With The Players Championship in the rearview mirror, the PGA Tour concludes its “Florida Swing” outside Tampa this week at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Unlike last week’s so-called “fifth major,” the Valspar has a slightly thinner field, with five of the top 20 players in the world playing. Sam Burns is the two-time defending champion, while Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are the biggest names.
Location: Palm Harbor, Fla., March 16-19
Course: Innisbrook Resort, Copperhead (Par 71, 7,340 yards)
Purse: $8.1M (Winner: $1.458M)
Defending Champion: Sam Burns
FedEx Cup leader: Jon Rahm
HOW TO FOLLOW
TV: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday, 1-3 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (NBC); Sunday, 1-2 p.m. (GC), 2-6 p.m. (NBC)
Streaming on ESPN+: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-p.m.
–Jordan Spieth and Adam Hadwin to finish in the Top 10 (+800 at DraftKings): There can be some serious bang for your buck available here, as both Spieth and Hadwin have won this event before. Hadwin, the 2017 champ, is coming off a T13 at The Players and also finished seventh at last year’s Valspar. Spieth is on his typical roller coaster lately but had two top-10s and a T19 at The Players among his past four starts. DraftKings is also offering +750 for either Spieth or Hadwin to win.
–Brian Harman to win his first-round 3-ball (+100 at BetMGM): Harman is up against 47-year-old Zach Johnson and ice-cold Kevin Kisner in this 3-ball, so we like his odds. Copperhead is a demanding course with plenty of trees, bunkers and water, so an accurate driver is demanded. Harman ranks sixth on tour in driving accuracy and should score better than his counterparts Thursday.
–Byeong Hun An to finish top player from Asia (+225 at DraftKings): An is having a nice little season thus far after regaining PGA Tour status via the Korn Ferry Tour. He’s one of five players from Asia in this week’s field, and only K.H. Lee has shorter odds out of that group. An leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Around the Green this season and has made the cut in the past six events he didn’t withdraw from, finishing top-40 four times.
2023 Prop Picks Record: 13-14-1
–Thomas (+1000 at BetMGM) has the second-lowest scoring average in tournament history at 69.67 and finished T3 last year. He is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 10.
–Spieth (+1200) won the event in 2015 and returns for the first time since missing the cut in 2018.
–Matt Fitzpatrick (+1600) finished T5 last year and is looking to rebound from a MC last week.
–Burns (+1600) owns a 68.63 scoring average at the Valspar, the lowest in tournament history. After a pair of MCs, he finished T35 last week.
–Keegan Bradley (+2200) finished runner-up in 2021 and is the highest-ranked player in the FedEx Cup standings in this week’s field at No. 4.
–Davis Riley (+3300) is coming off a MC as well, but finished runner-up last year and posted a T8 at Bay Hill two weeks ago.
–Burns is the two-time defending champion after defeating Riley in a playoff last year. He’s trying to become the first player to win a PGA Tour event three consecutive years since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic from 2009-11.
–Akshay Bhatia, 21, makes his first start after accepting a Special Temporary Membership that allows him to accept unlimited sponsors exemptions the remainder of the season. Bhatia, Cody Gribble, John VanDerLaan and Wesley Bryan are in the field courtesy of top-10 finishes at the Puerto Rico Open two weeks ago.
–Rory Sabbatini will make his 600th career start on tour. He has one top-10 in 15 previous event starts.
–David Lingmerth, Justin Rose and Justin Suh are coming off top-10s and are three of the 85 players who competed in The Players Championship last week.
–Vijay Singh holds the tournament scoring record of 18-under 266 set in 2004.
–Luke Donald, who returned to No. 1 in the world rankings following his 2012 victory at the Valspar, is in the field on a sponsors exemption, as is Korn Ferry Tour player Pierceson Coody.