Valspar Championship – Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Florida
7,340 yards – Par 71 – TifEagle Bermudagrass overseeded with Poa Trivialis

Tournament Stimpmeter: 11 to 12 feet … Average Speed
Green Sizes: 7,500 sq. feet … Large by the numbers but golfers say they are small
Strength of Field Rating: ~350 … Average Field Strength
Course Architect: Lawrence Packard (1971)

Fairways Hit (Field Average): ~62% … Average Fairway Difficulty
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): ~62% … Harder-than-Average Greens to Hit
Driving Distance (Field Average): ~270 yards … Less-than-Driver Course
Course Difficulty (Relative to Par): +0.77 … Hard Course (Very difficult when wind picks up)
*Numbers since 2010

Average Wind Speed: 14.75 MPH … Windy Event
Average Temperature: 78 degrees … Average Temperatures

Tournament Angles

#1 Hard-to-Hit Greens
#2 Hard Courses
#3 Windy Rounds

#5 Less-than-Driver Courses
#6 Florida Courses

Previous Winners

2016: Charl Schwartzel -7 over Bill Haas in a playoff
2015: Jordan Spieth -10 over Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair in a playoff
2014: John Senden -7 over Kevin Na -6
2013: Kevin Streelman -10 over Boo Weekley -8
2012: Luke Donald -13 over Robert Garrigus, Sangmoon Bae, Jim Furyk in a playoff
2011: Gary Woodland -15 over Webb Simpson -14
2010: Jim Furyk -13 over K.J. Choi -12

54-Hole Leaders

2016: Bill Haas -8
2015: Ryan Moore -9
2014: Robert Garrigus -8
2013: Kevin Streelman, Justin Leonard, George Coetzee -6
2012: Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen -11
2011: Justin Rose -13
2010: Jim Furyk -11

36-Hole Leaders

2016: Will MacKenzie, Steve Stricker -5
2015: Brendon de Jonge -6
2014: Robert Garrigus -7
2013: Shawn Stefani -7
2012: Jason Dufner -10
2011: Chris Couch, Garrett Willis -9
2010: Padraig Harrington -8

Important Interview Quotes

Q. You’ve had kind of mixed success here. Finished in the Top-5 in the past and the past couple of years have been struggles.
Is this a course that you feel like when you get off to a good start it suits your game?
I like it because I hit it straight and you have to hit it straight here. I flight the ball and I have to flight it here because of the wind. My caddy and I went down to see Mr. Toski, got a lot of good work last week. Had a lot of good short game work at my club at the Floridian last week. Got to be patient. -2016

Q. I heard Webb say he likes this course because it feels like the Carolinas. Do you have a similar affinity for this course because of that?
The east coast of Florida, Miami and West Palm this is complete — completely different than there. I prefer this — like growing up like he’s saying, I prefer this type of tree-lined, not just wide open which it seems like if you push one left, right wind, it’s 40 yards, 50 yards right.

Here you can kind of work your way through the course. But, again, if you get off line, these trees can — you know it plays really narrow out there with some of these big adult trees. -2016

Q. How did the tournament treat you, Bill? What’s your feeling about this place?
Fantastic. I love the area. Inside the gates here it’s just pure golf. We’re playing the best golf course we play in Florida and it’s probably in the Top-5, Top-10 courses we play on Tour.

So, certainly we love to see the greens get a little healthier. That’s just the nature of growing grass. You never know. And they did the best they could with what they had. I liked them. I putted fine on them. I can’t complain about them.

But the layout of the golf course is one of the best we play and you’re seeing it with 7-under winning. Whistling Straits, 1-under won and you got a place here in Florida right off Highway 19 that’s taking 7-under to win. The place here should be pretty proud. -2016

Q. Conditions this morning, the breeze was up for you. What do you need to do well around this course?
You got to hit your long irons well because you’re going to have a few of them coming into in par-4s and par-5s. I’m used to South Florida, born and raised. It gets windy out there. Just do the same thing I’m doing. -2016

Q. How many times have you played here?
Probably a thousand. I get on it as much as I can. They stay pretty busy out here. The golf course is phenomenal and lot of resort guests want to play it so it stayed pretty busy but I would always get out here around 4, 5:00 in the afternoon, grab a cart and get out and play a few holes. -2016

Q. And the course, tell us how she’s playing.
It’s tough, very tough. This wind makes it — makes it difficult. The fairways are firm so you really have to be shaping it the right way coming into those fairways. Most often than not the wind is going in the opposite direction. You have to hit some good golf shots out there. -2016

