Jordan Spieth defends the Valspar Championship

The World Number 1 will be looking for a repeat performance at Innisbrook

Jordan Spieth defends the Valspar Championship
Jordan Spieth defends the Valspar Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

World Number one Jordan Spieth defends the Valspar Championship this week over the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida.

Jordan Spieth defends the Valspar Championship in this, the third leg of the PGA Tour’s Florida Swing. A strong field will be looking to prevent the World Number 1 from winning again at Innisbrook. Among those on the start sheet are Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Danny Willett and Graeme McDowell.

Last year, Jordan Spieth used this event as a springboard for an incredible 2015 – After winning the Valspar in a playoff against Sean O’Hair and Patrick Reed, he went on to win The Masters and The U.S. Open. Spieth’s game has been a little off in the last few weeks and he’ll be hoping to re-find his best this time out.

Following his fine performance in last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship, where he finished in a tie for third, Danny Willett will come into this event full of confidence. The young Englishman has climbed to 11th on the Official World Golf Ranking and could break into the top-10 with a good result here.

Danny Willett Iron Play:

This tournament began life in 2000 as the Tampa Bay Classic. It’s also been known as the Chrysler Championship, the PODS Championship, the Transitions Championship and the Tampa Bay Championship. Two years ago, Valspar (a global provider of paints and industrial coatings) took over as title sponsor in a four-year agreement.

Over the seasons, the event has seen some notable champions: K.J. Choi, Retief Goosen, Mark Calcavecchia, Luke Donald and Jordan Spieth have all won here.

Designed by Larry Packard and opened in 1974, the Copperhead course at Innisbrook has played host to a number of PGA Tour events over the years. In 1999 the layout was revamped to bring it in line with the modern game. The redesign was completed just in time for the 1999 JCPenney Classic, an event won by John Daly and Laura Davies.

Unusually for a West Coast Florida course, the track features some fairly significant changes in elevation – up to 80 feet. It has traditionally been one of the tougher courses visited by the PGA Tour.

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Venue: Innisbrook Resort – Copperhead, Palm Harbor, Florida Date: Mar 10-13 Course stats: par 71, 7,340 yards Purse: $6,100,000 Winner: $1,098,000 Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth (-10)

TV Coverage: Thursday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm Friday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm Saturday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm Sunday 13 – Sky Sports 4 from 5pm

Player watch:

Louis Oosthuizen – A superb ball striker and good strategist, Oosthuizen has shown form this year by winning recently in the Perth Internatinoal. He was a solid tied 14th last week at Doral.

Justin Thomas – He looks to have all the skills necessary to challenge at the very top of the game, he just needs a breakthrough in a big event. He was tied third in the Honda Classic and was tied 10th in this event last year.

Danny Willett – He’s playing some great golf at the moment and had a chance to win last week at the Cadillac. It’s his first start in this event but if he can ride the form he showed at Doral, he could contend again.

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Key Hole: 16th. This 460 yard par-4 generally ranks as the toughest on course. Water is a factor all down the right hand side.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?