The Florida swing concludes this week with its toughest test yet – The 2019 Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course.
One of the most difficult non-major courses players will see on Tour this year’s field is absent Tiger Woods after his thrilling T-2 finish in 2018. But it includes World No. 1-ranked Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Jon Rahm and several big names to make this a fine pre-Masters tune-up for all those involved.
Here are my top 20 fantasy picks for the week.
20. Ryan Moore: Finished solo third here three years ago and coming off a solid T-20 showing at the Players Championship.
19. Jason Kokrak: Hasn’t missed a cut this season and finished top-10 in both the Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational. Also posted a T-8 last year at the Copperhead Course.
18. Brendan Grace: Not all that far removed from a runner-up in Phoenix and was inside the top-10 in Tampa last year.
17. Henrik Stenson: It’s been an up-an-down year for Stenson, who missed the Players cut, but prior to a missed cut last year his Tampa results were T-7, T-11 and solo fourth.
16. Bubba Watson: Hit or miss at this event, but should be able to contend if he’s hitting fairways.
15. Lucas Glover: Hasn’t played his best in front of the big crowds with missed cuts at Players and Phoenix Open, but low-key Valspar should bring out the form that’s seen him rip off four top-10s this season.
14. Adam Hadwin: The 2017 Valspar winner was T-12 last year, but iron play has been a big concern lately.
13. Kevin Kisner: Two straight top-25 finishes that could have been a lot more if not for final rounds of 75 at Bay Hill and 73 at TPC Sawgrass.
12. Louis Oosthuizen: Not playing his best lately, but finished T-16 and T-7 in his last two starts at the Copperhead Course.
11. Jim Furyk: Should thrive after thrilling Players charge on one of the few courses on Tour that still rewards the straight hitter – Furyk has six career top-10 finishes here and a victory back in 2010.
10. Charl Schwartzel: Struggled with a lot of missed cuts this year, but usually plays well here and won it three years ago.
9. Webb Simpson: Posted a respectable T-16 in Players title defense and was T-8 a year ago at Innisbrook.
8. Keegan Bradley: He ranks second on Tour with 19 consecutive cuts made and had another promising week at TPC Sawgrass, where he finished T-16.
7. Gary Woodland: Just ahead of Bradley with a Tour-best 22 consecutive cuts made and returning to the site of his first career Tour win at what was then the Transitions Championship in 2011.
6. Paul Casey: Shooting 78-74 to miss the cut at Players was likely an outlier for the 2018 Valspar champ, who was coming off a T-3 in Mexico City and a solo second at Pebble Beach.
5. Jon Rahm: Lost the 54-hole Players lead with a weak Sunday, but should have success in his debut outing at the Copperhead Course.
4. Patrick Reed: Finished runner-up last year and was in the Players hunt before a deflating Sunday 78.
3. Sergio Garcia: Has gone T-22, T-9 and T-6 in his last three starts and loves this course, with a solo fourth, T-7, T-16 and T-15 in his last four Vaslpar showings.
2. Jason Day: Hasn’t played the course since 2013, but enters in great form with three consecutive top-10 finishes.
1. Dustin Johnson: The World No. 1 has two missed cuts here but hasn’t played the course since 2010. Should find it more to his liking these days.