Valspar Championship Presented by BB&T
Congratulation John Senden. Winner of the 2014 Valspar Championship presented by BB&T.
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“One of the best I’ve played in America. It’s very difficult. You have to hit a lot of good tee shots.” - Martin Kaymer
Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course hosted the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship presented by BB&T, an official 72-hole event. Held in March, the event featured 156 PGA TOUR golfers, with proceeds from ticket sales benefiting area charities through the Championship’s Birdies for Tampa Bay Charities program.
Previous champions also include Innisbrook member John Huston, Vijay Singh and Carl Pettersson, Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, Gary Woodland and Kevin Streelman. Previously, Innisbrook was host to 10 JC Penney Classic tournaments that featured mixed teams of PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour professionals.
Valspar Championship Presented by BB&T
25 Years at Innisbrook | #25Innisbrook
The 2014 Valspar Championship presented by BB&T marks the 25th year of PGA TOUR golf at Innisbrook. We are marking a quarter century of championship competition with a special memory from those 25. Share in the excitement and the memories with us by using #25Innisbrook.
HALL OF FAMERS
Nineteen members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, including Arnold Palmer, Annika Sorenstam, Nick Faldo, Nancy Lopez, Curtis Strange, Beth Daniel, Phil Mickelson, Nick Price, Juli Inkster and Fred Couples have played the Copperhead since the first JCPenney Classic on the Copperhead in 1990. Tiger Woods, future Hall of Famer, played in the 1996 JCPenney Classic.
TWO KINDS OF TOURNAMENTS
The first 10 tournaments on the Copperhead, beginning in 1990, were mixed team events with PGA TOUR and LPGA pros. The 2014 Valspar Championship marks the 14th
2001 - The field was gathered at Innisbrook for the Tampa Bay Classic when the tragic events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 occurred. The tournament was subsequently cancelled, meaning that although this is the TOUR’s 25th year at Innisbrook, the 2014 Valspar Championship is the 24th event.
A HISTORY OF EXCELLENCE
Eleven men have won PGA TOUR events on the Copperhead – and among them a winner of each Major Championship is represented. Vijay Singh has won a Masters, Retief Goosen (twice) and Jim Furyk have claimed the U.S. Open, Mark Calcavechia won the British Open and Singh has two PGA Championship victories. The fifth Major,THE PLAYERS Championship, is also represented with K.J. Choi winning in 2011.
Winners of the JCPenney Classic also know their way to the victory ceremony at the Majors. Davis Love III and John Daly both claimed PGA titles (with Daly adding a British Open). On the LPGA side, Laura Davies, Meg Mallon, Donna Andrews, Beth Daniel and Dottie Pepper have 11 Women’s Majors among them.
Two winners on the Copperhead have gone on later in that year to claim PGA TOUR Player of the Year honors – Singh in 2004 and Furyk in 2010.
The King played in 2 mixed team JCPenney Classics at Innisbrook, the last in 1994. Look inside the Copperhead Clubhouse for an iconic picture of Palmer’s last tee shot at Innisbrook.
The popular Irish star liked the Copperhead so much from watching on TV, he said he had to play it. He was 8th in his first try in 2010 – then set the course record with an opening round 61 in ’12.
Retief Goosen (2003 & ’09) and K.J. Choi (’02 & ’06) are the only two pros to win PGA TOUR events twice on the Copperhead. They were in contention for a third in ’10, playing in the final group, but it was Jim Furyk who won. Not surprisingly, Choi has won the most money on the Copperhead at $2.178 million followed closely by Goosen. As for the JCPenney Classic’s multiple winners, see tomorrow’s 25 Years at Innisbrook.
DAVIS LOVE III AND BETH DANIEL
These two Carolinians formed a mighty team, winning the first tournament on the Copperhead, the 1990 JCPenney Classic. Then, five years later they did it again. They also had a 2nd.
LOCAL HERO HUSTON
The first full-field PGA TOUR event on the Copperhead teed off on October 19, 2000 with Mike Hulbert’s opening round 64 setting the first PGA TOUR Tournament course record. By Sunday, local hero John Huston, a graduate of nearby Dunedin High School, was the first tournament winner. He closed with a blistering 65 to win by 3 shots.
They haven’t happened often, just once in each format, but the last two Copperhead playoffs have been memorable.
In the last JCPenney Classic in 1999, John Daly and Laura Davies outlasted Paul Azinger and Se Ri Pak. And in 2012, Luke Donald won a 4-way playoff with a birdie from the rough on the 1st Furyk, Robert Garrigus and Sang-Moon Bae.
