Valspar Championship Preview 2017

Valspar Championship Preview 2017Valspar Championship Preview 2017

Dates: March 6-12, 2017
Where: Tampa Bay, Florida
Course: Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort (Copperhead)
36-35—par 71/7,340 yards
Field size: 144
2016 champion: Charl Schwartzel
Purse: $6,300,000 ($1,134,000/winner)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Twitter: @valsparchamp

Charl Schwartzel and the 2016 Valspar Championship

  • In just his second start at the Valspar Championship, Charl Schwartzel’s final-round, 4-under 67 against a 1-over 72 from 54-hole leader Bill Haas resulted in sudden death between the two.
  • With a par at the first extra hole, No. 18, Schwartzel claimed his second career PGA TOUR win at the age of 31 years, 6 months and 11 days in his 129th career start on the PGA TOUR.
  • With the win, Schwartzel became the eighth player to come from behind in the final round to win the Valspar Championship.
  • Last year’s playoff was just the third in Valspar Championship history, and second consecutive. The first occurred in 2012 when Luke Donald defeated Jim Furyk, Robert Garrigus and Sangmoon Bae, while Jordan Spieth defeated Sean O’Hair and Patrick Reed in 2015.
  • Following last year’s win at Innisbrook, Schwartzel went on to claim three more top-10 finishes en route to a career-best 25th-place finish in the FedExCup standings: T7/World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, T4/BMW Championship and T10/TOUR Championship.
  • Prior to last year’s win, he missed the cut in 2012

The Valspar Championship and the FedExCup

  • Nine of the 10 winners of the Valspar Championship in the FedExCup era have qualified for the season-ending TOUR Championship: Mark Calcavecchia (2007), Retief Goosen (2009), Jim Furyk (2010), Gary Woodland (2011), Luke Donald (2012), Kevin Streelman (2013), John Senden (2014), Jordan Spieth (2015) and Charl Schwartzel (2016). The exception was Sean O’Hair (2008) who finished the season 75th in the FedExCup standings.
  • The 2010 winner of the Valspar Championship, Jim Furyk, went on to win the FedExCup title that season and was also voted the 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year.
  • Five years later, Jordan Spieth won the Valspar Championship in a playoff over Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair and captured the 2015 FedExCup, totaling five wins during the campaign.
  • he week of the Valspar Championship marks the fifth week Justin Thomas has led the FedExCup standings, having taken over the lead after a tie for fifth at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
  • Hideki Matsuyama, currently No. 2, has led the FedExCup standings for a total of 10 weeks.
  • Brendan Steele led after week one after capturing the Safeway Open.

Top talent dominating PGA TOUR winner’s circle

  • Through the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, seven of the nine winners in the 2017 calendar year have been inside the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking:
    • Justin Thomas (SBS Tournament of Champions/22)
    • Thomas (Sony Open in Hawaii/12)
    • Hideki Matsuyama (Waste Management Phoenix Open/5)
    • Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am/6)
    • Dustin Johnson (Genesis Open/3)
    • Rickie Fowler (The Honda Classic/14)
    • Johnson (WGC-Mexico Championship/1).

