The 2018 Valspar Classic is a PGA Tour event taking place March 8-11 at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, FL, just north of Tampa. The tournament began life as the Tampa Bay Classic in 2000, and has slowly risen in prominence to its current position on the Florida Swing of the PGA Tour.
The field is filling out with numerous former winners including two-time winners K.J. Choi and Brian Gay as they seek to be the first golfers to win three Valspar Championship titles. Last year’s winner Adam Hadwin also returns to defend his crown. In addition, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth are considered favorites as three of the highest ranked golfers in the tournament. Finally, Rory McIlroy makes his debut at Innisbrook alongside the always entertaining Tiger Woods.
Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club
The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club always provides a challenge each March. Designed by Lee Packard, it is noted for narrow fairways and challenging hole design, including several holes with double doglegs. However, it is best known for its difficult ending trio, known as the “Snake Pit”.
The Snake Pit begins with the 16th hole known as the Moccasin, a narrow dogleg right that has trees on the left and water on the right. It then finishes with an elevated green and allows little room for error. This is followed by hole 17, the Rattler, a long 215 yard par-3 with a guarded green. Last, the course finishes on the aptly named Copperhead, an uphill par-4 with deep bunkers and deceptively sloping green. Together, the Snake Pit is considered one of the most difficult ending holes on the tour.
Tickets are available locally at Publix Super Markets or online (link in Resources). Spectators can buy daily tickets for $39, or buy a weekly book of pass for access Thursday-Sunday for $125. In addition, active and reserve members of the military may reserve 2 complimentary tickets while military veterans are also able to get a discount. Children 15 and under do not need their own ticket but must be accompanied by an adult. The tournament plays a round each day beginning on Thursday and finishing up on Sunday. Fans can also watch the practice round Tuesday, March 6 for free and Wednesday’s Pro-Am for $10. Gates open at 6:00am Tuesday-Friday and at 7:00am Saturday and Sunday.
Spectators should be sure to follow all rules while viewing the tournament. Cell phones and tablets must be on silence and can only be used in permitted areas. Please note that players are not allowed to sign autographs until after they have completed their round of golf. Fans should always be respectful of golfers time and personal space. Spectators must stick to clear bags or bags smaller than 6 x 6 x 6 inches. Umbrellas and collapsible chairs are allowed, but they must be brought without storage bags. A full list of spectator rules and additional information can be found in this article’s Resources.
Coverage of the Valspar Championship will also be available through the Golf Channel and NBC. Golf Channel will cover the tournament 2-6pm Thursday and Friday and 1-3pm Saturday and Sunday. NBC will cover the final two rounds in primetime Saturday and Sunday 3-6pm. In addition, radio coverage will be available Thursday and Friday 12-6pm and Saturday and Sunday 1-6pm from PGA TOUR Radio on Sirius XM and PGATOUR.com.