Golf Rankings for Valspar Championship
It's time for another Tour stop in Florida as we march slowly toward the Masters in April. This week we have a very thin Group A. It's almost a necessity to roster Jordan Spieth, but then there are a lot unattractive options. Group B has a lot of viable options and I'll probably roster two studs and then try to figure out higher upside plays. Group C will probably look similar for me with one stud and one contrarian play.
The tournament is the Valspar Championship held at the Innisbrook Resort on the Copperhead Course. Copperhead runs 7,340 yard and comes in at a par 71. We have another week of bermudagrass greens as well.
This is a long course, but is more punitive than the last two weeks. Bombers won't be able to overpower the course. The players will need to keep the ball in play and get out of trouble without too much damage when they do find the rough or sand. Copperhead has been one of the 10 hardest course on Tour each of the last three years.
The Valspar has been held only at Copperhead so course history can be relied on this week.
Our statistical focus this week is a bit different than weeks' past.
Par 4 Efficiency (400 – 450 yards): Six of the par 4s at Copperhead fall between 400 and 450 yards and two others are just over 450 yards (452 and 458 yards respectively). So, we're going to need scoring on par 4s this week and 80% of them fall into or come quite close to the 400 – 450 yard range. Bogey Avoidance (BA): It's back again, but holds more importance this week. There were only nine (9!) eagles all of last year at the Valspar. There just isn't a lot of room to make up for mistakes so we'll want to focus on players who can make pars.
Birdie or Better % (Fairway): Almost every golfer who does well here will score on the par 5s, so if you wanted to focus on par 3 and par 4 scoring instead, I'm OK with it. But, I'm going to look at scoring in general and focus on Birdie or Better Percentage. We'll drill down a bit into BOB% and look at BOB% from the fairway as we expect our top players to be in the fairway in order to succeed this week.
Proximity to the Hole (Prox): After getting to the fairway, we want players who can put it close to the hole so we can see them score.
Driving Accuracy: This is a tight course off the tee with danger off the fairway. We'll use this as our tiebreaker this week. In order to be successful, a golfer will need to keep the ball on the course off the tee.
We're still looking at last season's stats to start, but we are using the current season's stats to look at players who have improved over last year and could be hidden gems.
Finally, we examine Strokes Gained: Putting and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green each week.
As always, check back on the weather Wednesday to see the final forecast. This weekend it looks like weather won't be an issue even if there is a slight chance of rain on the weekend. The winds look like they won't be a problem either with nothing worse than the low-teens. Though, the winds can change at any time.
Jordan Spieth - World Ranking: #6
Henrik Stenson - World Ranking: #7
Patrick Reed - World Ranking: #17
Harris English - World Ranking: #105
Ryan Moore - World Ranking: #45
Matt Kuchar - World Ranking: #15
Graeme McDowell - World Ranking: #92
Webb Simpson - World Ranking: #62
Jason Dufner - World Ranking: #34
Danny Willett - World Ranking: #38
Charles Howell III - World Ranking: #70
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