The Fresh Coat - Wednesday March 9
Wednesday was a red letter day (and actually all the other colors of the rainbow as well) at the Valspar Championship presented by BB&T. The golf fans of Tampa Bay learned that the area would be a PGA TOUR destination through at least 2020 as Valspar, the PGA TOUR and Copperhead Charities, the tournament’s host organization, announced a three-year extension of Valspar’s title sponsorship.
“If you look back to that point in time in 2013 where we were uncertain as to who the future title would be and you look at where we are today, there’s been nothing but incredible progress,” said Jay Monahan, the PGA TOUR’s deputy commissioner, in making the announcement of the first title sponsor extension in tournament history. “Since the moment that Valspar stepped forward it’s been very clear that they were a hundred percent committed to Tampa Bay, to this tournament and to growing their business through the tournament. They are the epitome of a great partner.”
“We’re really proud of our ability to sponsor the tournament and make an impact with charities in the Tampa Bay area,” said Valspar CEO Gary Hendrickson. “It’s been great for Valspar as well. We think it is a fantastic place to showcase our brand and our products. We really want to continue to make the progress we’ve made on this tournament.”
“It’s exciting for all of us, including Sheila Johnson and her Innisbrook team. She likes this partnership,” said Les Muma, General Chairman of Copperhead Charities. “Valspar, they are the ideal sponsor.”
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With that good news announced, the 2016 tournament will begin on Thursday with Jordan Spieth, the number one ranked player in the world, beginning his title defense off the 10th tee at 8:07 a.m., playing with Henrik Stenson and Bill Haas, two fellow winners of the FedExCup.
“I’m excited that the sponsorship is now extended through 2020. Obviously, it is going to be held here in a place that I really enjoy coming to and fits my game well. That’s obviously great news for me as well as the TOUR and Valspar.”
Playing one group ahead of Spieth, at 7:56, will be the group of Graeme McDowell, Patrick Reed and Hunter Mahan. McDowell is competing on the Copperhead Course for the first time. “I like the way it sets up,” said McDowell who made a special trip to Innisbrook Resort for a practice round two weeks ago. “A lot of players had talked to me about this event many times. I really like the golf course.”
The other tee times for the first two rounds can be found here.
After the 144 players complete their opening rounds on Thursday, country music giants Rascal Flatts will perform on the Osprey Driving Range in the 2nd VALSPAR Live! event. The entrance to the concert area is behind the 14th green with gates opening at 5 p.m. It is festival seating (with a limited number of chairs available for rent). The concert should begin around 7 p.m.
Live coverage of the Valspar Championship on the Golf Channel will begin at 3 p.m. on Thursday. In addition the Spieth-Stenson-Haas and McDowell-Reed-Mahan groups are featured in exclusive early-round coverage on PGA TOUR LIVE with coverage from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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In Wednesday’s action on the Copperhead, the Championship Pro-Am was won by Charl Schwartzel and his amateur partners Gary Foerster, John Ballbach and Les Herald. Their 14-under-par 57 was one shot better than the teams of Ryan Palmer, Steve Stricker and James Hahn.