LUKE’s NUMBER 1
With his dramatic win in 2012, Luke Donald became the first winner on the Copperhead to move to the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking by virtue of his victory. In ’04, Vijay Singh entered and left the tournament as the World #1 (see tomorrow’s 25 Years at Innisbrook)
$10 MILLION MAN
One of the greatest individual years in golf history had a storied landmark at Innisbrook. In the final regular TOUR event of the season, Vijay Singh became the first golfer ever to win $10 million in a season with a dominating win in the 2004 Chrysler Championship. With a tournament-record score of 18-under 266, it was Singh’s 9th
FALL INTO SPRING
The first six PGA TOUR events at Innisbrook were played in the fall, usually as the final event before the TOUR Championship. In 2007, the tournament moved into the Florida Swing in March with Mark Calcavecchia taking the first spring event 20 weeks after K.J. Choi won in the fall.
MOVING DAY ADVENTURE
Mark Calcavecchia was in the parking lot Friday night heading home to West Palm Beach when he learned his 142 had made the cut for the weekend. He fired a then-course-record 62 on Saturday and went on to win the 2007 PODS Championship by one shot.
RED-EYE TO A 65
Geoff Ogilvy went a long way for a 65 in 2010. He was boarding a plane to Arizona on Friday night whenhe found out the cut line had moved and he was in. With checked bags (including his clubs), he had to complete the flight and then, charter a plane for a red-eye flight back to Florida. Undeterred, he shot 65 on Saturday and made a tidy check for the week.
STEWART SINKS A PAIR OF ACES
The Copperhead plays to a par of 71, in an alignment with five par 3 holes. In the 13 PGA TOUR tournaments to date, they have yielded a total of 9 hole-in-ones. The only pro with two of them is Stewart Cink who aced the 8th in both 2003 and 2012.
With a run of four internationals in the early ‘00s, Innisbrook became known as a haven for foreign stars like South Korea’s K.J. Choi, South Africa’s Retief Goosen, Sweden’s Carl Pettersson, Fiji’s Vijay Singh and England’s Luke Donald. But three of the last four winners, including defending champ Kevin Streelman, have been Americans.
BIG HITTER HAS HOT PUTTER
Gary Woodland is a big hitter even by the inflated standards of the PGA TOUR, but he put on a putting clinic to win for the first time in the 2011 Transitions Championship. Seventeen times he attempted a putt of up to 20 feet – and he made every one to edge another exciting young gun, Webb Simpson, by one shot.
THE IRON MEN
Longtime PGA TOUR performer Rocco Mediate has played the most events at Innisbrook with 19 (9 mixed team events, 10 PGA TOUR). That’s one more than Kenny Perry (9 and 9) and John Huston (7 and 11) and two more than Billy Andrade (8 and 9). Brian Gay is the only player to play in all 13 of the PGA TOUR events.
As far as consistent success goes in Valspar Championship play, Jonathan Byrd is the leader in top 20s with a total of six.
STREELMAN BREAKS THROUGH
Kevin Streelman broke through for his first PGA TOUR victory on the Copperhead in 2013, playing without a bogey on the weekend. And if history is any indication, he will do it again. Each of the other 10 players to win the Valspar Championship is a winner of multiple PGA TOUR events.
K.J. Choi completed the only wire-to-wire win in Innisbrook history when he fired an opening round 63 and never looked back en route to a record 7-shot win in the 2002 Tampa Bay Classic. He said he was fueled by the excellent Korean cuisine he found at a restaurant in Tampa early in the week. Choi would win again in 2006. “K.J. likes it around here,” said one rival pro.
Fans who weathered a long Thursday rain delay in 2008 were treated to an unusual sight when John Daly resumed his round late in the afternoon. Absent was Daly’s regular caddie, and in his place was Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden who made headlines when he looped seven holes in the twilight for the former British Open champion.
THE SNAKE PIT
Beginning with the long par-4 16th very tough three-hole finishing stretch, known as “The Snake Pit.” The 16th course and collectively the trio usually ranks in the top 5 of closing stretches on TOUR. “The Snake Pit is a great name for that stretch,” says 2011 champ Gary Woodland. "You just have to always be on the lookout and on your toes."
The Copperhead was the masterpiece of noted architect Larry Packard who worked on more than 600courses in his career. He designed the Copperhead with championship golf in mind, and saw his dreamcome to fruition in 1990 when the first JCPenney Classic was held on it. The course was recently selectedin a survey of PGA TOUR pros as one of the 10 best on the PGA TOUR. Packard made his home at Innisbrook for many years and was a familiar figure during tournament competition, almost always attired in a plaid jacket. He passed away earlier this year at age 101.
Raising money for area charities has always been a major goal of the Copperheads, the host organization for PGA TOUR events on the Copperhead. To date, more than $30 million has been generated for Tampa Bay area charities.