2021 Valspar Championship Primer: History, TV, Field, Odds

Justin Thomas at Valspar Championship
Justin Thomas tosses his ball to his caddie on the 18th green during the third round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course on March 12, 2016 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

After week of team play in New Orleans, the PGA Tour returns its regular format of individual stroke play, and heads east, from New Orleans to the Tampa area, for the 20th edition of the Valspar Championship – the fifth and final Florida stop on the season.

Considering its less than ideal spot on the calendar, the field at the acclaimed Innisbrook Resort is surprisingly solid, featuring ten of the top-30 ranked players in the world, and seven of the top-20, headlined by Nos. 1 and 2, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, respectively.

The other top-20 stars competing against DJ and JT at the Copperhead course include No. 7 Patrick Reed, Tyrrell Hatton (8), Viktor Hovland (15), Sungjae Im (19), and No. 20 Paul Casey, the two-time defending champion.

Major winners Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen, Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett, Justin Rose, and Gary Woodland are some of the other familiar names.

As we do each week, here’s a round up of information and historical data to get you prepped for what’s ahead at the 2021 Valspar.


2021 Valspar Championship

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The Valspar Skinny

Paul Casey Wins 2019 Valspar Championship
Paul Casey celebrates on the 18th green after winning the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Golf Resort on March 24, 2019 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Name: Valspar Championship
Tour Debut: 2000
First Name: Tampa Bay Classic
Title Sponsor: Valspar Paint
Dates: Apr 29-May 2, 2021
Where: Palm Harbor, Fla.
Course: Innisbrook (Copperhead)
Distance: Par 71, 7209 yards
Architect: Larry Packard
Format: 72-holes, Stroke play
Field: 144 Players (36-hole cut)
Purse: $6,700,000
Winning Share: $1,206,000
FedExCup/OWGR Pts: 500/60
Trophy: Bronze Paint Brush/Golf Ball (Malcolm DeMille)
Defending Champion: Paul Casey


How to Follow the Valspar Championship

Austin Cook
Austin Cook hits his third shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Golf Resort on March 23, 2019 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Valspar Championship History

The name has had a number of changes, but the PGA Tour event contested on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort has been a regular part of the Tour schedule since its inception more than 20 years ago.

2000 Tampa Bay Classic
The leaderboard at the 2000 Tampa Bay Classic at Innisbrook Resort in October. (Photo by Chad Spencer/PGA TOUR Archive via Getty Images)

Founded in 2000 as the Tampa Bay Classic, the tournament was an alternate event for its first two editions, and slotted in the fall portion of the schedule.

In its debut, it was contested opposite the Presidents Cup (October 2000), and then the same week as the WGC-American Express Championship in September 2002. (The 2001 event was canceled following the September 11 attacks as it was set to be played Sep. 13-16.)

In 2003 it was given a promotion to full event status, and was scheduled ahead of the season-ending Tour Championship – this was before the launch of the FedExCup playoffs, and wrap-around schedule.

Vijay Singh Wins 2004 Chrysler Championship
Vijay Singh poses with the trophy after a five-stroke victory at the Chrysler Championship on October 31, 2004 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

In 2007, the season which launched the FedExCup, the Valspar (then PODS Championship) was moved to March and inserted in the Florida Swing, a spot it held down until this season, when it was left out of the annual Sunshine State series.

Valspar, an international manufacturer of paint and coatings, based out of Minneapolis, has been the title sponsor since 2014.

Past winners have included such names as Vijay Singh, Jordan Spieth, Charl Schwartzel, Luke Donald, Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, K.J. Choi, and most recently Paul Casey.

History: Tournament Names
  • Valspar Championship (2014-21)
  • Tampa Bay Championship presented by Everbank (2013)
  • Transitions Championship (2009-12)
  • PODS Championship (2007-08)
  • Chrysler Championship (2003-06)
  • Tampa Bay Classic presented by Buick (2002)
  • Tampa Bay Classic (2000-01)
History: Tournament Months

The tournament has been played in the month of:

  • September (2002) Alternate WGC-Amex
  • October (2000) Alternate Presidents Cup
  • Late Oct (2003-06) Lead-in to TOUR Championship
  • March (2007-19) Florida Swing
  • April (2021)
History: Recent Winners

2019: Paul Casey (-8)
2018: Paul Casey (-10)
2017: Adam Hadwin (-8)
2016: Charl Schwartzel (-7)
2015: Jordan Spieth (-10)
2014: John Senden (-7)
2013: Kevin Streelman (-10)
2012: Luke Donald (-13)
2011: Gary Woodland (-15)

History: Tournament Records

Wins:
2 – Paul Casey (2018, 2019)
2 – Retief Goosen (2003, 2009)
2 – K.J. Choi (2002, 2006)

Scoring:
266 (-18) Vijay Singh (2004)


Valspar Defending Champion

Paul Casey shot a final-round 72 at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course to repeat at the Valspar Championship.

