Last Updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 6:06 PM EST
The same day Jim Furyk was named the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook announced he will be part of the field for the 2017 PGA Tour event, March 6th-12th.
Furyk won the Valspar in 2010.
Back to defend his 2016 title will be 2011 Masters champion, Charl Schwartzel.
“It’s a good golf course,” said Schwartzel via conference call from South Africa. “It’s a course that tests every part of your game. Any golf course that gives you two or three options off the tee and makes you shape the golf ball is already a good golf course.”
In the last ten years the margin of victory hasn't been more than two strokes.
Last March, Schwartzel defeated Bill Haas in the tournament’s third playoff in the last five years. In 2015, Jordan Spieth won a three-hole extra session with Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair and ended the year as the number one-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking. In 2012, Luke Donald moved to the top spot in OWGR when he won a four-man playoff with Jim Furyk, Robert Garrigus and Sang Moon Bae. Players gravitate toward the competitive nature of this PGA event and the Copperhead course.
“A lot of times guys feel like event on the PGA Tour feel like putting contests, that you have to make a lot of birdies to have a chance to win,” said NBC Sports golf commentator Gary Koch. “They come here, they know that par is a good score on any given hole and if their gonna shoot a good score they’re going to have to play extrememly well.”
Other notable field commitments include Ryan Moore, who clinched the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup victory. Moore has finished top 5 in the last two Valspar Championships. Henrik Stetson and Matt Kuchar will play after winning silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
2015 Valspar champion Jordan Speith has not committed to play. With eight weeks remaining, the commitment list will grow significantly.
The first golf event of the week will be the Pro-Celebrity-Am co-hosted by Ronde Barber and Derrick Brooks. New faces in this year's group of celebrities includes Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, actor Donny Most (Happy Days) and Richard Karn (Home Improvement), among others.
Away from the competition, there are some new and interesting activities, including the first Food Truck Rally near the 8th green. Some of the Tampa Bay area’s top food truck alternatives will be serving customers on all four days of the tournament. The Food Truck Rally joins Frenchy’s, the Michelob ULTRA 19th Hole and another new option, the Earl of Sandwich, as premium food stops in addition to the traditional concession options. The Hooters Owl’s Nest is a popular premium ticket location at the 12th green. Also new in 2017 is Grape & Grain, a wine and spirits emporium near the 10th tee.
Further highlighting the culinary excitement will be the appearances of celebrity chef Ming Tsai at 1 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday. Tsai, a James Beard and Emmy award winning chef, author, TV/new media host and producer, product developer, food allergy advocate and East-West lifestyle expert will be meeting fans and conducting a cooking demonstration.
Valspar LIVE!, the tournament’s free concert, returns for a third year and in 2017 it is back on Saturday evening. Superstar singer-songwriter, Toby Keith, will perform on the Osprey Driving Range adjacent to the Copperhead Course, following on the heels of The Band Perry (2015) and Rascal Flatts (2016) as feature acts for tournament patrons. Keith, a member of the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, has been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association International with its Songwriter/Artist of the Decade distinction, is a three-time BMI Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year.. His albums have sold more than 40 million copies.
Keith’s appearance is part of Chick-fil-A Moooving Day, as Saturday will also be highlighted by giveaways and other promotions from Chick-fil-A as we salute the golfers making the biggest move towards the top.
Due to the explosive growth of the Valspar Championship, the tournament, like many other PGA TOUR events, must require all parking to be purchased in advance. Fans have three reasonably priced parking options – Green (power lines adjacent to course), Red (St. Petersburg College) and Silver (Carwise Middle School). Parking is easily purchased at http://valsparchampionship.com/tickets/parking/
Charles Howell III
Billy Hurley III
Si Woo Kim
Harold Varner III
*Valspar PR contributed to this report