Glance at the field

  • Nineteen of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings, including FedExCup leader Justin Thomas and No. 8 Gary Woodland, the 2011 Valspar Championship winner.
  • Thirteen major championship winners, combining for 19 major championship titles, including four-time major winner Ernie Els.
  • Eleven of the 14 past champions of the Valspar Championship. Jordan Spieth (2015), Mark Calcavecchia (2007) and John Huston (2000) are not in this year’s field.
  • Five FedExCup champions; Vijay Singh (2008), Jim Furyk (2010), Bill Haas (2011), Henrik Stenson (2013), and Billy Horschel (2014).
  • Henrik Stenson
    • Henrik Stenson, the fifth-ranked player in the world and winner of the 2013 FedExCup, will be making just his third start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season this week. He finished T2 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
    • Stenson will be making his third start in the Valspar Championship. In his first start of 2015, he finished fourth, just one shot out of the playoff between Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair. He finished T11 last season.
    • Stenson is in search of his sixth career PGA TOUR title and first since last year’s Open Championship.
  • Justin Thomas
    • Three-time winner this season Justin Thomas will be making a third consecutive start in the Valspar Championship. He finished T10 in 2015 and T18 last year.
    • So far this season, Thomas has collected victories at the CIMB Classic, SBS Tournament of Champions and Sony Open in Hawaii. He won the three events by a collective 13 strokes. En route to his seven-stroke win at the Sony Open in Hawaii, he posted an 11-under 59 in round one.
    • Thomas comes into this week’s Valspar Championship ranked first in FedExCup points, following his T5 finish at last week’s World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
  • Patrick Reed
    • World No. 11 Patrick Reed will make his fourth start in this week’s Valspar Championship. In 2015, Reed and Sean O’Hair lost in sudden death to Jordan Spieth.
    • Reed will be making his ninth start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season this week, with a T6 at the SBS Tournament of Champions his best showing.
    • Reed will be in search of his sixth PGA TOUR victory this week, and first since the THE NORTHERN TRUST 2016 in the FedExCup Playoffs.
  • Bubba Watson
    • 2012 and 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson is poised to make his seventh start in the Valspar Championship and first since 2011. His best showing is solo-third in 2010.
    • A nine-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Watson will be in search of his first TOUR title since the 2016 Genesis Open.
    • Watson is making his sixth start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season this week and is coming off a T38 finish at last week’s World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship
  • Jim Furyk
    • 2010 Valspar Championship winner Jim Furyk, who was recently named to be the U.S. Ryder Cup Captain for 2018, will be making his ninth start at Innisbrook. In addition to his 2010 victory en route to the FedExCup title, Furyk finished inside the top 10 in 2012 (T2) and 2013 (T7).
    • Furyk, who became the sixth player in PGA TOUR history to shoot 59 (R2/2013 BMW Championship), went one lower in the final round of last year’s Travelers Championship, posting a 12-under 58.
    • Furyk, a 17-time winner on the PGA TOUR, is in search of his first win since the 2015 RBC Heritage.
    • Furyk will be making his sixth start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season this week, with a T6 at The RSM Classic his best showing.
  • Lee McCoy
    • Dunedin, Fla. native Lee McCoy will be making his second start in the Valspar Championship and his eighth as a professional.
    • As an amateur, the former Georgia Bulldog made headlines by finishing fourth last year at Innisbrook.
    • In six starts after last year’s Valspar Championship, he failed to make a cut. In his lone PGA TOUR start this season, he finished T41 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
    • McCoy suffered a fractured right wrist in a car accident last fall and was unable to compete in the second stage of Tour Qualifying School
  • Additional Sponsor Exemption
    • In addition to Lee McCoy, sponsor exemptions have been extended to former LSU golfer Zach Wright, former Texas Longhorn Beau Hossler and University of Virginia senior Jimmy Stanger.
    • Wright, the winner of the 2016 Valspar Collegiate Invitational and Hossler, winner of the 2016 Haskins Award, will both compete as professionals. tanger, who grew up 45 minutes from Innisbrook Resort, won the 2016 Southern Amateur and advanced to the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Amateur.

Tournament Notes

  • Before missing the 2015 event, Brian Gay was the only player to compete in each of the first 14 Valspar Championships. His best finish is a T4 in 2007. Gay will make his 16th start in the event this week
  • K.J. Choi (2002 and 2006) and Retief Goosen (2003 and 2009) are the only multiple winners of the Valspar Championship. Choi nearly won for a third time, finishing runner-up to Jim Furyk in 2010. No player has successfully defended his title at the Valspar Championship.

The Snake Pit

  • With its challenging finish, the final three holes on the Copperhead Course make for great drama each year. Here’s a look at how that three-hole stretch measured up in 2016:
    Hole Rank Scoring Average
    16 2 4.354
    17 12 3.066
    18 6 4,178

    Valspar Championship Preview 2017 via PGA TOUR

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