As we wind down from the hoopla of Ponte Vedra, there is still a full slate of events this week. Malaysia hosts the European Tour, the LPGA plays their unique Founders Cup in Phoenix, the Web.com returns after a month-long layoff, and the PGA Tour heads to Tampa for the Valspar Championship. It’s a full week of gulf and this is your Wednesday primer. Let’s get to it!
Paint by Numbers
The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort has played host to professional events for two decades and became an official PGA Tour venue in 2010. Field strength increased in recent years, but the updated 2019 schedule made it skippable for many tour pros. This year’s event will boast Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, and Tommy Fleetwood but will lack the pop past editions. Tee Times
Last year’s Valspar was elevated by the late addition of Tiger Woods. He was in the midst of his comeback, and his visit to Valspar came as a surprise. Fast forward to Sunday, and Tiger was in the final group, eyeing his first win since 2013. He ultimately came up one shot short of Paul Casey after the Englishman fired a final round 65. Still, Casey’s victory will always be overshadowed by the meaningful step Tiger took at the Copperhead Course in 2018.
World #1 Dustin Johnson is the undeniable favorite this week. He finished just three strokes behind Rory last week despite losing half a stroke on the greens. Innisbrook is the only Florida PGA Tour event he has not played, so we’ll see how he does in his maiden voyage.
Tommy Fleetwood will try to continue his hot streak and pull out a win after being in the mix each of the last two weeks. Rory was in a similar position last week before he broke through for his Players victory.
At just 17 years old, Akshay Bhatia will make his first start on the PGA Tour this week. Bhatia has been an absolute terror on the junior circuits and is currently ranked 9th in the world amateur golf rankings.
Copperhead requires precise play, here’s who Paulie likes in Tampa this week. Read here
Chitimacha Louisiana Classic
The Web.com Tour returns this week after a month-long hiatus. Players have been grabbing spots across many different tours over the past few weeks, but they’ll all gather in Louisiana this weekend. Doug Ghim, Mark Hubbard, Maverick McNealy, and Willy Wilcox are amongst those in the field. Tee Times
The LPGA plays in the United States this week for the first time since the season opener in January. The Founders Cup began in 2010 as a way to honor past players and help raise money for junior girls golf programs. It has blossomed into one of the most highly anticipated events on the schedule and boasts a purse of $1.5M. Inbee Park will return as the defending champion, and many of the top women in the world will join her. Tee Times
Matt Wolff notched his fifth victory of the college season with a win at the Valspar Collegiate. He shot 65-66-68 to beat Florida State’s John Pak by 1 shot and earn a spot in the 2020 Valspar Championship.
The European Tour heads to Malaysia this week with a pretty thin cast of characters. Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Jorge Campillo, and Kurt Kitayama headline the field. Tee Times
Yesterday Tiger committed to play next week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin GC. This will be his last event before he tees it up at Augusta National.
The Latest Podcasts and Articles
Yolk with Doak: The Houston Open and Memorial Park
Tom Doak joins Andy to discuss his new project redesigning Houston’s Memorial Park Golf Course. The popular municipal design is planning on hosting the 2020 Houston Open. Doak talks about his plans for the site, working with Brooks Koepka and some of his thoughts on testing Tour pros. Listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify.
PGA Tour deletes Rahm tapes, the snake motif of the Valspar, and a Chitimacha chat
After some concentrated weeks, the world of golf is spread far and wide again with the LPGA and Web Tours returning to action in the United States. We get into the Chitimacha Louisiana Open to start, pondering the local scene in Broussard, La. and about one day making the trip there. Lee Westwood, the king of the Maybank Championship, is skipping the event and Andy comes close to critiquing his scheduling practices. Then we get into the Valspar, examining some of the journeymen names for our Fan Vote Friday Jr. poll, and even a few that made it onto a truly puzzling ballot for the PGA Tour’s version of Fan Vote Friday. Also on the Valspar, we asses the Copperhead course and its general obsession with the snake motif. Matt Wolff’s win, and Rickie’s on-the-spot trophy presentation, get some love. Then we rant a little bit about the PGA Tour deleting the video of Jon Rahm’s captivating discussion with his caddie in the final round of the Players. Why the Orwellian wiping of the records? We contrast this with some of the other PGA Tour social media posts. We wrap with a Masters fact of the day and some quick picks for the Valspar. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify