The PGA’s best will try to avoid the sting of the Copperhead Course this weekend in Palm Harbor, Florida, as the Valspar Championship gets underway with defending champion John Senden among the players to watch.
The Australian fired a 7-under 277 to win the event a year ago; the first man from down under to take the tournament since it started as the Tampa Bay Classic in 2000.
There are three trios in particular who will have most of the attention on them for the first two rounds, the first of which is comprised of Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose, and Matt Kuchar. Rose has had the slowest start of the three, but has finished twice in three starts here.
Fresh off his win two weeks ago at the Honda Classic, Padraig Harrington, in his 40s, takes the course with World No. 4 Adam Scott, who is in his 30s, and Jordan Spieth, who is in his 20s. Scott made a push late to finish fourth at the WGC-Cadillac Championships last week, to clamber back up to No. 4 in the world, while Spieth has three Top 10 finishes this year already.
Two international players looking to break out of winning slumps will team with American Patrick Reed, who won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions earlier this year. Ernie Els hasn’t won since his 2012 conquest of The Open Championship, and has failed to win nine straight tournaments in which he led after 54 holes. Henrik Stenson did not record a win on the PGA part of the globe in 2014 after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship and the Tour Championship in 2013.