PALM HARBOR, Fla. — The Valspar Championship makes its return to Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course after last year was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ten of the top 30 players in the world are teeing it up this week — that includes number one Dustin Johnson (2020 Masters champion) and number two Justin Thomas (2021 Players champion).
“They always get a pretty good field here at Tampa,” Johnson said. “I like the golf course here. That’s mostly the reason I play. It’s a good challenging golf course.”
The Copperhead Course does have its challenges, but there aren’t too many courses better suited for Justin Thomas’ game. The course rewards quality iron play more than anything else, and that’s where Thomas excels.
“The golf course is right in front of you,” Thomas said. “It’s not anything that is tricked up. Not anything that is hidden. It’s all right there. You see the narrow fairway out there and you got to hit it. If you don’t, you get out of position for you trying to make a par. The greens are small and severe.”
Thomas is the odds-on favorite to win at 9-1, but Johnson is right there at 11-1.
“It’s a great test, I like golf courses like that,” Thomas said. “But at the same time you can’t slap it around. You need to be playing well and have control of your ball.”
Also in the year’s field is Paul Casey, who won the last two Valspar Championships. The first round tees off on Thursday morning.