2019 Valspar Championship Viewing Guide

The road to the Masters officially begins Thursday at the 2019 Valspar Championship. With just four events left until the annual trip to Augusta every player in the field is looking to gain confidence, momentum and potentially even a spot in the coveted quest for the holy grail of golf, the green jacket. In order to do so this week they must avoid being bitten by the dreaded “Snake Pit” of closing holes at the Copperhead course.

The famed Florida swing comes to a close this weekend at traditionally one of the toughest, non-major, tournaments on the PGA Tour. Making their Copperhead debut this year are the always polarizing Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and the number one player in the World, according to the Official World Golf Rankings, Dustin Johnson. Coming off a T5 last weekend at THE PLAYERS Johnson will look to win his second title of 2019 and fend off a gritty group of challengers also including defending champion Paul Casey, Patrick Reed, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia.

Since being renamed the Valspar Championship in the 2014 season, two of the last five events have ended in a playoff. Winning in Innisbrook requires both precision and an innate ability to bounce back quickly. With $1.2 million up for grabs to the winner, and a total purse of $6.7 million, a lot is on the line this weekend at the Copperhead course.

Last Word on Golf has your guide to the course, featured opening round groups and how to watch and listen to all the action at the 2019 Valspar Championship.

The Course

Since becoming a permanent tournament location in 2000 the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Golf Resort has consistency been one of the most difficult on tour. In the past six years of competition alone the winning score has averaged just over 9-under par. In 2004 Vijay Singh set the tournament record at 18-under par (266) to win by five strokes.

The course in its entirety is more than a force to be reckoned with. Playing just over 7,300 yards, at a par of 71, the Copperhead course isn’t exactly a long ball paradise. Instead, control off the tee and finesse around the greens will help to propel players to victory.

The most daunting section of the Copperhead course is the unwavering closing three holes known simply as “The Snake Pit”. Each hole is appropriately named after its deadly counterpart beginning with “The Moccassin” par-4 16th hole measuring 475 yards. This dog-leg right is warded with water from off the tee all the way down the right side of the hole.

Testing even the most skilled competitors at 17 is the knee-knocking par-3 known as “The Rattler”. At 215 yards straight ahead this penultimate hole features sand surrounding a pear shaped green that narrows in the front and widens in the back. Players will have to be dialed in during the weekend pin placements if they want to birdie but sometimes even staying safe with par is easier said than done.

The namesake closing hole at the Valspar Championship once again doesn’t strike fear in the hearts of those simply glancing at the scorecard. “The Copperhead” is a seemingly straight forward 445 yard par-4. Where the venom lies in this 18th is an uphill, semi-blind approach onto a severe sloping green. In what can be the ultimate risk versus reward scenario, Sunday could come down to who can suffer the least bites while traversing through the “Snake Pit”.

Featured Groups

One question that will loom its ugly head throughout the week is will the curse of Copperhead strike again? Since the PGA Tour began playing at Innisbrook in 2000 no champion has ever defended his title the following year. Last year’s Valspar Champion Paul Casey will look to rewrite history this week after fending off Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed by one stroke in 2018.

The Englishman will be in one of the featured groups Thursday and Friday along with long ball bombers Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland. Woodland last won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2018 as well as finishing T6 at last year’s PGA Championship. These three will look to claim victory starting at 1:03 p.m. Eastern on Thursday and 8:13 a.m. Friday.

With 30 professional wins between them it’s no secret why Jason Day, Webb Simpson and Jon Rahm were paired as another featured group at the Valspar Championship. All three will look to rebound after each dealt with their own up and down week at THE PLAYERS. This trio will look to survive the “Snake Pit” starting at 8:13 a.m. Thursday and 1:03 p.m. Friday.

While last but certainly not least, one of the final featured groups of the opening rounds will pair 2016 Open champion Henrik Stenson with the last two Masters champions in Sergio Garcia (2017) and Patrick Reed (2018). Each major winner is eyeing another all important tour victory as the road to Augusta winds down. These three will tee it up at 8:24 a.m. Thursday and 1:14 p.m. Friday.

Viewing and Listening Schedule

The 2019 Valspar Championship begins Thursday, March 21, and is scheduled to conclude Sunday, March 24. Coverage throughout the week can be found on both radio and television broadcasts. Below are the dates, times and locations for your listening and viewing needs (all times Eastern Standard time and are subject to change).

Thursday March 21 – Round 1
PGA Tour Live 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
Golf Channel 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday March 22 – Round 2
PGA Tour Live 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
Golf Channel 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday March 23 – Round 3
PGA Tour Live 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
Golf Channel 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
NBC 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday March 24 – Final Round
PGA Tour Live 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PGA Tour Radio 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sirius 208/XM 92)
Golf Channel 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
NBC 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Images