Adam Scott doubled up last week but there is barely a breath before the tour rolls on. This week the tour is at Innisbrook Resort, more specifically the Copperhead, for the 2016 Valspar Championship. Jordan Spieth is ready to defend his 2015 title and a few of the others in the top-10 of the World Golf Rankings are here to try and spoil that party.
The venue is not forgiving and can bite a player if he loses focus for one shot. The teeth of the Copperhead will challenge the field the entire week. Players can navigate the first 15 holes of each round and enter the “Snake Pit,” the affectionate name of the 16th thru 18th holes, and see their rounds go up in smoke.
The “Snake Pit” was ranked in the top-10 amongst finishing three hole stretches in 2015 and there is no reason to think otherwise this year. The “Snake Pit” is a place that many players dreams have come to die. But one player will leave the “Snake Pit” damaged but not broken and will raise the 2016 Valspar Championship trophy.
Dates: March 10 -13 2016
Course: Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead)
Stats: Par 71, 7,340 yards
Television Coverage (Times):
Thursday: Golf Channel 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST
Friday: Golf Channel 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST
Saturday: Golf Channel 1:00 – 3:00 PM EST, NBC 3:00 -6:00 PM EST
Sunday: Golf Channel 1:00 – 3:00 PM EST, NBC 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST
Purse: $6.1 million total purse, $1.098 million winner share
2016 Valspar Championship Predictions, Picks, Sleeper | Innisbrook Three Holes To Watch
Hole No. 16 – Par 4, 475 Yards
This is where the “Snake Pit” begins. The 16th is the most visually challenging hole at the Copperhead without question. For any player that hits a cut or loses one to the right, they will be concerned for the entire length of the hole as water is there in its entirety. Even is the water is avoided, there is a long second shot into the green assuming the wind is not kicking up to knock the ball down. In 2015, there were almost as many double-bogies or worse than birdies. That speaks to the challenge.
Hole No. 17 – Par 3, 215 Yards
While it is true that 215 yards will not strike fear into the field, the reality is that this hole is no cake walk. The 17th is framed by trees but more worrisome is the bunkering that guards both sides of the green. Speaking of the green, welcome to a narrow green made even worse by the bunkering and the 200 plus yards to get there. This is another hole at Copperhead that saw more bogies than birdies in 2015.
Hole No. 18 – Par 4, 445 Yards
The finishing hole at Copperhead comes complete with drama that just might decide the Valspar Championship. At 445 yards, it is a distance that most of the field will not quiver at but this beauty of a finishing hole adds 10-20 yards since it plays up hill. Assuming players find the fairway, they will be left with a challenging shot into a blind green that is protected by bunkers both short and long. If the flag is placed over the front bunker than double-bogey is definitely in play as players misjudge the distance or wind and plug short and leave themselves a knee-knocking up and down.
2016 Valspar Championship Predictions, Picks, Sleeper | Innisbrook Selections
Let’s take a look at three players that I would predict to be right in the hunt coming down the stretch on Sunday at the 2016 Valspar Championship. Two players will seem more logical than the other but I am adding a player that just might surprise, basically a sleeper for success at the 2016 Valspar Championship Predictions, Picks, Sleeper | Innisbrook
|Luke Donald||The former World No. 1 has been struggling to regain the form that took him to the top of his craft. In fact, he has not finished well in any event but has made 6-of-7 cuts this season. His career here is impressive with four finishes in the top-6 in the last five years including a tie for fourth in 2014 and a title in 2012. He is a horse for the course and libel to find form at a moments notice especially at Copperhead.|
|Patrick Reed||Reed has all the game in the world and can go low at a moments notice. While 2016 has not been spectacular, go back to December, he finished second at the Hero, second at the Hyundai, and tied for sixth at Pebble Beach. He made the cut at the Cadillac this last week but was never a real factor. He is a candidate if on form. He lost to Jordan Spieth in a playoff here last year so he clearly knows his way around.|
|Blayne Barber||This will qualify as the flyer of flyers. Barber did not play last week and will be returning after a career best third at the Honda Classic. The Florida native grew up less than two hours from Copperhead. He did not make the cut here last year but appears to be learning from his mistakes of last year. If you are looking for a bomb than the youngster with an extra week to prepare who is local and coming off a career best is as good as any.|