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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS Course History - 2022 Valspar Championship

Hello PGA DFS family and welcome back to Horse For The Course! I think we all knew that there would be some weather issues for THE PLAYERS Championship, but I don't know that we expected that. The "Fifth Major" turned into a brutal slog for golf fans, as the activities were marred by lengthy weather delays, lopsided draws, and finally, mercifully, a Monday finish. Eventually, Australian Cameron Smith emerged from the muddy conditions with a crystal-clean 66 in the final round that included an amazing 10 birdies, as well as the biggest victory of his promising career.

After a week that was a true grind, we quickly move to another challenging event...the Valspar Championship.

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history and is part of our free PGA DFS content here at RotoBaller. For my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. It's part of our amazing PGA Premium package that includes an all-new PGA Research Station, Lineup Builder & Optimizer, and some of the best articles in the PGA DFS industry! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE for an extra discount at checkout!

 

2022 Valspar Championship

My initial thoughts this week are still somewhat stuck in last week, as we almost have to believe what happened at TPC Sawgrass will impact the upcoming proceedings at the Valspar Championship. The Valspar is a tough tournament in its own right, and after a long and taxing weekend at THE PLAYERS, I wouldn't be surprised to see golfers withdrawing en masse on this short week. So, my initial advice would be to stay on top of news updates this week.

For those that do end up making the trek to Palm Harbor, Florida, a challenging task awaits, as the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort routinely ranks as one of the most difficult layouts on the PGA Tour schedule, which makes a victory at the Valspar something of a badge of honor among the pros.

Defending Valspar champion, Sam Burns, will be back to defend his title. As of now, he's set to face a cagey field of entrants that includes Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, and Xander Schauffele. If we want to factor in how things went down at THE PLAYERS, guys that missed the cut at Sawgrass might actually have a small advantage this week, as they were at least spared the marathon-like finish at Ponte Vedra. Let me reiterate...keep an eye out for breaking WDs throughout the week, as I suspect there will be more than a couple of guys that throw in the towel on the Valspar.

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!

 

The Course: Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead Course) 

Par 71 - 7,340 Yards, Greens: Bermuda w/ Poa overseed, Designed By: Larry Packard

Located in Palm Harbor, Florida, the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort is the type of course that could hold a PGA Championship next week and no one would raise an eyebrow. It is a quality golf course and one that routinely ranks as one of the most difficult on the PGA Tour schedule. Its many undulations are unique for a Florida course. Players in this field will face tight, tree-lined fairways, tough doglegs, and greens that are hard to hit.

They must also tackle 'The Snake Pit'...the Copperhead's daunting closing three-hole stretch. This is a less-than-driver course for the bombers, but there are four Par-5s for them to gun at. Interestingly, there are FIVE Par-3s on this layout, which almost forces us to look at something we rarely give much weight to in this article; Par-3 Scoring. As usual, ball striking is a trait we want to target, and the facet of the game I'm giving the most weight to this week. A players' short game and ability to scramble will also be tested this week.

Check out RotoBaller's PGA Premium Course Breakdown by Josh Bennett for an in-depth breakdown of this week's golf course!

 

Recent Valspar Championship Winners

  • 2021: Sam Burns (-17)
  • 2020: Canceled due to COVID-19
  • 2019: Paul Casey (-8)
  • 2018: Paul Casey (-10)
  • 2017: Adam Hadwin (-14)

 

Event Notes

  • Sam Burns' winning score of 17-under par last year was the second-lowest winning total in Valspar history.
  • Paul Casey is the event's all-time leading money winner with $2,483,491 in career earnings.
  • Casey won back-to-back Valspars in 2018-19.

 

The Horse

Paul Casey *Paul Casey Has Withdrawn*

Notable Course History: T21 (2021), Win ('19), Win ('18)
DraftKings Price: TBD FanDuel Price: TBD

No surprises here, as Paul Casey comes into this event both off an unbelievable run at TPC Sawgrass and as a two-time winner of the Valspar. The Englishman is the event's all-time leading money winner. Casey struggled in some early career starts in this event, but when the Copperhead Course finally clicked for him in 2018, it was in a big way, as he went on to win back-to-back titles in '18 & '19.

Based strictly on course history, the veteran is a no-brainer here. That said, it's fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank after the brutal marathon that was THE PLAYERS. The veteran put forth a classy effort en route to a third-place finish at Sawgrass. It's no surprise that his success was powered by his phenomenal iron play. Casey gained just over seven strokes on Approach last week. Remarkably, he's now gained strokes with his irons in every measured start since October of 2020!

That ball-striking ability has obviously served him well at Innisbrook. I suppose there are two ways we could view Casey this week...are we concerned about a letdown after coming up short in THE PLAYERS or do we think he carries some positive momentum from a strong finish into an event he loves? I'll lean toward the latter.

 

The Ponies

Viktor Hovland

Notable Course History: T3 ('21)
DraftKings Price: TBD FanDuel Price: TBD

Normally a player needs more than one start in an event to qualify for this article, but I'm making an exception for Viktor Hovland this week, as he brings white-hot form to a layout that is a terrific fit for him. If any of you are MCU fans, then you're probably familiar with the "multiverse". Well, it's not too difficult to imagine an alternate timeline where Vik comes into this event having won the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational, and THE PLAYERS Championship all in a row.  That's how good the young Norwegian is playing at the moment (and that's not even mentioning his not-so-long-ago wins at Mayakoba, the Hero Challenge, and Dubai), as he's gone T4-T2-T9 over his last three starts, all coming on difficult golf courses against elite fields.

Hovland's recent output has been due to his uber-elite ball-striking ability. The 24-year-old has been superhero-like from tee to green this year. He gained a herculean 9.5 strokes on Approach at TPC Sawgrass and has combined to gain an eye-popping 28.1 combined strokes T2G over his last three starts. Over his last 12 rounds, he leads this week's Valspar field in - are you ready for this? - SG: Total, T2G, Ball Striking, OTT, & Approach, as well as grading out first in DK Points scored. Simply put, this kid is on an epic heater at the moment and if he can solidify his short game just the tiniest bit, he'll be hoisting multiple trophies in the coming months.

Louis Oosthuizen

Notable Course History: T8 ('21), T2 ('19), T16 ('18), T7 ('16)
DraftKings Price: TBD FanDuel Price: TBD

I don't know that there's such a thing as a bad course fit when it comes to sweet swingin' Louis Oosthuizen, as the South African has proven himself adept at playing basically every type of layout. That said, Oosthuizen's Valspar record indicates that the Copperhead Course must be one of his favorite stops on the schedule.

Louis is the only player in this week's field that has gained more total strokes in this tournament than Paul Casey since 2016. He's logged top-eight finishes in three of his last four Valspar starts. The wheels undoubtedly came off the wagon for Oosty in the final round of THE PLAYERS, with a final-round 76 dropping into a T42, but let's keep in mind that he was actually right in the thick of the tournament heading into Monday afternoon. As I type this, my biggest concern with him this week is a WD, but if Louis does indeed tee it up in the Valspar, we have to love his track record both at Copperhead and on difficult golf courses as a whole.

 

Did you know RotoBaller has a Premium DFS PGA subscription?

Like what you read today? You can show your support for Joe by using the discount code NICE when purchasing a PGA Premium Pass. You get 10% off and full access to all of our Premium PGA articles, DFS tools, and Lineup Optimizer! You also get access to weekly betting picks from Spencer Aguiar, one of the top betting minds in the industry. Spencer is absolutely crushing out of the gate in 2022!

 

Abraham Ancer

Notable Course History: 5th ('21), T16 ('18)
DraftKings Price: TBD FanDuel Price: TBD

It's undeniably been a sluggish - and disappointing - start to the calendar year for Abraham Ancer, a player that was unbelievably consistent throughout 2021 and scored what felt like a breakout win at the WGC-St. Jude last August. Unfortunately, the Mexican didn't bring that momentum into 2022 and he's failed to log a top-25 in five PGA Tour starts this year.

However, his T33 in THE PLAYERS does offer some encouraging signs as he heads to a Copperhead golf course where he recorded a T5 last year and a T16 in his only other appearance in 2018. Ancer gained more strokes both T2G (+3.8) and on Approach (+2.8) at Sawgrass than he has in any other start this year. With his game appearing to finally be trending in the right direction, Ancer is a legitimate dark-horse contender this week at Innisbrook.

Russell Knox

Notable Course History: T21 ('21), T24 ('19), T16 ('18), MC ('17), T56 ('16)
DraftKings Price: TBD FanDuel Price: TBD

The often-erratic Russell Knox has been surprisingly consistent in the Valspar, posting top-25 finishes in three consecutive trips to Innisbrook. He heads to this year's edition in terrific form and with positive momentum off a huge T6 result at THE PLAYERS. His ball-striking was, unsurprisingly, crisp at TPC Sawgrass, as he gained an impressive 7.8 strokes T2G in the "Fifth Major". It marked the fourth consecutive start in which Knox has gained strokes T2G, OTT, and on Approach. That type of sharp ball-striking should once again serve him well on this week's tough Copperhead layout.

 

Win Big With RotoBaller

Golf is back, and it's time for you to win big with RotoBaller! Our PGA DFS Premium Package features several savvy analysts and proven DFS winners.

Our very own Joe Nicely recently took down a big DraftKings DFS tournament for the Travelers Championship. And as an encore, RotoBaller subscriber @tenndolly2 won $100K on FanDuel with the help of Joe and the rest of our Premium PGA team: Between all the incredible Premium PGA DFS content and tools we put out each week, and our Premium Slack Community where we chat with our subscribers before lineups lock, RotoBaller PGA subscribers are armed with the tools, analysis, and advice to win big.

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