The tournament was founded in 2000 as the Tampa Bay Classic. From 2003 to 2006, the event had a slot in the schedule as the last full-field event before the Tour Championship. Since 2007 the event has been played in March.
The topography of the Copperhead Golf Course in unlike what one would expect from Florida golf. The layout is defined by the rolling terrain, with many uphill and downhill tee shots, elevation changes and tree-lined fairways. At more than 7,300 yards from the back tees, it is also known for being a lengthy challenge. The golf course utilizes the natural water hazards of lakes and ponds that are scattered throughout the property.
Copperhead boasts the usual serving of four Par 5s but unusally for a Par 71 it has five Par 3s, three of which are found on the back nine. The final three-hole stretch of the Copperhead Course is known as the ‘The Snake Pit‘ and is one of the toughest finishes at a non-major. It is a 1,120-yard collection of hazards stretched over three holes. The 2011 Champion, Gary Woodland best sums up the ‘Snake Pit’ –
“There is not a birdie hole the last three holes. If you’re two back and have signed your scorecard and the leaders are still out there, you’re definitely hanging around to see what happens.”
Copperhead is a complete test of golf and those with aspirations of winning will have to drive accurately, hit a high percentage of greens in regulation and putt well. An ability to play in blustery conditions is essential.
The Copperhead Course is a venue that usually suits the accurate type. One look at the past champions will tell that it is a ball-strikers course.
Last year, Adam Hadwin survived a late scare to claim his first PGA Tour title. He threw away a two shot lead on the 16th hole hitting his tee shot into the water. However, he kept his nerve to close with two pars for an even par 71 to narrowly edge out Patrick Cantlay.
The Canadian’s iron play laid the foundation for his victory, gaining a total of 8.196 strokes on the field average from approach shots. This was duly complimented by the flat-stick gaining another 6.881 strokes on the field average over the four rounds. He finished the week T27 for Driving Accuracy, 37th for Driving Distance, T5 for GIR and 4th in Strokes Gained Putting.
In 2016, Charl Swartzel won the Valspar Championship in a playoff with Bill Haas. It was his first win on Tour since winning the Green Jacket in 2011. He carded a final round 67 which was 5.2 strokes better than the field average.
The South African won on the strength of his approach shots which accounted for 61 percent of his total gain on the field. Schwartzel finished the week T29 for Driving Distance, T65 for Driving Accuracy, T10 for Greens in Regulation and T12 for Strokes Gained Putting.
In 2015, Jordan Spieth, sank a 28-foot putt for birdie on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff with Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair to claim his second PGA Tour title.
Valspar Championship Betting Tips 2018