Paul Casey Wins Valspar Championship
Paul Casey poses with the trophy after winning the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course on Mar 24, 2019 in Palm Harbor, FL. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Casey finished his final day in Palm Harbor, Florida with four birdies against five bogeys to settle in at 8-under par, one clear of Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Kokrak.

The win was Casey’s third of his PGA Tour career, two of which occurred in the past year – both at Innisbrook.

Final Top-5 Finishers

Pos-Player-Score (Final Rd)
1. Paul Casey -8 (+1)
2. Louis Oosthuizen -7 (-2)
2. Jason Kokrak -7 (E)
4. Bubba Watson -6 (-3)
4. Sungjae Im -6 (-1)


The Course: Innisbrook’s Copperhead

One of four championship tracks at Innisbrook Resort, Copperhead is the host course for the tournament, annually checking in as one of the very toughest on the PGA Tour schedule.

The Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor Florida. (Getty Images)

The course features tree-lined plush fairways with elevation changes you normally don’t find in the Sunshine State. In fact, with its tall Pines and rolling terrain, the course has more of a Carolina feel than Florida. Its layout stretches some 7,200 yards for the tour pros.

12-time PGA Tour winner, and current NBC Golf Analyst, Paul Azinger, once said, “Copperhead is the best course we play on tour.”

Holes: 18 | Par: 71 | Yards: 7209 | Slope: 142 | Rating: 75.9


Valspar Championship Field

The field for the Valspar Championship this week includes five players ranked in the current top 20 in the Official Golf World Rankings, headlined by No. 1 Dustin Johnson and No. 2 Justin Thomas, and anchored by two-time defending champion Paul Casey (No. 20).

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson tees off on the 17th hole during the second round of the Valspar Championship on Mar 22, 2019 at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, FL. Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Other top-30 ranked players include Patrick Reed (7), Tyrrell Hatton (8), Viktor Hovland (15), Scottie Scheffler (21), Ryan Palmer (27), and Abrahma Ancer (30).

In addition to Casey, former Valspar winners in the field include K.J. Choi (2006), Sean O’Hair (2008), Gary Woodland (2011), Luke Donald (2012), Kevin Streelman (2013), Charl Schwartzel (2016), and Adam Hadwin (2017).

Other marquee names include: Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen, and Ian Poulter, among others.

Odds to Win: 2021 Valspar Championship
1. Dustin Johnson (10-1)
2. Justin Thomas (11-1)
3. Paul Casey (14-1)
3. Patrick Reed (14-1)
5. Tyrrell Hatton (16-1)
5. Viktor Hovland (16-1)


The Road to the Valspar Championship

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson tees off on the 18th hole during the second round of the Valspar Championship on Mar 22, 2019 at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, FL. Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How The Field Qualified for the 2021 Valspar Championship

Winner U.S. Open
Dustin Johnson (2016)
Gary Woodland (2019)
2015-2020 Winners Qualified

Winner PGA Championship
Justin Thomas (2017)
Jimmy Walker (2016)
2015-2020 Winners Qualified

Winner Masters Tournament
Patrick Reed (2018)
Danny Willett (2016)
2015-2021 Winners Qualified

Winner The Open Championship
Zach Johnson (2015)
Henrik Stenson (2016)
2015-2019 Winners Qualified

Winner WGC Event
Kevin Kisner (2019 Match Play)
Phil Mickelson (2018 Mexico)
Justin Rose (2017 HSBC)
Bubba Watson (2018 Match Play)
2017-21 Winners Qualfied

Winners – Invitational
Jason Dufner (2017 Memorial)
Tyrrell Hatton (2019 Arnold Palmer)
Max Homa (2021 Genesis)
2017-21 Winners Qualfied
Invitationals: Genesis Arnold Palmer, Memorial

