2015 Valspar Championship pre-tournament notes
Dates: March 9-15, 2015
Where: Palm Harbor, Fla.
Course: Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf & Spa Resort (Copperhead)
36-35—par 71/7,340 yards
Field size: 156
2014 champion: John Senden
Purse: $5,900,000 ($1,062,000/winner)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
How John Senden won the 2014 Valspar Championship
- Having started the final round two strokes back at 6-under, John Senden birdied two of the last three holes to distance himself from a crowded leaderboard and win by one stroke over Kevin Na.
- Senden was tied for the lead after making bogey at the 15th hole, but pitched in from 70 feet for an improbable birdie at the par-4 16th and then made a short birdie putt at the par-3 17th that proved to be the winner.
- His victory ended a victory drought of nearly seven years, dating to the 2006 John Deere Classic.
- Following his win in Palm Harbor last year, Senden went on to claim three more top-10 finishes last season, including T8 honors at the Masters three starts later. He added top-5 finishes at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (T5) and Deutsche Bank Championship (T5), en route to 23rd-place in the FedExCup standings.
- So far this season, Senden has claimed one top-10 finish in eight starts (7th/CIMB Classic).
- Notes on the field
- Seven of the top 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking, including Henrik Stenson (3), Adam Scott (5) and Jim Furyk (6):
- Henrik Stenson, winner of the 2013 FedExCup title, will be making just his third start of the 2014-15 PGA TOUR Season this week. He finished T24 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in November and is coming off a T4 at last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Stenson is making his first start in the Valspar Championship.
- Former World No. 1 Adam Scott is poised to make his sixth start in this week’s Valspar Championship. His best finish in the event is T28 in 2010. An 11-time winner on TOUR, Scott is looking for his first victory since last year’s playoff win at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. This week’s Valspar Championship is just his third start on TOUR this season. Scott finished T12 at the WGC-HSBC Champions last Fall and earned T4 honors at last week’s WGCCadillac Championship with Stenson.
- En route to winning the 2010 FedExCup title, Furyk claimed his 14th career PGA TOUR victory at the Valspar Championship. It was his first of three wins on TOUR in 2010 (RBC Heritage, TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola). Furyk joined an elite group at the 2013 BMW Championship when he posted a second-round, 12-under 59 at Conway Farms Golf Club. The only others to post the elusive score on the PGA TOUR are Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval, Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby. Furyk claimed 11 top-10 finishes in 2014 on TOUR, earning him fourth-place honors in the FedExCup standings. Furyk has collected one top ten in three starts so far this year (T7/AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am). Furyk will be making his eighth start in the Valspar Championship this week, and seventh consecutive. In addition to his 2010 win on the
Copperhead Course, his other top-10 finishes are a T7 in 2013 and a T2 in 2012.
- Ten of the top 20 in the current FedExCup standings, including four of the top 10: Sangmoon Bae (5), Patrick Reed (7), Charley Hoffman (8) and Brandt Snedeker (9). Each of those four have already claimed a TOUR victory this season; Bae (Frys.com Open), Hoffman (OHL Classic at Mayakoba), Reed (Hyundai Tournament of Champions) and Snedeker (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am). UPDATE
- Other notables include 2013 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth, recent winner at The Honda Classic Padraig Harrington, Honda Classic runner-up and TOUR rookie Daniel Berger and the world’s top-ranked amateur, Ollie Schniederjans:
- The 21-year-old Spieth returns to the event which opened many doors for him in 2013. By virtue of his T7 finish at the 2013 Valspar Championship, Spieth earned Temporary Membership for the remainder of the season. He went on to became the youngest winner on TOUR since 1931 with his victory at the John Deere Classic, tied for most top 10s on TOUR (nine), played in all four FedExCup Playoff events, was a Captain’s selection for the U.S. Presidents Cup team and was voted PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year. In the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season, Spieth collected eight top-10 finishes, highlighted by a share of second place at the Masters, a T4 at the PLAYERS Championship and a T5 at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship. Spieth has finished inside the top-7 in half of the six TOUR events he has played; T7/Waste Management
Phoenix Open, T7/AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and T4/Northern Trust Open.
- Padraig Harrington broke a winless drought of nearly seven years with his recent playoff victory over Daniel Berger at The Honda Classic two weeks ago. Harrington began the final round at PGA National three strokes behind leader Ian Poulter. When Poulter faltered down the stretch, Harrington’s even-par 70 was good enough to force sudden death with the 21-year-old Jupiter, Fla. native. Harrington managed the score of 70 thanks to a clutch, 16-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole. Following a pair of pars back at the par-5 18th, Harrington won with a par on the second extra hole, the par-3 17th. The win was Harrington’s sixth on the PGA TOUR. Among them are titles at the 2007-2008 Open Championship and 2008 PGA Championship. Harrington, originally offered a sponsor exemption into the Valspar Championship, will be making his fifth start in the event, with a T8 in his first start of 2010 his best showing.
- Interestingly, the sponsor exemption freed up by Harrington’s win went to Jonathan Byrd, who holds the distinction making more cuts on the Copperhead Course than anyone (11).
- Florida native and PGA TOUR rookie Daniel Berger’s playoff loss to Harrington two weeks ago at The Honda Classic was his third top-10 finish in his last four starts (T10/Waste Management Phoenix Open, T10/AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and 2nd/The Honda Classic). Making his first start at the Valspar Championship, Berger comes into the week leading the rookie class in FedExCup standings at No. 17
- Playing on a sponsor exemption, Georgia Tech All-American Ollie Schniederjans will make his PGA TOUR debut at this week’s Valspar Championship. In his only start on the Web.com Tour, Schniederjans finished T5 as an amateur at the Air Capital Classic last year. Schniederjans took over the world’s No. 1 spot after Patrick Rodgers and Matthew Fitzpatrick turned professional after last year’s U.S. Open.Tournament notes
- 2014 marked the beginning of a new era for the tournament, with the title sponsorship role of Valspar. Based in Minneapolis, the Valspar Corporation is an international manufacturer of paint and coatings. With upwards of 10,000 employees in 25 countries, the Valspar Corporation is the sixth-largest paint and coating distributer in the world.
- Six of the last seven winners of the Valspar Championship have all finished the season of their win inside the top 30 in FedExCup standings, highlighted by Jim Furyk winning the FedExCup title in 2010, the year of his win at Innisbrook Resort. 2013’s winner Kevin Streelman finished the season at No. 44.
- Brian Gay is the only player to compete in all previous 14 Valspar Championships. His best finish is a T4 in 2007. Gay will vie for this year’s title for a 15th consecutive time.
- K.J. Choi (2002 and 2006) and Retief Goosen (2003 and 2009) are the only multiple winners of the Valspar Championship and both are in this year’s field. Choi nearly won for a third time, finishing runnerup to Jim Furyk in 2010. No player has yet to successfully defend his title at the Valspar Championship.
Year Defending Champion Finish 2014 Kevin Streelman T38 2013 Luke Donald T4 2012 Gary Woodland T29 2011 Jim Furyk T13 2010 Retief Goosen 5th 2009 Sean O’Hair MC 2008 Mark Calcavecchia T14 2007 K.J. Choi T6 2006 Carl Pettersson MC 2005 Vijay Singh MC 2004 Retief Goosen T20 2003 K.J. Choi T40 2002 John Huston (won 2000 event) T13
SOURCE: PGA TOUR