The Valspar preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
The Valspar Championship is played on the 7300 yard Par 71 Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort near Tampa Bay, Florida. Tight and tough Copperhead is right up there as a test on the PGA Tour with tree lined fairways (hardly seemed to matter last week with Milky) significant changes in elevation and dog legs.
The 2017 renewal will be the 2nd since the revamp of the Bermudagrass greens which were noticeably slow last year.
What we know? The fairways are not only tree lined they are tight and its hardly a short course which meant last year it played the 3rd hardest in greens in regulation.
Recent winners include some tidy players in Furyk and Donald with noticeable short average driving stats from many winners – no doubt trying to keep in on the fairways. Donald hit over 73% of fairways when he won here in 2012 the best figure since 2012.
Ollie Schniederjans: 1pt e/w at $67 with
Martin Laird: 1pt e/w at $71 with
Bryson DeChambeau: 1pt e/w at $351 with
Ollie Schniederjans missed the cut here two years ago but he’s a much improved player since then. Fiery and pleasingly without a cap Schniederans has taken to the PGA Tour and looks set to breakthrough as anyone. In his first full year on Tour Schniederjans has posted three top tens from just ten starts. He has a 12th placed finish at the Open Championship and his contemporaries are all flying so there’s no lack of talent nor motivation. He’ll need a driving week and that’s reflected in his price in this less than stellar field with a waning Thomas and an ailing Stenson heading the betting. As it happens he produced a season’s best off the tee at the demanding Honda but was let down by a sloppy (stroppy) short game. I like that fact he – like Tyrell Hatton – doesn’t mind sending out some smoke signals – you are what you are and if venting is your thing then you must vent. Confession: your correspondent is heading out to get his 6 iron repaired as soon as this piece is submitted.
Martin Laird is not getting way from us without a fight. Third in the top ten finishes category, 20th in strokes gained putting and a multiple winner Laird is a super grinder. You just know he’s going to pop up there or there abouts if you watch week in week out and it’s no surprise. He flattered to deceive at the Waste Management when we were riding him and he was getting into contention and yes he’s no superstar – but he does win – and this field is not laden with the top dogs. He’s not had a huge amount of success here bar a 6th but he has won on these Bermudagrass greens before and the three top tens in his last five starts illustrate a man in form.
Bryson Dechambeau has been more Deshambles than Beau recently and yet and yet. We’ve run with Bryson before when he was at least showing some form so why now? He’s a huge price for one and has some great form around here as an amateur, and while his overall game has suffered for whatever reason – semi celebrity might have something to do with it – there’s no denying he’s talented. Given his unique approach to the game with his same length irons he strikes me as a player who could just click and find something. The bare form is not inspiring with 6 missed cuts and a WD from ten starts. He did produce a nice tee to green game at the Honda with 80% of greens hit before he missed the cut. Putting is a major concern however given he’s third last on tour in strokes gained putting – even Steven Bowditch is ahead of him – and we have seen that weird side saddle style give way to a more conventional approach so hope springs eternal.