Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

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Jordan Spieth ready to roll at Copperhead 03-07-2018
Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth heads down to the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club looking for his first victory of the 2018 PGA Tour season. Spieth has turned in six top-20 finishes, including a third-place showing at the Hero World Challenge. But he hasn't been able to get over the hump on Sundays just yet. Still, six made cuts in seven events and three top-10 showings doesn't exactly mean it's time to press the panic button. We've just become spoiled by Spieth in the past, and expect him to tick off a win or two by now. Perhaps Copperhead is where he'll hoist that first trophy, as he won at the course as recently as 2015 when he edged out Sean O'Hair and Patrick Reed in a playoff.
Mixed results for Talor Gooch recently 03-07-2018
Talor Gooch
Talor Gooch heads down to the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club looking to bounce back after a missed cut last time out at The Honda Classic. Gooch has been a busy beaver, as this will be his 12th event of the 2018 PGA Tour season, so perhaps he has hit a little bit of a wall. He started off strong with seven cuts made in his first eight events, but missed the mark at Pebble Beach and PGA National. He has been a bit inaccurate off the tee, and he ranks 162nd in GIR, so that part of his game has been problematic. Gooch is a good player out of the sand, however, and that should give him some confidence at Copperhead. And he has been a decent scrambler, particularly from over 20 yards, while the putter has been working, too. Gooch isn't a slam-dunk play, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a little exposure to him in DFS if you run multiple lineups. He is a sleeper with a lot of upside.
Brandon Harkins sails into Innisbrook on roll 03-07-2018
Brandon Harkins
Brandon Harkins heads to the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club this week looking to stay on a roll. Harkins has already rolled up over $772K in earnings this season, making the cut in nine of his 11 events. He has finished inside the Top 20 in three of the past five tournaments, including an eighth-place finish at the CareerBuilder Challenge in mid-January. Harkins has used a nice combination of power, finesse and precision to make a name for himself. He ranks 51st in Driving Distance (301.7 yards), while checking in 31st on tour in Scoring Average (70.185). However, he is also very solid as a scrambler, and his putter has been working, too. In fact, he ranks 30th in Putts Per Round (28.6). Toss in a strong Sand Save Percentage (54.93 percent), and Harkins is quite a nice mid-tier DFS sleeper at Copperhead.
Estes, 52, makes his second start of season 03-07-2018
Bob Estes
World No. 1503 Bob Estes is in Palm Harbor, Florida, for this week's Valspar Championship, his first appearance at the Copperhead Course since a missed cut in 2013.
At 52 years of age, the Texan is one of three 50-somethings in the field, joining Steve Stricker (51) and Davis Love III (53). He's made just one start (of eight) on a Major Medical Extension and has seven starts remaining to earn $479,415 or 300.010 FedExCup points to retain status. The University of Texas product missed the cut two weeks ago at the Honda, which was his first event since a MC at the 2017 Wyndham over seven months ago. His last made cut was a T70 (of 76) at the 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson. Estes did make his 10th career start on the PGA TOUR Champions last week at the Cologuard Classic in Tucson, Arizona, finishing a career-tying-best T5 on 10-under (71-69-69), four short of champion Stricker. Overall, he's 6-for-10 at the Valspar with a best of T17 in 2004.
Consistency has been key for Jason Kokrak 03-07-2018
Jason Kokrak
Jason Kokrak arrives at the Valspar Championship at Copperhead this week looking for his sixth consecutive cut made. Kokrak has been very consistent and very busy this season, making nine cuts in 10 events entered so far. That includes a pair of top-10 finishes, including an eighth-place showing at the CareerBuilder Challenge when he fired an opening-round 63. He has a nice display of power and finesse, ranking 23rd in Driving Distance (308.1 yards) while showing solid scrambling ability from 30 yards and in. As long as he can avoid Copperhead's many bunkers, as he ranks 117th in tour in Sand Save Percentage (46.67), he'll be a solid No. 3 or 4 DFS option.
