt to gain more distance off the tee. In the off-season he went back to his original swing and has looked more comfortable in his events so far. That comfort hasn’t turned into results though as Donald has missed three cuts out of six events but he placed seventh at the Honda Classic and had some good moments at Doral. What makes Donald so appealing this week is his record at Innisbrook. He won here in 2012 and has been sixth or better in his last four outings. At 30/1 with Coral, Donald is one to add to your each-way bets this week.
Furyk is, like Donald, one of the most popular players on the PGA Tour. Since winning the FedEx Cup in 2010, the American has been winless on tour even though he has held a handful of 56 hole leads. His inability to convert good starts is close to becoming a habit that Furyk needs to break sometime soon if he is to add to his career winnings of over $62,000,000. Furyk is shorter than Donald in the betting at a best price of 22/1 with Bet365 as his game is in good shape. He is picking and choosing his events this year and hasn’t finished outside the top 20 in the three he’s played in so far. He was the most accurate driver last week and has won at this course so he’s another to back each-way this week. He might not win but a place is a great shout.
The betting this week is headed by Adam Scott (14/1 with Coral) and Jordan Spieth (16/1 with BetVictor). Both of them have the game to do well here this week but the final recommendation is Matt Kuchar. Kuchar’s game has been there or thereabouts recently but it’s his long-term form that’s most impressive. Over three years his average finishing position is 20th and although he’s never won at Innisbrook, he is one of the most consistent players on tour who can bide his time and wait for opportunities to present themselves. Kuchar is 25/1 with Coral and if you back him each-way you can rejoice every time you hear the cry of “Kooooooooch” as he sinks yet another putt.