Talk about a hole-in-one

The Snake Pit

The tour heads to Tampa for the 2016 Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course. The course has ranked within the Tour’s 10 most difficult non-major setups the past 3 years and requires patience and precise shots. “The Snake Pit” is Copperhead’s formidable closing stretch of holes (16-18) that lies ready to bite any loose shots down the stretch. 

Last year’s tournament served as the springboard for Jordan Spieth’s historic run after he captured the event in a 3-man playoff over Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair.  It was Spieth’s 2nd career PGA Tour win and his 1st of 6 in 2015. Spieth won the playoff in walk-off fashion, draining this 20 foot birdie putt...

This year’s field is strong with Spieth defending his championship along with fellow top 15 players Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Danny Willett and Brendan Grace.

Hardboiled picks to click

Stud: Jason Dufner
DraftKings Salary: $9,400
Dufner has had a great start to 2016 winning the CareerBuilder Challenge and last week’s T11th finish at Doral. Dufner is known as one of the best ball-strikers on tour, has gone 7 for 7 in cuts made at the Valspar and hasn’t finished worse than t28th in his past 5 appearances.

Value: K.J. Choi
DraftKings Salary: $8,800
The wily veteran is a 2-time champion at Innisbrook and contended late on Sunday at both Riviera and Pebble earlier this year, finishing 5th and 2nd respectively. Choi is the leading money-winner of all time at Innisbrook and a good value for the week at $8,800. 

Sleeper: Justin Leonard
DraftKings Salary: $6,100
Leonard came out of hibernation at Riviera sporting a new beard and a revitalized golf game where he finished 16th. The former British Open Champion has a good track record navigating the Snake Pit, finishing in the top 30 in 3 of his last 5 starts at Innisbrook (including a 4th place finish in 2013).

A million-dollar swing

On Monday, Rickie Fowler may have made his swing of the season at Ernie Els’ annual pro-am outing for autism research. The event has a 19th hole competition for a $1 million donation for any hole-in-one made. Fowler, who had already changed out of his golf shoes, used Luke Donald’s pitching wedge to sink the 113-yard shot and earn $1 million for autism research (donated by SAP and Ketel One, who will be cashing in on a hefty insurance policy). 

The Mechanic heads to Thailand

According to an excellent marketing ploy, Miguel Angel Jimenez joins the European Tour in Thailand this week for the True Thailand Classic. With many stars still in America following last week’s WGC event, this week’s field includes the aforementioned Jimenez, budding star Thomas Pieters and Thongchai Jaidee. 

Countdown to Augusta

As part of our coverage of the 2016 Masters, we will take an in-depth look at a different contender every Monday and Wednesday.

Contender: Justin Rose
Odds-to-win: 25-1
Recent Masters Play: t2nd (2015), t14th (2014), t25 (2013)

The 2013 U.S. Open Champion, Justin Rose, is one of golf’s premier players. Rose has competed at Augusta 11 times and made the cut 10 times with 3 top 10 finishes. He is coming off his best finish ever in 2015 where he tied for second at -14, a total that would have won or tied for 1st in 74 of the 79 Masters. The Englishman’s combination of length (17th on Tour in driving distance) and experience give Rose an excellent chance to win at Augusta.  

College golf roundup

The spring season is in full swing with 4 top-notch events this week. Little-known Troy University was able to beat out top 5 powerhouse Auburn at their home event, The Tiger Invitational. 

A few lucky teams got to spend the week at Bandon Dunes for the Bandon Dunes Championship, which saw top 10-ranked Clemson run away with the win by 15 shots over Washington. 

South Carolina grabbed their first victory of 2016 at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Open

Looking for a distraction at work? The Southern Highlands Collegiate wraps up play today with 8 of the nation’s top 15 teams in the field. Currently, Southern California holds an 8-shot lead going into the final round. 

Wednesday’s workout

This week’s exercise comes from our friends at Rotera Fitness for a great way to build up your ab muscles. The hanging knee raise is an easy way to build abdominal strength that shows.

Quick hooks 

One less thing for the Olympic Committee to worry about, the golf course

Dufner takes some cuts at Blue Jays spring training.

Current Masters odds

Phil talks trash (unless Tiger’s around).