Golf, schedules and tournaments of the week
by ANDREA GUSSONI | VIEW 1310
Here are the golf events not to be missed during the week of March 13th to 19th.
PGA Tour – Valspar Championship
This week the PGA Tour stays in Florida for the latest Florida Swing tournament: the Valspar Championship.
The race will be held March 16-19 on the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor. American player Sam Burns, who has 4 PGA Tour wins, has achieved half of them on this journey and will be looking to become the first player to win the same tournament 3 years in a row.
This milestone was last achieved by Steve Stricker when he won the John Deere Classic from 2009 to 2011. In addition to the defending champion, there will also be two Major winners: Justin Thomas (PGA Championship 2022) and Matt Fitzpatrick (U.S.
Open 2022) to challenge each other on the pitch. In the past edition of this event Thomas finished in third place and Fitzpatrick in fifth. Also attending this tournament are champions Keegan Bradley, winner of the Zozo Championship and current European Ryder Cup team captain Luke Donald.
On the court will be Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose, former FedEx Cup winners, who will take on the Innisbrook course. With his victory in 2015, Spieth kick-started his career in the FedEx Cup which also led him to win the U.S.
Cup. Open and the Masters. In the field we find the name of the PGA of America professional, Greg Koch, winner of the 2022 North Florida PGA Player of the Year, who in the latest edition of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard passed the cut demonstrating an excellent state of form.
This week's course will be a 6,711-yard, par 71 course located north of Tampa on Florida's west coast. The course was designed by Larry Packard and opened in the early 1970s. The course is rough and undulating with a tricky closing trio called the “Snake Pit” – two tricky par 4s sandwiched between a long par 3.
The Copperhead Course was the second course built at Innisbrook and has long been a firm favorite with many players on the Tour. The champions in the field will compete for a prize pool of $8,100.00 and the winner will be awarded in addition to the prize pool, 500 points in the race to the FedEx Cup.
DP World Tour – SDC Championship
DP World Tour players travel to South Africa for the 15th event of the season. The SDC Championship will kick off at the St. Francis Links in the Eastern Cape from March 16-19. This is the first time this course has hosted the co-sanctioned tournament between the DP World Tour and the Sunshine Tour.
The event takes the place of the Steyn City Championship, won last year by Shaun Norris. Norris, who is the favorite 'local player' will be on the field this week for the inaugural tournament, hoping to pick up another win.
Many other South Africans will be on the field, including Thriston Lawrence, who won the South African Open Championship in December and is hoping for another victory on home soil. Also among the local talents to watch is Ockie Strydom, who has picked up two victories on the DP World Tour, including last month's Singapore Classic.
They will also be joined by Joburg Open winner Dan Bradbury, AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open winner Antoine Rozner and Ras Al Khaimah Championship champion Daniel Gavins. A notable name in the field is Andalucia Masters winner Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, who had some good finishes in South Africa and is hoping to score his first victory in the country this week given his relatively high position in the world rankings.
There will also be his compatriot Adri Arnaus, who won at the Catalunya Championship and the English Jordan Smith, winner of the last edition of the Portugal Masters. The course, signed by Jack Nicklaus, is located on a hill overlooking the seaside village of St.
Francis Bay. It was voted South Africa's best course in 2008 and currently ranks 4th in the country. It has previously hosted several tournaments on the Sunshine Tour and most recently the prestigious South African PGA Championship.
The 156 players will compete for a prize pool of $1,500,000 and the winner in addition to the $255,000 prize pool will be awarded 2000 points in the R2DR. There will be no Italians on the pitch.