The 2021 Valspar Championship returns after last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic. The tournament on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort moves from its schedule slot in March to the first weekend in May and runs alongside the Kentucky Derby. Valspar odds will have a familiar face near the top of the board.
Paul Casey returns as the two-time defending champion, and the world’s two top-ranked players Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas tee-it-up for the fourth time in the event.
2021 Valspar Odds
Dustin Johnson will be the favorite at less than +1000 with Justin Thomas a close second choice on the odds board. Paul Casey will be less than +2000 along with world No. 7 Patrick Reed, who finished runner-up here in 2018. Also near +2000 will be 2019 fourth place finisher and world No. 19 Sungjae Im. World No. 8 Tyrrell Hatton missed the cut in his only appearance in 2019. World No. 15 Viktor Hovland and No. 21 Scottie Scheffler make their tournament debut.
Notable Players in the Field
Phil Mickelson plays in the event for the first time since 2004, and the 50-year-old is joined by top-10 stars Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed and Tyrrell Hatton. Johnson finished T6 in 2019, and Thomas’ best finish is T10 in 2015. Patrick Reed tied for second in this event in both 2015 and 2018.
Top players in the field include: World Golf Ranking (OWGR)
- Dustin Johnson (No. 1)
- Justin Thomas (2)
- Patrick Reed (7)
- Tyrrell Hatton (8)
- Viktor Hovland (15)
- Sungjae Im (19)
- Paul Casey (20)
- Scottie Scheffler (21)
- Ryan Palmer (27)
- Abraham Ancer (30)
- Louis Oosthuizen (33)
- Jason Kokrak (36)
- Corey Connors (38)
- Justin Rose (40)
- Max Homa (41)
- Kevin Kisner (41)
- Carlos Ortiz (50)
- Russell Henley (56)
- Gary Woodland (57)
- Bubba Watson (60)
Valspar Championship Winners and Runner-ups:
- 2019 – Paul Casey (-8), Jason Kokrak, Louis Oosthuizen
- 2018 – Paul Casey (-10), Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods
- 2017 – Adam Hadwin (-14), Patrick Cantlay
- 2016 – Charl Schwartzel (-7), Bill Haas
- 2015 – Jordan Spieth (-10), Patrick Reed, Sean O’Hair
* The 2015 and 2016 events were won in a playoff
COURSE AND TOURNAMENT INFORMATION
- Course: Copperhead at Innisbrook Resort
- Location: Palm Harbor, FL
- Date: April 29 – May 2
- Par: 71 / Yardage 7,340
- Purse: $6.9 Million / Winner $1.2 M
- Fairways/Rough: Bermudagrass
- Greens: : Bermudagrass
- TV/Online: Golf Channel, CBS (Sat/Sun), PGA TOUR Live
- Twitter & Hashtag: @ValsparChamp
- Defending Champion: Paul Casey
Copperhead is not your typical Florida course, as there are plenty of elevation changes and dog legs along the rolling terrain. In 2015, the course just outside Tampa underwent a renovation that included regressing the entire course with Bermudagrass, reshaping all bunkers and rebuilding the greens. The winning scores since tell the story of difficulty, and in the last event in 2019, Copperhead averaged 0.981 strokes over par – which ranked as the third toughest golf course on the PGA TOUR that year. Copperhead rated as the sixth-most difficult course on the PGA TOUR in 2018.
The easiest holes are reachable par-5s at No. 1 and No. 11. There are five par-3s, and four of them rank in the top-seven hardest holes on the course. One of them is at No. 17, which is part of the difficult three hole closing stretch called ‘The Snake Pit’. The two closing par-4s rank as two of the highest bogey percentage holes on the course (22-25%). ‘The Moccasin’ at No. 16 is the hardest hole on the course and among the top-30 toughest par-4s on TOUR with water stretching the entire right side of the fairway.
A compelling course correlation would be TPC Southwind, where Dustin Johnson won in 2018 for the FedEx St. Jude, and Justin Thomas won in 2020 for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude. Another is Sedgefield CC for the Wyndham Championship, where Patrick Reed and Sungjae Im both finished top-10 last year.
The Copperhead course has typically been a test of iron play. Players that can shape the ball both ways with Ball Striking precision and approach play have the greatest chance for success. Golfers are forced to hit very narrow fairways that are lined with pine trees. So Accuracy from the tee is required to stay competitive at Copperhead, and Fairways Gained is a stat to put on your search list. Distance off the tee is not required, but patience and precision is a prerequisite. Look no further than short-hitting, determined veteran Jim Furyk, who is not in the field this year, but ranked top three in Strokes Gained: Approach, Around the Green, Ball Striking and and Tee-to-Green over his last 24 rounds at Copperhead. Two time defending champion Paul Casey is top five on approach over his last 16 rounds at Copperhead and top 20 across the board in other key strokes gained stats.
Two other players that will be longer odds with top-seven stats in Approach, Ball Striking and Tee-to-Green play are veterans Henrik Stenson and 2019 runner-up Jason Kokrak. This is a plodders course, and an improved player that has had success with strong putting and short game stats and solid approach play at Copperhead is Sam Burns, who has played in the event the last two editions and finished T12 in 2018. Kevin Kisner is among the very best in this field in Fairways Gained, and in his last 24 rounds overall, he ranks top 20 in Ball Striking, Approach and Putting. Louis Oosthuizen is another outsider who has top-10 stats on the course in Approach, Ball Striking and Tee-to-Green – all key Strokes Gained stats to evaluate when golf betting and looking to cash in at the Valspar Championship at Copperhead.