FedEx Cup: Transitions Championship

Fed Ex Cup:        Transitions Championship

Day 15, Dear Diary, we are still in Florida. I’m now sick of the oranges and bored of the theme parks and even after a four and half hour drive, we are in Palm Harbor but it doesn’t feel like Florida.

This week on the greatest game on grass, it’s the PGA Tours Transitions Championship from Copperhead; a favorite among PGA TOUR professionals. The Copperhead Course is the most recognizable of Innisbrook’s four courses – not least due to 12 years of this tournament but also the Legends Tour Open Championship.

Date:                     15th – 18th March 2012

Venue:                 Innisbrook Resort, Copperhead, Palm Harbor, Florida

Tree-lined fairways and rolling terrain define the course – a lengthy challenge for even the longest hitters at more than 7,300 yards. Striking in beauty and challenge, the surrounding lakes and ponds are home to abundant flora and fauna including fox squirrels, bald eagles, alligators, blue herons, and probably more oranges. As a resort course lacking in property developments, Copperhead provides the opportunity to enjoy golf the way nature intended. With its unusual elevation changes, the natural setting of the Copperhead course will probably remind you of a Carolina layout rather than Florida’s West Coast

Yards:                   7,340 yards

Par:                        Par 71


The pros love it here – Curtis Strange says if he could only play one course forever, it would be Copperhead and Paul Azinger says it’s the best you play on the PGA Tour. With its elevated tee shots and undulating fairways it’s a fair test of golf welcoming much of the world’s best golfers including Matt Kuchar (25/1/), Lucas Glover (80/1) and Louis Oosthuisen (80/1). It also welcomes European Tour players who have made the journey over like Tom Lewis (175/1), Padraig Harrington (66/1) and Arjan Atwal (600/1 – all with SportingBet).


Copperhead Golf Course, host of the PGA Tour’s Transitions Championship this week, has caused a certain Tiger Woods at his peak to remark, “this is not a course I can overpower”.

From it’s the black tournament tees, the 7,340-yard, par-71 Copperhead layout presents a stern test of golf – the daunting layout combines narrow, tree-lined fairways with elevation change and very firm, fast greens. In addition its lakes and ponds help make it a breath-taking experience from tee through green. It’s a toughie!

Ones to watch:

My pick this week grew up near Augusta National GC, home of the Masters, and was a member of Augusta Country Club, which is adjacent to Amen Corner. He has had 3 top 25’s in 8 outings in 2012 including a 2nd at the Sony Open in Hawai. Charles Howell III lies 18th in the FedEx cup despite a quiet start to the season and ranks as high as anyone in eagles and birdies – perfect for a course with 4 par fives. A sleeping giant in the field this week – showing in his odds of 50/1 with bwin. Don’t say I didn’t tell you…

In his last two starts in the U.S., Peter Hanson (40/1 with BetDaq) has reached the quarterfinals at the Accenture Match Play, then tied for fourth at Cadillac. He also was runner-up in Qatar earlier this year, and he’s familiar with Innisbrook. A generous each way bet – but worth it on this stateside form.

Ones to win:

Charl Schwartzel (16/1 at Ladbrokes) is clearly one of the five best players in the world, and he showed it last week at TPC Blue Monster. Even as some of his shots misfired, he made up for it by holing putts from all over the greens. He has had two top 5’s from three starts in the US – and three top 5’s in 6 starts in Europe – and that’s just this year!  Came 4th last weekend at the WGC Cadillac but prove at the Masters last year – he can turn on the form to win.

KJ Choi (45/1 with 888Sport) is the reigning Players champion and who always plays at his very best on the most demanding of courses. This is reflected by the quality of his eight career victories. Two of those have come on the Copperhead course, where the South Korean was also runner-up in 2010. You may not know but KJ is one of the Tours best from inside 150 yards – a strong asset on a course like this where recovery and course management will be required.

Trick shots:

Scott Stallings to go lowest in the first round returns 200/1 with StanJames – he did it last year here!

Sergio Garcia & Jason Day together in a Double Chance returns 16/1 with SkyBet.

Thank me later!