Q. You played here a bunch as a junior and amateur?
Played two, I think — I played three junior events here, Southern Amateur here and last year. -2016

Q. We’ve seen you on the leaderboard on the Tour. Do you feel the win is getting close?
I feel this is a golf course I can do it on. You can’t fake it around this place. You have to be hitting it solid. It’s all about rolling in a few putts. It’s a little bit hard to make anything outside much of 10, 15 feet because the greens are slower than what we’re used to. Going to the weekend trying to get the ball to the hole. I finally did that on 15, which made a long one. -2016

Q. This golf course is a ball striker’s course. You’ve been one of the better ball strikers on Tour. You got to be licking your chops coming here. Let me putt a little bit.
Exactly. I feel like this is a good golf course for me for sure. You can’t make it around this place, you have to be hitting it solid. Coming into the greens you got to hit it kind of in the right spot, not quite as much this year because they’re not as fast as they normally are.

I fell like this is a good golf course for me to get my first win. -2016

Q. The resurfacing of the greens. What were they like out there today?
The greens probably need another year to be really good. The fairways were unbelievable in comparison to last year. We picked up a lot of mud balls. The fairways are unreal. The conditioning of the course is a major improvement. Hopefully a lot better for many years to come with Valspar. -2016

Q. On a windy day, this golf course with a clean card, that’s really being in control.
When we started it was blowing pretty good and there’s — yeah, there’s no way I thought we would get out there without any bogies. I think towards the end the wind calmed a bit. We probably got the better end of the draw today. It’s not usual that the wind lays down sometime in the afternoon here but today I think it did a little bit. -2016, R1

MARK STEVENS: Henrik Stenson, going to make your first start here at the Valspar Championship. Just completed the Pro-Am. Kind of give your opinion on the course and your thoughts coming into the week.
Yeah. It’s always good to come to see new places, new courses and I think this one will suit my game pretty well if I can play well.
It’s a course where you position yourself off the tee quite a lot, you have to lay back unless you really want to try and thread a few of the tee shots out there.
So, quite a few 2-irons and 4-woods, 3-woods off the tee and little bit longer irons into the greens which are pretty small and kind of sits at an angle towards you quite a lot so you want to try to keep it underneath the hole because I can only imagine the kind of quick putts you can get if you end up in the wrong place or chipping from the wrong place. -2015

Q. Coming from a difficult golf course last week to this week do you change your game plan at all because of the style of play is so much different?
Yeah. It’s a bit of a relief. It’s not as much water around the greens and you don’t have to be as — I mean Doral with those crosswinds and you just know if you wing it a little bit, you let one go in the wind it’s going to go swimming.
It a little bit easier in that sense. But then again you got to keep the ball in the right place here because you can get some slick putts and if you miss it on the wrong side, it’s going to be tough.
But there’s definitely little bit more leeway. You can stand on an approach shot with a 5-iron, I want to hit it here but if it doesn’t quite work out it’s fine if the wind just takes it a bit more in that spot to the left of the green there I got a fairly easy chip. -2015

Q. Do you enjoy a course like this where you leave the driver in the bag on some holes?
Yeah, certainly. The driver was out — I felt like I hit driver — the ball is not rolling through the fairways right now. For whatever reason, it’s a little softer out there. You actually hit driver on some holes. We were going over that. You can hit driver — depending on which direction the wind is coming from, you either hit a lot of drivers or hardly hit any.
Yeah, something that’s challenging. The course plays longer than the yardage, no doubt about it. But I enjoy the challenge. You really have to be in the fairway out here and so whatever it takes to put it there, whether it’s driver or you got to go back to a hybrid or 2 iron. -2015

Q. With this tournament being in the middle of the Florida swing, just less than a month before The Masters, do you feel like this tournament, that could really jump start somebody’s year, especially some of the lesser known players like the past couple years?
I think so, definitely. This course, like I just mentioned, it’s a very difficult golf course compared to if — on a scale, it’s definitely tougher than average.
If you see guys that come out and play well here, they’re likely to play well on the harder courses and the bigger tournaments just because that kind of course suits their game more, I guess.
You have to work the ball both ways here. It requires all sorts of shots, punch shots, launching it in the air and obviously some discipline on the greens. -2015

