PGA Tour Picks: Valspar Championship



Following three outstanding tournaments in Florida, the last two won impressively by top-ranked Scottie Scheffler including the 50th Players Championship last Sunday, the PGA Tour will wrap its four-week run in the Sunshine State.

Taylor Moore will defend his first title on the PGA Tour, claimed by three strokes, beginning Thursday in the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Things are starting to heat up, as The Masters is only three weeks away.

“It’s always your dream to win a PGA Tour event,” Moore said recently at the tournament’s Media Day. “The fact that my first one came on such a great golf course in a tournament with so much history, makes it even better. I can’t wait to be back here with a chance to win again.

“Cooperhead is a challenging golf course just from the aspect that it doesn’t take 20- or 25-under-par to win out here. It gets firm and fast in the years that I’ve been here. The rough is challenging. You have to think your way around this place.

“I’m looking forward to getting back out there and trying to recreate what I did last year.”

Fifth-ranked Xander Schauffele (pictured) of La Jolla and San Diego State, who finished one stroke behind Scheffler in a tie for second at The Players, leads the field this week while eighth-ranked Brian Harman, who also tied for second on Sunday, also is playing this week.

Seventh-ranked Patrick Cantlay originally committed to play in the Valspar, has since changed his mind.

Taylor will attempt to become the third player to win the tournament in back-to-back years, as Sam Burns, who is playing this week, did it 2021-22 after Paul Casey of England pulled off the feat in 2018-19. Other past Valspar champions in the field include Gary Woodland (2011), Luke Donald of England (2012), Jordan Spieth (2015) and Adam Hadwin (2017).

Among the other notable former champions are Vijay Singh of Fiji (2004), Retief Goosen of South Africa (2003), K.J. Choi of South Korea (2002, 2006), Jim Furyk (2010), Mark Calcavecchia (2007), Sean O’Hair (2008), Charl Schwartzel of South Africa (2015), Carl Petterson of Sweden (2005), Kevin Streelman (2013)  and John Huston (2000), who won the inaugural event.

The Copperhead Course features the infamous “Snake Pit,” one of the most challenging three-hole finishes on the PGA Tour — the par-4, 458-yard 16th; the par-3, 206-yard 17th, and the uphill, par-4, 443-yard 18th.

Many a championship hope has died in “The Snake Pit.”  


1. Xander Schauffele, United States – The fifth-ranked Schauffele held the 54-hole lead in The Players, but a late bogey cost him a playoff against winner Scottie Scheffler. Has won seven titles on the PGA Tour, including three in 2022, and has five finishes in the top 10 this season. His only appearance in the Valspar came two years ago, and he wound up in a tie for 12th.   

2. Brian Harman, United States – Another runner-up in The Players Championship, the eighth-ranked Harman has four results in the top 20 this season, including a tie for fifth in The Sentry. Has five victories on the PGA Tour, including the 2023 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. His best result in nine starts in the Valspar were a tie for fifth in 2022 and a tie for 14th in 2013.

3. Sam Burns, United States – Two of Burns’ five PGA Tour titles came in the Valspar, in 2021 and 2022, the latter with a birdie on the second playoff to defeat Davis Riley. He also tied for sixth last year and tied for 12th in the event in 2018. He has four top-10 finishes this season, including a tie for third in the WM Phoenix Open and a tie for sixth in The American Express.

4. Sungjae Im, South Korea – A six-time winner as a pro, including two on the PGA Tour, Im’s best result this season was a tie for fifth in The Sentry, and he was in the hunt in the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks ago before closing with a 74 to tie for 18th. Making his third start in the Valspar and tied for fourth in 2019 and tied for 29th in 2021 after opening with 68-67.

5. Justin Thomas, United States – Trying to bounce back after missing the cut in The Players, Thomas has four finishes in the top 12 this season, including a tie for third in The AmEx and a tie for sixth at Pebble Beach. The two-time PGA champion is making his seventh start in the Valspar and tied for third two years ago in addition to tying for 10th last year and in 2015.     

6. Min Woo Lee, Australia – Claimed his fourth pro victory in the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and tied for third in the ISPS Handa Australian Open to start the 2023-24 DP World Tour Championship and then tied for second in the Cognizant Classic on the PGA Tour three weeks ago. Lee is making his first appearance this week in the Valspar Championship.  

7. Jordan Spieth, United States – The three-time major champion claimed one of his 13 PGA Tour victories in the 2015 Valspar with a 30-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole. Spieth also tied for third in the tournament last year and a tie for seventh in 2013 among five finishes in the top 20. His best results this season were solo third in The Sentry and a tie for sixth in Phoenix.    

8. Nick Taylor, Canada – Taylor captured his fourth PGA Tour title in February, when he beat Charley Hoffman with a birdie on the second playoff hole to win the WM Phoenix Open, and he also tied for seventh in the Sony Open in Hawaii and tied for 12th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. His best result in eight appearances in the Valspar was a tie for 10th last season.

9. Cameron Young, United States – A four-time winner as a pro, including twice on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2021, Young finished solo third in the Hero Dubai Desert Classic before tying for fourth in the Cognizant Classic, tying for eighth in the WM Phoenix Open and tying for 16th in the Genesis Invitational this season. He will be making his debut this week in the Valspar.  

10. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, South Africa —  A 10-time winner as a pro, but not yet on the PGA Tour, Bezuidenhout was solo second in The American Express, tied for 13th in The Players and tied for 20th at Pebble Beach after finishing solo third in the Alfred Dunhill Championship and tying for ninth in the Joburg Open on the DP World Tour. Making his Valspar debut.       

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: Maverick McNealy, United States; Taylor Moore, United States; Keegan Bradley, United States; Luke Donald, England; Tony Finau, United States; Adam Hadwin, Canada; Sepp Straka, Austria; Eric Cole, United States; Thorbjorn Olesen, Sweden; Aaron Rai, England; Patrick Rodgers, United States; Webb Simpson, United States.


1. Jimmy Stanger, United States – Stanger claimed his only pro victory in 2023 Compliance Solutions Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour, but recently was T-3 in the Puerto Rico Open.

2. Garrick Higgo, South Africa – Has won seven times as a pro, including the 2021 Palmetto Championship on the PGA Tour, and wound up T-16 in the Cognizant Classic three weeks ago.

3. Ryan Fox, New Zealand – A 17-time winner as a professional, including the 2023 BMW PGA Championship, Fox’s best result this year was T-14 in the Dubai Invitational with a 68-68 finish.   

4. Bud Cauley, United States – Winner of the 2014 Hotel Fitness Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour, Cauley was T-21 in Cognizant despite a 74 in round three. T-16 in 2023 Valspar.

5. Ben Silverman, United States – Two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour finished T-13 in Mexico Open, T-16 in Cognizant and T-18 in Sony Open on the PGA Tour this season.  

For first-round tee times and complete results once the tournament starts, visit:

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