Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Outdoors

What you need to know about the Valspar Championship

After last year’s cancellation due to the coronavirus, 156 golfers will tee off Thursday in Palm Harbor to start the PGA Tour event.
Paul Casey acknowledges the crowd at the 18th green at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course during the third round of the 2019 Valspar Championship.
Paul Casey acknowledges the crowd at the 18th green at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course during the third round of the 2019 Valspar Championship. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Apr. 28
Updated Apr. 29

The Valspar Championship kicks off Thursday morning on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor. Here’s what you need to know about the annual PGA Tour event.

Schedule, TV info

The tournament runs through Sunday, with the first golfers slated to tee off at 6:55 a.m. for the first two rounds (Thursday and Friday). Tee times for the final two rounds (Saturday and Sunday) have not yet been released.

Those interested can watch the first two rounds on the Golf Channel from 2-6 p.m. The last two rounds will be split between the Golf Channel (1-3 p.m.) and CBS (3-6 p.m.).

A swollen gallery of fans surrounds Tiger Woods, left, as he makes a shot from the 16th tee while playing the Copperhead Course in 2018.
A swollen gallery of fans surrounds Tiger Woods, left, as he makes a shot from the 16th tee while playing the Copperhead Course in 2018. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD ]

Spectator guidelines

This year’s event will be played in front of a limited-capacity crowd.

Daily tickets, priced at $60, are still available for purchase online at the Valspar Championship site and allow spectator access to the grounds and public concession areas. Tickets will not be sold at the gate.

For $350, attendees can purchase the Snake Pit Hopper Ticket, which includes access to the tournament and Snake Pit Clubs. The hospitality venues are open-air and include a lunch buffet, hors d’oeuvres, desserts and a full-service bar. Thursday, however, is the only day available for purchase.

Per the tournament’s health and safety guidelines, all spectators are required to wear a facial covering unless actively eating or drinking. Upon entry, guests will have to complete a health screening. Concessions will have queue lines only.

Social distancing is encouraged, and those attending are prohibited from interacting directly with the golfers.

Paul Casey acknowledges the crowd at the 18th green at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course during the 2019 Valspar Championship.
Paul Casey acknowledges the crowd at the 18th green at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course during the 2019 Valspar Championship. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Valspar 2019 recap

England’s Paul Casey added “The Champ x2″ to his name after winning his second straight Valspar Championship in 2019.

Casey held off Jason Kokrak (also in this year’s field) and Louis Oosthuizen by a shot for a final-round score of 72 to finish at 8-under 276.

With last year’s tournament canceled due to the pandemic, Casey said he was excited to return to a great event.

“It does feel like forever (ago),” Casey said. “It feels like an extraordinary amount of time.”

Casey is one of three two-time Valspar tournament champions (joining K.J. Choi’s pair of victories in 2002 and 2006 and Retief Goosen, who won in 2003 and 2009). Casey is the only golfer to win the tournament in back-to-back years.

“This is really one of the most — for me — one of the best tournaments on the tour,” Casey said. “It’s a great golf course, great people, everything about it. It’s exciting that we’re finally here. I’m going for a three-peat.”

2016 Valspar Championship winner Charl Schwartzel, from South Africa, holds the championship trophy moments after defeating Billl Hass in an 18th-hole playoff.
2016 Valspar Championship winner Charl Schwartzel, from South Africa, holds the championship trophy moments after defeating Billl Hass in an 18th-hole playoff.

Other golfers to watch this weekend

Golfers like Dustin Johnson, No. 1 on the Official World Golf Ranking, and No. 2 Justin Thomas will try to prevent Casey from winning the event for a third straight year. Johnson and Thomas will be grouped together for the first two rounds.

This week, 19 players rank in the top 50. Joining Casey in the field are previous Valspar champions Charl Schwartzel (2016) and Gary Woodland (2011).

At the RBC Heritage on April 18, Johnson tied for 13th with a score of 10-under 274. Coming into this week, Johnson said he felt like he drove the ball really well, but his irons were a bit off.

“Obviously, the greens there are really small, but I felt like my iron game is one of my strengths,” he said. “And so I just need to clean that up a little bit, but overall I felt pretty good at the Heritage.”

Meanwhile, Thomas will try to improve on the 4-under 280 he shot in 2015, when he finished 10th. He noted the course is “a great test” but one that he enjoys playing.

“I love this tournament,” Thomas said. “I love this golf course. It’s just always in a tough time of the year schedule-wise.”

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.