Best Bets at the 2021 Valspar Championship
The Valspar Championship doesn’t get the recognition it deserves in the eyes of the public and the media, but players are fully aware that this is one of the most challenging tournaments on the PGA Tour. Only one of the last seven winners has finished better than 10-under, and the last six iterations of this tournament have been decided by a single stroke. That has co-favorites Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas ready to test their mettle on the Copperhead Course just outside of Tampa.
Event: Valspar Championship
Category: PGA Tour
Date: April 29 – May 2, 2021
Location: Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, Palm Harbor, Florida
2019: Paul Casey -8
2018: Paul Casey -10
2017: Adam Hadwin -14
2016: Charl Schwartzel -7
2015: Jordan Spieth -10
In the 20 years that this tournament has been played, there have been three golfers that have claimed multiple titles. K.J. Choi was the first two-time winner, claiming the title in 2002 and 2006. Retief Goosen was the second two-time winner with victories in 2003 and 2009. Paul Casey joined them in the last edition of the Valspar Championship and became the first golfer to win this event in consecutive years. All three of those golfers are from outside the United States, and an American hasn’t won the Valspar Championship since Jordan Spieth did it in 2015.
The course record is held by Vijay Singh. Singh dominated the field in 2004 to finish 18-under. That was five strokes ahead of Jesper Parnevik and Tommy Armour III. Choi has the record for largest margin of victory after winning his first title by seven strokes in 2002.
There aren’t many courses more difficult than Copperhead on the PGA Tour. This is a par-71 with relatively small greens, and wind is usually a factor since it is close to the Gulf of Mexico. That was why the average round was almost a full stroke above par in 2019, making it one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour two years ago.
Don’t step away from the action late in the day. The last three holes have been dubbed “The Snake Pit”, and this is where hopes are fulfilled or dashed. The 16th and 18th are notoriously difficult for golfers, and many of the best golfers in the world struggle to make par.
Value Play to Win the Tournament: Justin Rose +3300
Justin Rose might be a perplexing pick at first glance. He has only played in four tournaments in 2021, and he wasn’t great at the WGC Workday Championship or the Arnold Palmer Invitational. However, Rose finished 7th at the Masters a few weeks ago, and he picked up a T11 finish at last week’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans. Although Rose has never won this tournament, he has finished T5 twice and T8 once in his last five appearances.
Top 5 Prop: Jason Kokrak +750
Kokrak also fits the bill as a non-American that has performed well here in recent years. He won the CJ Cup in October, and he had three straight T10 finishes at the WGC Workday Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and The PLAYERS Championship two months ago. Kokrak finished in second place in 2019, and he has two other T10 finishes in the last five years.