Expert picks: Valspar Championship

Matt Kuchar has three top-15 finishes in his last three starts at Innisbrook.

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A week after the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott registered on the radars of many, it'll be Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar and Graham DeLaet that receive the love at the Valspar Championship.

That's mostly due to the tight quarters of Innisbrook, where ball striking and keeping it in play is at a premium.

Here's a look at the picks of our staff experts:

• • •

Jim McCabe, senior writer

Favorite: Jason Dufner.

Keep an eye on: Will MacKenzie.

Don't forget about: Luke Donald.

Sleepers: Chesson Hadley.

Comments: Copperhead Course is a ball-striker’s domain, which is why Dufner and Donald should be considered strong contenders. MacKenzie has just been rock-solid this year, with seven finishes inside the top 15 in just 10 starts. As for Hadley? Crazy, you say? Well, who would have predicted what Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed have done?

• • •

Adam Schupak, senior writer

Favorite: Graham DeLaet

Keep an eye on: Russell Knox, Matt Every

Don't forget about: Webb Simpson, Harris English

Sleepers: Brian Gay, John Peterson

Comments: Who's going to paint the town red at the Valspar Championship? The colorful Graham DeLaet has quieted down since since his back-to-back seconds in San Diego and Phoenix, but his game is well-suited for the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook. He's my pick. Simpson is a former champ and English finished T-7 last year and won the 2011 Southern Amateur here. It wouldn’t surprise me if Knox or Every have a chance to win on the back nine Sunday. Both have been knocking on the door. Gay is the only player to compete at Innisbrook all 14 years of the tournament. He obviously likes the course. Peterson? The rookie is the type of ball striker who should fare well in Tampa.

• • •

Lance Ringler, senior writer

Favorite: Matt Kuchar

Keep an eye on: Harris English

Don't forget about: Jordan Spieth

Sleepers: Justin Leonard & K.J. Choi

Comments: Matt Kuchar, who has placed in the top 15 in last three starts at Innisbrook, has seven top-13 finishes in last eight starts. Shared the 36-hole lead last week at Doral ... Harris English's results are starting to look like Kuchar. English, who was T-7 last year in this event, has made 13 cuts in a row with five top 10s and a victory at the OHL Classic ... Just when you start to forget about Spieth he is in the hunt on Sunday, so don't forget about him this week.

• • •

Nick Masuda, Digital Director

Favorite: Matt Kuchar

Keep an eye on: Gary Woodland

Don't forget about: Brooks Koepka

Sleepers: Matteo Manasserro

Comments: Kuchar is a no-brainer here as he has played very well at Innisbrook and keeps the ball in play, which is important at the tight set-up. . . Woodland might seem like an odd pick here, considering he is a bomber, but his work with Greg Norman seems to be paying off in other areas than just off the tee . . . Koepka is the biggest secret in golf in my opinion and he's looking for a way to play full-time in the States, or at least share time, and this feels like a week where he could make that happen . . . Manasserro ranks fairly low in our Sagarin Rankings, and I think it is about time he resolved that. The kid has some major skills.

• • •

The Valspar Championship field according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings

  • 5. Matt Kuchar
  • 8. Justin Rose
  • 11. Webb Simpson
  • 13. Harris English
  • 15. Jim Furyk
  • 18. Jordan Spieth
  • 20. Jason Dufner
  • 21. Graham DeLaet
  • 24. Bill Haas
  • 25. Brendon Todd
  • 27. K.J. Choi
  • 28. Charley Hoffman
  • 31. Gary Woodland
  • 33. Charles Howell III
  • 37. Luke Donald
  • 40. Brendon de Jonge
  • 46. Boo Weekley
  • 48. Stuart Appleby
  • 49. Kevin Streelman
  • 50. Justin Leonard
  • 51. Kevin Chappell
  • 53. Russell Knox
  • 54. Jerry Kelly
  • 55. Will MacKenzie
  • 58. Camilo Villegas
  • 59. Marc Leishman
  • 62. Pat Perez
  • 63. George McNeill
  • 67. Ernie Els
  • 68. Daniel Summerhays
  • 70. Matt Every
  • 71. Jason Kokrak
  • 72. Peter Hanson
  • 75. Bryce Molder
  • 76. Jeff Overton
  • 77. Michael Putnam
  • 79. Brandt Snedeker
  • 80. Stewart Cink
  • 83. Brooks Koepka
  • 84. Brian Davis
  • 85. Kevin Na
  • 86. Roberto Castro
  • 87. Jonas Blixt
  • 88. John Peterson
  • 89. David Hearn
  • 90. John Senden
  • 92. Cameron Tringale
  • 94. Richard H. Lee
  • 96. John Merrick
  • 100. Louis Oosthuizen
  • 104. Paul Casey
  • 105. James Driscoll
  • 106. Angel Cabrera
  • 109. Rory Sabbatini
  • 110. Freddie Jacobson
  • 113. Matteo Manassero
  • 118. John Huh
  • 120. Martin Flores
  • 121. William McGirt
  • 123. Ben Crane
  • 124. Ken Duke
  • 128. Bo Van Pelt
  • 129. Tim Wilkinson
  • 130. D.A. Points
  • 132. Robert Garrigus
  • 133. Morgan Hoffmann
  • 135. Carl Pettersson
  • 136. Justin Hicks
  • 137. Ryo Ishikawa
  • 141. Josh Teater
  • 142. David Lingmerth
  • 144. Jason Bohn
  • 146. Nicolas Colsaerts
  • 147. Peter Uihlein
  • 156. David Lynn
  • 159. Tim Clark
  • 162. Branden Grace
  • 163. Brian Harman
  • 164. Jhonattan Vegas
  • 166. Chesson Hadley
  • 167. Luke Guthrie
  • 168. Brian Stuard
  • 169. Spencer Levin
  • 170. Brian Gay
  • 171. J.J. Henry
  • 173. Sang-Moon Bae
  • 177. Scott Brown
  • 181. Retief Goosen
  • 183. Chad Collins
  • 187. Davis Love III
  • 188. Vijay Singh
  • 189. Erik Compton
  • 191. Andres Romero
  • 199. Brice Garnett
  • 208. Scott Stallings
  • 209. Billy Hurley III
  • 210. Nicholas Thompson
  • 214. Padraig Harrington
  • 223. D.H. Lee
  • 228. Mark Wilson
  • 229. Tim Herron
  • 241. Geoff Ogilvy
  • 242. Charlie Wi
  • 244. David Toms
  • 246. Greg Chalmers
  • 260. Y.E. Yang
  • 261. Ted Potter, Jr.
  • 266. Thorbjorn Olesen
  • 270. Scott Langley
  • 272. Aaron Baddeley
  • 274. Michael Thompson
  • 276. John Rollins
  • 288. Steven Bowditch
  • 295. Kyle Stanley
  • 305. Ben Curtis
  • 317. James Hahn
  • 324. Sean O'Hair
  • 336. Charlie Beljan
  • 379. Tommy Gainey
  • 386. Darren Clarke
  • 395. Jonathan Byrd
  • 427. Jim Renner
  • 428. Mike Weir
  • 435. Johnson Wagner
  • 447. Lucas Glover
  • 481. Woody Austin
  • 535. Derek Ernst
  • 548. Steve Marino
  • 589. John Daly
  • 590. Paul Goydos
  • 625. Scott Verplank
  • N/R. Briny Baird
  • N/R. J.B. Holmes
  • N/R. John Mallinger
  • N/R. Mark Calcavecchia
  • N/R. Max Homa
  • N/R. Rod Perry
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