2019 Valspar Championship Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Slapped onto the end of Florida Swing, following a slew of top tier events like the WGC-Mexico, The Honda Classic, Arnie’s event and The PLAYERS Championship 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.  I attended this tourney just a few year’s back and loved every minute of it.

First, the course—Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course—is one of the most difficult par 71s in a non-major year after year, averaging roughly 1 stroke over par per round. At 7,340 yards it’s not overly long and somewhat uniquely does have four par 5s (rare for a par 71). With thread-the-needle tee shots and consistently firm, fast greens, it’s one of the Tour’s most demanding tracks.

My picks last week at The PLAYERS Championship cooled off, as Lockzilla Brooks Koepka and Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week Kevin Kisner both made the cut, but disappointed finishing t-56th and t-22nd, respectively.  Semi-Flier Adam Hadwin (badly) missed the cut, although I did spot on nail Justin Thomas as my Hosel-Rocket BUST of the week as he tried his hardest to miss the cut, pull-yanking a 4 footer on 18th green late Fri afternoon, which at the time put him outside the cut line, only to have the cut move later down to -1, slipping him into the weekend.  But, he struggled on Saturday and Sunday (as predicted) and finished at t-35th, well out of contention.  Time to restart a new hot streak this week.

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

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Koepka t-56th)

Jon Rahm– The young Spaniard spazzed out on the back 9 on Sunday at The PLAYERS, splish-splashing his way to a t-12th finish with a Sunday 76 (his 2nd shot on hole 11 on Sunday was one of the most bizarre, idiotic shots I’ve seen from a player in contention on a Sunday in a long, long time).  It’d be easy to think he could equally implode this week on a course with tricky greens and water hazards galore, but I’m going the opposite route and am hopping aboard as he’s one of the most talented players in the field and may be under-owned this week with the aforementioned blow-ups last week and no course experience here.  Saddle up to the Spaniard this week and thank me later.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Hadwin MC)

Kevin Kisner

Kevin Kisner– Yep, I’m back aboard the Kisner train.  It’s funny how I was admittedly disappointed with his t-22nd last week, as most of the week he was hovering around the top 10, before a weak weekend.  Kis should fly under the radar here as he hasn’t been here since 2015 (t-60th), and it’s just his third appearance here overall.  But, I’m staying aboard the guy who has delivered 5 straight finishes in the t-22nd to t-28th place range.  Remarkable consistency, just needs a break here and there and a few putts to fall on the weekend and he’ll be right there come Sunday.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Thomas t-35th)

Dustin Johnson– The most talented player in the field could put the pedal down and win this tourney by half a dozen if he really wanted to, but I see the motivation seriously lacking as he likely added this event just to satisfy the tour’s new event rules (I’m just speculating on that).  Mightily struggled with his putting at The PLAYERS last week and on a course with mighty slick, small and undulating greens where he hasn’t been on the property in nearly a decade (2010) I see the motivation lacking and a short week for DJ.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: Kisner t-22nd)

Nick Watney– A perfect 10/10 here in his career, including a t-14th just two years ago in 2017, along with a t-13th in ’11 and a solo 4th in ’10.  Watney may not be the player that he used to be, but he’s 8/11 in cuts made this season and likely will bet extremely under-owned this week for an event where he’s never failed to make the weekend.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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