Valspar Championship preview: Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth highlight star-studded field

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Tiger Woods (Getty Pictures)

The PGA Tour got here alive final week when Phil Mickelson ended his close to 5-yr profitable drought by defeating Justin Thomas in a playoff on the WGC Mexico Championship.

This week, the Valspar Championship acquired an enormous increase when Tiger Woods introduced it will be the primary of his subsequent two occasions. However the field does not begin and finish with Woods, various the sport’s most recognizable names signed as much as play this week.

Rory McIlroy adopted Woods into the field, and the 2 stars will make their debuts on the dreaded “Snake Pit.” Jordan Spieth can also be again within the field after a one-yr break.

The Course

Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead) ia s 7,340-yards par seventy one that checks the world’s greatest gamers tee-to-inexperienced. Two of Copperhead’s par-5s function double doglegs, a rarity on the PGA Tour. The “Snake Pit”  is made up of two devastating par 4s on both aspect of the par-three seventeenth. Gamers may have a troublesome time ending their rounds on a constructive observe. 

Totally different from different Florida Swing programs, Copperhead contains a tree-lined format extra generally discovered within the Midwest. Nonetheless, it has loads of chew if gamers discover themselves within the mistaken place.

Defending Champion

Final yr, Adam Hadwin earned his overdue first PGA Tour victory, keeping off Patrick Cantlay regardless of a late double bogey. After beginning the spherical with a 4-shot lead, Hadwin discovered Sunday, however collected himself in time to get the win.

Hadwin, ranked forty fourth on the earth, enters the week recent off two straight prime-10 finishes. Hadwin additionally famously shot a fifty nine final yr on the CareerBuilder Problem, finally ending second that week.

Favorites

Spieth, Justin Rose, Serio Garcia and McIlroy are among the many largest names within the field, although none of them have gained on the PGA Tour but this yr. Rose loved an incredible fall, whereas McIlroy and Garcia have made noise on the European Tour this winter. Spieth, who has been struggling together with his putter, has simply two prime 10s in 2018.

Woods has loved a strong comeback this yr, ending with two prime 25s in three begins. He’ll once more garner a lot of the consideration from spectators this week, and he appears as much as the problem.

Sleepers

Paul Casey earned lots of buzz final fall when he joined the European Tour, thus turning into eligible to compete for Europe on this yr’s Ryder Cup (he was not eligible in 2016). However Casey, ranked seventeenth on the planet), has flown beneath the radar in 2018 although he has three prime-12 finishes in 4 begins. 

Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson have been tumbling down the world rankings just lately, however Scott completed t13 at The Honda Basic, and Stenson has two prime-eight finishes in three begins this yr.