2016 Valspar Championship Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Ham-sandwiched among the Florida Swing’s Honda Classic, WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral and Arnie’s Tourney at Bay Hill is this week’s Valspar Championship, home of the Snake Pit.  Um, talk about a not-so ringing endorsement.  Well guess what, this tournament may get overlooked by some, but I’m here to tell you that this is one of the best sleeper courses + tourneys on the PGA Tour schedule, and some top level talent has started to take notice.

First, the course—Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course—is one of the most difficult par 71s in a non-major year after year, averaging .863 strokes over par last year, which was actually notably lower than the +1.43 it averaged the year prior.  At 7,340 yards it’s not overly long, but with thread-the-needle tee shots and consistently firm, fast greens, it’s one of the Tour’s most demanding tracks.  Since last year’s tourney, the course now showcases Celebration Bermudagrass on its fairways, TifEagle Bermuda on its greens and also some larger tee boxes and greens to boot.

My picks last week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral were a mixed bag of awesomeness, wildness, frustration and wind-blown lunacy, as my Lockzilla Rory McIlroy slapped his way around on Sunday to give the tournament away, eventually finishing t-3rd.  My Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week on Danny Willett was a HUGE success, as he finished t-3rd, but my Hosel-Rocket BUST pick of the week on Bubba was obviously a massive whiff, as he finished runner-up to Adam Scott.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Rory t-3rd)
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Ryan Moore
– Hasn’t finished better than 10th all season, but has 3 of those “tenths,” as well as a t-11.  With three of those top 11’s coming in his past four events, he’s clearly coming in with some positive mo this week.  If “shotshapey” was a word, Ryan Moore would fit that description perfectly, as would the requirements list for succeeding at the Copperhead course.  Time to improve upon his 5th place finish here last year after leading through 54 holes, Moore makes for a total Lockzilla play this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Leishman t-28th)
Sean O'Hair
Sean O’Hair
– The 2008 champ and last year’s playoff runner-up posted a solid t-14th at The Honda Classic two weeks ago, and is a decent 6/8 cuts made with five top 35s on the season.  Ok so yeah, that’s nothing to write home about, but he’s Sean O’Hair, so it sort of is.  But, he and his homemade swing do make for a solid value play in a few particular spots on the Tour schedule, and this is one of those weeks.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Bubba 2nd)
Henrik Stenson
Henrik Stenson– After a nice little heater, I whiffed in this BUST spot last week, but plan to make up for it big time this week.  This week’s bust is…none other than world #7 Henrik Stenson.  Yes, the “slump-proof,” Swedish-terminator Henrik Stenson.  ‘Ol Henrik’s t-28th last week at Doral was painfully difficult to watch at times, as he was slap-happy-ing army golf style left and right between bunkers and water hazards each day.  It’s rare to see his robot-like swing fall out of sorts, and he certainly has the ability to turn things around quickly, but I don’t see that happening this week…and if Henrik is going to be relying on his putter to bail him out of his ball-striking mess?  Yowza.  #WeekendOff

Cameron Tringale
Cameron Tringale– Cam’s recent results look frightening to say the least, as he’s MC Hammered in 3 of his past 4 events, with the other being a t-68th.  Well, that t-68th was at Riviera, where he was playing very solid the first 3 days—72, 66, 70— only to shoot 80 on Sunday and balloon out of contention.  So, recent form is not that far off.  The most important note here is that he’s 4 for his last 4 at the Copperhead Course, with 3 top 25s, including a solo 3rd in 2013.  Cameron Tringale is your Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week!


Joel Harrington

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