Tournament Winners (2017-18 – 2020-21)
Ryan Armour (2017 Sanderson)
Keegan Bradley (2018 BMW)
Cameron Champ (2019 Safeway)
Paul Casey (2018 Valspar)
Corey Conners (2019 Valero)
Austin Cook (2017 RSM)
Tyler Duncan (2019 RSM)
Brice Garnett (2018 Corales)
Brian Gay (2020 Bermuda)
Branden Grace (2021 Bermuda)
Lanto Griffin (2019 Houston)
Jim Herman (2019 Wyndham)
J.B. Holmes (2019 Genesis)
Viktor Hovland (2020 Puerto Rico)
Charles Howell III (2018 RSM)
Sungjae Im (2020 Honda)
Sung Kang (2019 Byron Nelson)
Michael Kim (2018 John Deere)
Patton Kizzire (2018 Sony)
Russell Knox (2017 HSBC)
Satoshi Kodaira (2018 RBC)
Jason Kokrak (2020 CJ Cup)
Martin Laird (2020 Shriners)
Andrew Landry (2018 Valero)
Nate Lashley (2019 Rocket)
Adam Long (2019 Desert Classic)
Graeme McDowell (2019 Corales)
Troy Merritt (2018 Barbasol)
Keith Mitchell (2019 Honda)
Kevin Na (2019 Schwab)
Joaquin Niemann (2019 Greenbrier)
Carlos Ortiz (2020 Houston)
Ryan Palmer (2019 Zurich)
Pat Perez (2019 CIMB)
Scott Piercy (2018 Zurich)
J.T. Poston (2019 Wyndham)
Ted Potter, Jr. (2018 Pebble)
Ian Poulter (2018 Houston)
Andrew Putnam (2018 Barracuda)
Chez Reavie (2019 Travelers)
Brandt Snedeker (2018 Wyndham)
Hudson Swafford (2020 Corales)
Nick Taylor (2020 Pebble)
Martin Trainer (2019 Puerto Rico)
Kevin Tway (2018 Safeway)
Richy Werenski (2020 Barracuda)

Career Money Exemption
K.J. Choi
Luke Donald
Hunter Mahan
Steve Stricker
Bo Van Pelt

Sponsors Exemptions
Nick Watney (1)
Rafa Cabrera Bello (2)
Camilo Villegas (2)
John Augenstein (3)
Rasmus Hojgaard (3)
Sam Horsfield (3)
Chase Koepka (3)
1. 2018-19 FEC / Korn Ferry Category
2. Not Otherwise Exempt Category
3. Unrestricted Category

PGA Section Champion
Rod Perry

Past Valspar Champions
Adam Hadwin (2017)
Charl Schwartzel (2016)
2015-2019 Winners Exempted

Top 125 Prior Season FEC
Scottie Scheffler
Mackenzie Hughes
Abraham Ancer
Kevin Streelman
Byeong Hun An
Mark Hubbard
Danny Lee
Alex Noren
Russell Henley
Talor Gooch
Louis Oosthuizen
Robby Shelton
Doc Redman
Denny McCarthy
Henrik Norlander
Charley Hoffman
Xinjun Zhang
Sepp Straka
Cameron Tringale
Cameron Davis
Vaughn Taylor
Patrick Rodgers
Brian Stuard
Emiliano Grillo
Kyoung-Hoon Lee
Scott Harrington
Matthew NeSmith
Ryan Moore
Sam Ryder
Adam Schenk
Wyndham Clark
Sam Burns
Scott Brown
Beau Hossler
Lucas Glover
Luke List
Scott Stallings
Rory Sabbatini
Tom Lewis
Bo Hoag
William Gordon*
Erik van Rooyen*
* Top 125 (Nonmember)

Major Medical Extension
Chris Kirk
James Hahn
Kevin Chappell
Kevin Stadler
William McGirt
Sean O’Hair
Jamie Lovemark
Wesley Bryan
John Huh
Kelly Kraft
Jonas Blixt
D.A. Points

Top 125 FEC (2018-19)/Top Korn Ferry Tour
Peter Malnati
Brandon Hagy
Doug Ghim
Chase Seiffert
Anirban Lahiri
Kyle Stanley
Jhonattan Vegas
Cameron Percy
Rafael Campos
Michael Gligic
Kristoffer Ventura
Chesson Hadley
Kramer Hickok
Roger Sloan
Vincent Whaley
David Hearn
Joseph Bramlett
Rob Oppenheim
Hank Lebioda
Bronson Burgoon
Grayson Murray


Carey Hoffman contributed to this report.


Credits: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images, Golf Advisor


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