Valspar Championship, Home of The Snake Pit?
If you’re looking for the 2016 preview, look here.
You just finished watching a WGC event with a top tier field at a decently historic venue. There were tons of top players near the top of the leaderboard with Tiger drama all of Sunday. Considering the finish at the Honda Classic two weeks ago, let’s face it, you’ve got a golf hangover. And unfortunately for you, The Valspar Championship isn’t exactly the Gatorade that you’re looking for. But hey, it’s another PGA Tour event and by the end of the week, another millionaire will be a million dollars richer!
First off, what is the Valspar Championship. Turns out that Transitions ditched sponsoring an event, and Valspar paint swooped in and signed a 4 year contract last fall. Good for the Tampa / St. Petersburg area. The tournament is played at Innisbrook resort’s Copperhead (think snakes) course, which actually turns out to be pretty solid. According to Golf Digest, the Copperhead course is ranked 9th favorite by PGA Tour players, ahead of Congressional and TPC Sawgrass. That alone is probably one of the reasons that the field isn’t terrible, despite not being an A-list event. So checking it out on tv is definitely worth your time.
I planned on ignoring the fact that the media is trying to build up the course and tournament by naming the final stretch of holes. Naming a difficult stretch on a course has to be the golf marketing equivalent of all those stupid articles online with clickbait titles. It’s just an awful practice but when not much else about the tournament or course is known to the general public, I guess they do what works.
Well the Copperhead course at Innisbrook is apparently home to the “Snake Pit.” And as much at the golf channel and NBC can try to promote by talking about the “Snake Pit”, there aren’t too many mentions of it online. Sometimes naming holes does work. The Honda Classic a few weeks ago featured the Bear Trap, PGA National’s final 4 holes. Augusta National is home to Amen Corner. The difference is that I don’t have to use quotes when I mention them. In fact, it is so unknown that when I was googling for information about it, the second result is for Copperhead tracer wire. Good try NBC / Innisbrook Resort, but right now, it’s just an annoying gimmick. Maybe this article can help cement the “Snake Pit” as a thing.
Valspar’s field isn’t anything to write home about, but it is pretty decent for a non top tier event. Five of the top 20 players in the world will be playing, along with a scattering of other promising young players. Considering it’s sandwiched between a WGC and Bay Hill, I’d say the field isn’t too shabby.
As much as I’ve ragged on this tournament, events like this should really interest the more-than-casual fan. We often see young and yet unproven players win and then use that as a stepping stone to other, more impressive wins. Just last year Patrick Reed won at the Wyndham and now has three titles to his name. So we can very easily expect whoever wins next week to be winning WGC events in under a year. Or not.