The decision to move last week’s World Golf Championship event from Doral to Mexico was widely welcomed by players and fans alike but it did impact upon the PGA Tour’s Florida Swing. But, it’s back to the regularly scheduled programming of top level golf come Thursday with the ever popular Valspar Championship.
The main reason for the popularity of the Valspar Championship among the stars of the PGA Tour is the host venue, Innisbrook Resort and the Copperhead Course. Year after year, the course ranks as one of the toughest par 71 layouts on the PGA Tour and had a scoring average of 72.6 last season.
The Copperhead is described as a firm but fair course but few players feel they’ve been treated fairly once they’ve complete the so-called ‘Snake Pit’. That’s the name given to the course’s three closing holes. It’s one of the toughest stretches of holes you’re likely to find and has been the site of many a player throwing away their chance of victory.
Stenson to Put Last Week’s Withdrawal Behind Him
Henrik Stenson was one of just two of the world’s top 50 players who didn’t play in Mexico last week. The big Swede was there at the start and played practice rounds at Chapultepec but he fell foul of a nasty stomach bug that was going around. While some players soldiered on, Stenson took the decision to withdraw to ensure he is in tip top shape for the Valspar Championship.
The Copperhead Course is just the test of ball striking and shot making that should suit Stenson to a tee. It certainly seemed to in his last two starts when he finished tied for 11th and in fourth. Stenson, like many PGA Tour players, lives in Florida so this will almost have the feel of a home event for him. At odds of 12/1 with BetVictor, he should be set for another strong showing at Innisbrook.
Moore’s Innisbrook Improvement Can Continue
You have to admire Ryan Moore’s grit. The American has only missed the annual trip to Innisbrook once over the last 10 years despite a run of four missed cuts in six starts. It looked for all the world as though Moore was never going to fully get to grips with a course that should suit his ability to shape the ball both ways but then it all clicked into place in 2015 and 2016.
Moore bagged a spot in the top five two years ago before finishing third last time out. His form has been a little hit and miss since finishing second to Rory McIlroy at the Tour Championship but he was impressive enough last week to suggest he’s worth an each way play at 28/1with Betfred.
Kjeldsen Feeling More Confident in the States
For the first time in his career, Soren Kjeldsen has taken up membership of the PGA Tour. After initially struggling to make an impact in America, the Dane turned in a good showing at the Honda Classic and had a solid week in Mexico. He struggles at courses which are too long but his shot making suggests he can finish in the top 10 at 14/1 with Sky Bet.