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Is the Masters here yet? Valspar preview

Is the Masters here yet? Valspar preview

Another field of players will be in Florida yet again week, this time Tampa Bay, at Innisbrook Resort Copperhead  for the Valspar Championship, where presumably they all will be avoiding eye contact with the tackiest golf course statue on the PGA Tour. Or in the history of golf-related “art.”

snake pit

The PGA pros look to be taking the week off while readying for Arnold Palmer Invitational, the last of four consecutive Florida stops, then The Masters April 10-13.

Veteran PGA Tour player Jim Furyk, 25/1 odds, is the pick at the “Snake Pit.” He won it in 2010, came in second two years ago and is just ramping up his 2014 season now. Why not? He seems to actually likes Tampa, OK, technically Palm Harbor, Fla. And people who live in Tampa don’t like Tampa.

So, the next set of contenders would be FedEx top-5 ranked Harris English, who has one of the coolest names on the Tour. English has been in it for many of the past 17 tourneys and smacks the ball. Las Vegas bookmakers also have him at 20/1 at Copperhead, which is about as good as it gets in this field.

Without Furyk, I’d go with English. Harris English.

Matt Kuchar is getting 15/1 Vegas odds, the best available along with Jordan Spieth. Kuchar knows the overrated course well has been competitive at Copperhead and its unfortunately named Snake Pit stretch of holes in three out of the last five years.

Additionally, Kuchar played well last week at Miami’s “Blue Monster,” another fitting name for a sporting venue made up of gentle ponds, stone bridges, manicured grass and flower gardens.

Then there’s the phenom, Spieth, who’s come close at Copperhead before in his very young career, and is edging for  a win. Of course, he’s 20, so he’s probably edging for extra bacon at the breakfast buffet or to play Candy Crush in the golf cart.

Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champ, is on this list because he’s probably the best player at Innisbrook and as due as anyone. But even at 20/1, ya gotta wonder about the tendinitis.

That leaves the so-called sleeper, Luke Donald, another 20/1 bet, if you can call a former No. 1 ranked player in the entire planet dozy.

What is really missing from Valspar are the real names. No Tiger. No Lefty. No Rory. No Scott. No Bubba.

Doral’s WGC-Cadillac Championship surprise winner, Patrick Reed, most certainly is resting up with his other top-5 buddies for Arnie next week.

Other no-shows are those in-the-hunt challengers, like Dustin and Zach Johnson, Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel and Graeme McDowell.

With that in mind, that snake belongs to the likes of Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Jimmy Walker and Lee Westwood. Go, Westwood, go.

At least John Daly is there. That’s always… interesting? 

 

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