Valspar Championship preview: Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth highlight star-studded field

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Tiger Woods returns to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he's won eight times.

Arnold Palmer Invitational preview: Tiger Woods back after nearly winning in Tampa

Tiger Woods returns to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he's won eight times.

The PGA Tour came alive last week when Phil Mickelson ended his near five-year winning drought by defeating Justin Thomas in a playoff at the WGC Mexico Championship.

This week, the Valspar Championship received a huge boost when Tiger Woods announced it would be the first of his next two events. But the field doesn't start and end with Woods, a number of the game's most recognizable names signed up to play this week.

Rory McIlroy followed Woods into the field, and the two stars will make their debuts at the dreaded "Snake Pit." Jordan Spieth is also back in the field after a one-year break.

How to Watch, Stream

Thursday: Golf Channel, 2-6 p.m.; live stream: fuboTV

Friday: Golf Channel, 2-6 p.m.; live stream: fuboTV

Saturday: Golf Channel, 1-3 p.m. NBC, 3-6 p.m.; live stream: fuboTV

Sunday: Golf Channel, 1-3 p.m.; NBC, 3-6 p.m.; live stream: fuboTV

The Course

Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead) ia s 7,340-yards par 71 that tests the world's best players tee-to-green. Two of Copperhead’s par-5s feature double doglegs, a rarity on the PGA Tour. The “Snake Pit” is made up of two devastating par 4s on either side of the par-3 17th. Players will have a tough time finishing their rounds on a positive note.

Different from other Florida Swing courses, Copperhead features a tree-lined layout more commonly found in the Midwest. Still, it has plenty of bite if players find themselves in the wrong position.

Defending Champion

Last year, Adam Hadwin earned his overdue first PGA Tour victory, fending off Patrick Cantlay despite a late double bogey. After starting the round with a four-shot lead, Hadwin stumbled on Sunday, but collected himself in time to get the win.

Hadwin, ranked 44th in the world, enters the week fresh off two straight top-10 finishes. Hadwin also famously shot a 59 last year at the CareerBuilder Challenge, ultimately finishing second that week.


Spieth, Justin Rose, Serio Garcia and McIlroy are among the biggest names in the field, though none of them have won on the PGA Tour yet this year. Rose enjoyed a tremendous fall, while McIlroy and Garcia have made noise on the European Tour this winter. Spieth, who has been struggling with his putter, has just two top 10s in 2018.

Woods has enjoyed a solid comeback this year, finishing with two top 25s in three starts. He will again garner most of the attention from spectators this week, and he seems up to the challenge.


Paul Casey earned a lot of buzz last fall when he joined the European Tour, thus becoming eligible to compete for Europe in this year's Ryder Cup (he was not eligible in 2016). But Casey, ranked 17th in the world), has flown under the radar in 2018 even though he has three top-12 finishes in four starts.

Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson have been tumbling down the world rankings recently, but Scott finished t13 at The Honda Classic, and Stenson has two top-8 finishes in three starts this year.

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