GOLF guru Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) analyses the runners and riders ahead of the Valspar Championship.
Valspar Championship | Thursday-Sunday | Sky Sports 4
Whilst not great from a betting perspective, what a wonderful final round at Doral on Sunday. As is now almost customary, Rory took a four-shot lead into the final 18 holes and after breezing through the first third of the round with his lead intact, blew it big time. Again.
There is a huge bias on my part in regards to the Northern Irishman but he is mentally fragile right now and although he does not take part here, I would not advise backing him at any point in the near future.
On to this week then and the Valspar was the only PGA Tour event we did not cover in the regular season last year. I was travelling across India this time in 2015 as Jordan Spieth won a play-off against Sean O’Hair and the never to be mentioned again in this column, Patrick Reed.
The third event in the Florida Swing is once again being held at the Copperhead Course, Palm Harbour – not far from Tampa for those that know Florida. 7,340 yards of prime real estate plays a par-71.
After last week on what is rightfully known as the Blue Monster, we are back to the kind of course that gives everyone a chance, rather than just the bombers.
Copperhead is a traditional, technical type of track and will reward driving accuracy far more than simple length off the tee. The course suits those who can plot their way around.
Players who feature high in strokes gained tee to green or scrambling are the type to concentrate on here. Despite four par-5s and four par-3s of almost 200 yards, those who can hit fairways and greens will ultimately triumph.
There is no better proof of the need for technical ball strikers than the fact that Luke Donald and Jim Furyk have won around here in recent years.
Jason Dufner was my first shout on Twitter yesterday. The bits of 50/1 have gone now but 40/1 (Bet365) is still very tempting.
Since his win at the CareerBuilder Challenge in February, ‘The Duff’ has gone along well. He finished nicely at Doral and 11th-place was easily the best of the shorter hitters.
His form around here is excellent and we should certainly get a run for our money, which is all you ever want from a 40/1 bet.
Seven top-30s in his eight starts here show a liking for Copperhead and the new slimmed down Dufner seems to have finally rid himself of those misses from inside five-feet.
I almost added Graeme McDowell to my ‘Sergio List’ of players not to be backed again but I have been quietly impressed with his 2016 form. The Florida native will find that Copperhead rewards his arrow straight driving.
McDowell is top quality around the greens and his putting stroke looks in fine nick. In fact, his driving has improved to a point where he ranked second and fourth at the last two PGA events; neither of which really suited his game.
If only McDowell could take that incredibly annoying American twang away – you’re from Hollywood, Northern Ireland mate, not California. Yes, I go off players for the smallest things. Don’t tell me you don’t!?
‘G-Mac’ (and don’t get me started on THAT) is in this week at 40/1 (Bet365). Don’t let me down, mate.
The last pick or two is really difficult. Kevin Na? I have been banned by regular WLB contributor Will Dyer (@w2dyer) and my pal Julian Betts (@bettsjulian) from ever picking him again, so it’s on you two if he comes good here.
Sean O’Hair delivered a 90/1 place for me in 2015. Gary Woodland has course form here and is hard to ignore but I’m not sure 50/1 is value. Meanwhile, Freddie Jacobson has three top-5 finishes from six starts at Copperhead and he is exactly the type of player you would look for in this event.
Jacobson is one of the very best in the world on and around the greens so I really cannot resist 70/1 (Sportingbet) as an each-way betting proposition. He just makes all kinds of sense. Family issues mean you can ignore most of Jacobson’s 2015 form and he featured well in the opening events of 2016.
If you are looking for 1st Round Leader then Freddie, Kevin Na , Jason Kokrak and Stuart Appleby are exactly the type you want. They are the kind of golfers that can easily go round in 62 or 82 and often those lightning rounds come very early.
Finally, a reminder of some outstanding ante-post prices for the 2016 Majors; Adam Scott is the best player in the world on form right now.
Clearly Scott plays Augusta well – has form at The Open and this year’s US Open and USPGA will suit. He’s 33/1 (Paddy Power) to finish in the Top 10 for all four and that is outstanding, as is 8/1 (Paddy Power) for a full house of Top 20 finishes.
Valspar Championship – Jason Dufner to win (40/1 each-way Bet365)
Valspar Championship – Graeme McDowell to win (40/1 each-way Bet365)
Valspar Championship – Freddie Jacobson to win (70/1 each-way Sportingbet)
Adam Scott to finish in the top-10 of all four majors (33/1 Paddy Power)
Adam Scott to finish in the top-20 of all four majors (8/1 Paddy Power)
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