Q. This course is a ball striker’s golf course. When somebody says that, what does that mean to you guys?
Well, it can mean two things. Very tough to hit fairways and greens, or it can mean that the greens are not as severe.
I think both are kind of true here. The greens aren’t very severe here. They’re grainy and certainly they can be very quick in certain places where they can put pins but they’re not going to be greens where you really, really worry too much about your speed control. You can be aggressive putting out here which is nice. -2015

Q. John, it seems like the history of this tournament there’s a lot of veteran players have won it, guys in their late 30s or 40s, whatever, including yourself.
Does it take a sense of maturity to go around this course for four rounds?
I think so. I think you need to play pretty solid golf to do well around here because it’s narrow in spots, the greens are smaller. You know, it’s a very strategic golf course.
I think you see players that say the veteran players win around here because it’s not totally a bomber’s golf course. Doral probably is. This place is not. It’s narrow. It’s different. It’s got sort of shorter golf holes than, say, Doral.

You can actually — if you’re smart around here you can actually do really well. If you try to sort of tear it apart by bombing it, it’s much more narrow than probably Doral. Doral visually looks — all you see is the bunkers. Here you see more tree line. Even if you do lay it back a little bit here you can still score well. -2015

Q. Shawn, another really solid round of golf. You like this golf course, don’t you?
For some reason it kind of fits my eye. I like golf courses with trees that are lining the fairways and stuff. It’s just got a good feel to it. You got the big oaks with the moss and stuff, just kind of, you know, gives me good vibes so I like it here and it’s a nice to get off to a good. -2015

Q. Kevin, obviously you’ve done a great job last couple of days playing well. What is it about this golf course that you just seem to love so much?
Suits my eye really well off the tee. I putted really well here. I kind of watched an old tape from the final two rounds when I had last two weeks off and kind of remembered something I was doing in my putting that week and kind of clicked this week as well. Keep giving myself looks. Have a chance on Sunday. -2015

Q. Do you like the layout of this course?
I love it. You got to hit a lot of different types of tee shots and you can hit a variety of shots in the greens and, like I said yesterday, it’s just really demanding. It expects everything out of your game.
This is a course that you can hit some really good shots and you get some bad breaks and, you know, being in the rough on — around the greens and you got to have everything. You got to have your short game and got to have a putter and that’s what I love. I love tough courses like this. It brings out in the best in me, I think. -2015

Q. What is it about the golf course that’s so — being an ex player, I’m not a Florida fan at all. This golf course is the best by far. It might be in the Top-5 on the entire PGA TOUR even though it’s top in Florida.
What is it that you like so much about it?
I think it’s shot playability. You hit everything from 4-iron to driver off the tees, shape them both directions.
You have par-5s you can go for and some you lay back. You’ve got par-3s. You have to be so exact where you leave it. There’s no let up out there and so — but it’s very fair at the same time. -2014

Q. What is it about this place? Why does it feel comfortable for you?
I just think the layout is great. It’s a ball striker-type golf course. I think that you need to work the ball both ways off the tees and be smart. Trees overhang some of the sides of the fairways and so you really need to be able to work the ball around and hit them high and low.
I know tomorrow we’re going to get some 20, 30-mile an hour winds so it’s going to play difficult and the greens out here are tricky. They don’t seem very difficult to putt on but the slight, little subtle grain changes make all the difference in speed and lines. -2014

Q. I think you won the Southern Amateur here, right? What do you remember about that week?
I was staying with one of my buddies from high school, and we had a great week. I guess I just graduated from college. I remember shooting 66 in the last round to win. I’ve had some good memories from this golf course. I finished 7th last year. It’s treated me well. -2014

Q. Woodland won here, you played-off here and now you lead the bomber as it relates to the Copperhead course.
Is it because you can hit a lot of 3-irons off the tee?
That plays a little bit into it. The week Woodland won he made everything inside of ten feet. I’m doing the same thing. I’ve missed a couple. I’m rolling the putts in I’m supposed to roll in.
I’m thinking well and that’s a huge deal when you have a golf course that is very difficult, the tee shots are very hard. You got a lot of crosswinds, the wind is swirling, stuff like that.
I can hit 3-iron a lot but you also got to make the putts. -2014

All quotes from unless otherwise noted.

Tournament Notes

2016: Course received an overhaul before the 2016 edition, with all 18 greens being relaid with TifEagle Bermuda. Golfers noted they played much slower than in years past, and many had troubles adjusting to the speeds.

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