Kings of Fantasy Column

It’s snakes on greens as PGA Tour moves to Innisbrook

By Wesley Woodbery | Mar 07, 2017
Photo by: File PGA’s Bill Haas chips out of the sand.

This week, don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not talking about the movie “Snakes on Planes” starring Samuel L. Jackson.
Rather, I’m talking about snakes on the greens … literally.
The PGA tour swings back into Florida this week in Palm Harbor for the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort home of the infamous Copperhead course, which explains the snake reference.

Copperhead Course
The par 71, 7,340 yard Copperhead Course, which is going too be very hard to navigate this week is known over the last 10 seasons as one of the toughest venues on tour. Players will encounter a number of things.
The fairways are very narrow making it hard to get off the tee. Water hazards are abundant, making chaos on par 3s and cozy homes for the Copperheads that live around them.
The greens consist of Bermuda grass, not too big of a factor this week other than some players who don’t play on the east coast a lot won’t be as used to them. The current weather forecast for Palm Harbor for the tournament this weekend is looking solid for the first three days with temperatures in the 70’s and sunny skies, but is projected to take a turn for the worst and dump rain on golfers on Sunday, which will likely stir up a crazy finish.

Stats to Target
The Valspar Championship has only been played at this course before. Let tournament history be a determining factor in your lineups this week. Copperhead is a longer course but don’t let that fool you.
Driving Accuracy. We can’t preach about it enough this week. The fairways are narrow and hard to hit. To build solid fantasy lineups, you must focus on golfers who hit their fairways like it’s their second nature.
Look for golfers with the best Par 4 scoring average. Par 4’s here are shorter making it a must play on guys who birdie/par them on a regular basis.
There is no room for mistakes this week. Only nine eagles were registered here last season.
We always target birdie golfers for our tournaments but this week its par players, guys who know when to take a shot at a tough pin placement and guys who know when to lay up and take the easier approach. Players who go all out and do not take a methodical and strategic approach this week will end up at the mercy of the Copperhead.

KOF’s Golfers to Target
Bill Haas (DK $9,200): Haas has made four out of four cuts this season. His recent finishes at Innisbrook have been a second place finish in 2016, and a tie for 14th in 2014. He did not play here in 2015. Expect the former FedEx Cup champion to kick off his east coast swing with a bang and a top 10 finish this week.
Charles Howell (DK $9,400): A Kings of fantasy favorite. Howell is playing extremely good golf this season making five out of five cuts. In his last three trips to Innisbrook he has finished tied for 5th, tied for 10th, and tied for 14th respectively. That speaks for itself in recent history here.
Justin Thomas (DK $11,900): Coming off a fifth place finish at the World Golf Championship in Mexico City last week Thomas is one off the hotter golfers on tour this season. He has three top 10 finishes including two victories in the four cuts he’s made this season. If he can keep his drives straight expect him to push his way up the leaderboard.
Webb Simpson (DK $8,500): Simpson is returning to his old form this season, making four out of five cuts. The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon really gets his game rolling on the east coast swing. He is that methodical style golfer we are looking to target this week.
Henrik Stenson (DK $11,700): Coming off a withdrawal at last week’s WGC, because of a stomach bug, Stenson will look to come back strong after a poor first outing on the PGA tour this season. Eying a Masters win in April expect Stenson to really show us what he’s got on these last few tournaments leading up to Augusta.
Steve Stricker (DK $7,400): The wiley old veteran falls right where we need him this week. Stricker knows when and when not to take risks on the golf course. Making him the perfect Kings of Fantasy “Sleeper of the Week.” The level headed Stricker will look to hit his fairways and keep the flat stick “putter” hot that we have come too accustomed to seeing from him.