Martin Laird looks to continue top-10 streak 03-07-2018
Martin Laird
Martin Laird arrives at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club this week on quite the roll. Laird has posted back-to-back ninth-place finishes at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Genesis Open, rebounding from a pair of missed cuts earlier in January. The Scotsman has been powerful off the tee box, although not terribly accurate. If he does get himself into trouble, he has shown amazing touch around the green from 20 yards in, helping him make up strokes should he have any earlier miscues off the tee. He has had the putter working, too, particularly in the final round when it matters most. Laird ranks seventh on the PGA Tour in putts per round on Sundays.
Rookie Aaron Wise preps for his Valspar debut 03-07-2018
Aaron Wise
PGA TOUR rookie and World No. 191 Aaron Wise is at the Copperhead Course for his Valspar Championship debut and checks in at 82nd in the FedExCup standings.
The 21-year-old South African-born American is one 28 debutants in the 144-man field and one of 12 TOUR rookies. After beginning the season slotted 36th in the Tour Priority Ranking, he's up to 12th on the latest reshuffle (post-Genesis). The California resident is 6-for-11 on the season with four top 25s and best of T13 at the RSM last November, and arrives off a T33 at the Honda two weeks ago (76-69-69-71). He ranks 70th on TOUR in SG: Approach (.249) and 48th in SG: Putting (.399), though 165th in SG: Around-the-Green (-.217).
McIlroy hasn't won anywhere in over 17 months 03-07-2018
Rory McIlroy
World No. 12 Rory McIlroy is in Palm Harbor, Florida, for his Valspar Championship debut and heads out on Thursday at 7:45 am ET with Justin Rose and 2011 champion Gary Woodland, Woodland being the most-recent player to win the Valspar in his first appearance.
McIlroy is one of 28 first-timers in the 144-man field and yet second-highest in pre-tourney odds outright (to 2015 champ Jordan Spieth) at 12/1. His last start was an uninspiring T59 at the Honda two weeks ago, where he finished 17 shots behind champion Justin Thomas on 9-over 289 (72-72-73-72). At the Honda, the Florida resident ranked 75th -- last of those that made the cut -- in "3+ bogeys", losing seven shots to par at the par-3 17th alone with a triple bogey-6 and quadruple bogey-7. He slotted 73rd in SG: Approach (-4.867) and 71st Around (-2.255). This is the Ulsterman's fourth start of the season with one top 25, a T20 at the Genesis. He qualified for, but didn't play in last week's WGC-Mexico. Remarkably, the 28-year-old has not won anywhere since a P1 at the 2016 TOUR Championship nearly 18 months ago, which also won him the FedExCup.
Toe surgery sidelines Jim Herman 03-07-2018
Jim Herman
Jim Herman will be out of action for at least a few months after undergoing toe surgery on March 6th.

Jim Herman (Twitter)
Since the start of 2018, Herman posted finishes of MC-MC-MC-MC before a mid-tournament WD at the Genesis Open. He cited a foot injury as the culprit and followed up on that with his fans via social media. Today on Twitter he shared the following, "I will (literally) have my feet up for a few more months. Surgery on my toes went well yesterday. Now need to get the plantar fasciitis better." Herman currently ranks 202nd in the FedExCup standings and he won't have much time to make up ground upon return (if he returns this season). In the end, this will likely lead to a medical extension at year's end. Season-long gamers can safely cut ties if they are able to make mid-season transactions.
Cink snapping out of slump ahead of Valspar 03-07-2018
Stewart Cink
Stewart Cink looks to snap out of a recent mini-funk as he preps for this week's Valspar Championship.
Cink's last three starts have yielded finishes of T46-MC-MC with the T46 in his last start showing promise after back-to-back missed cuts. Heading back to Innisbrook Resort for the 15th time, Cink is 10-for-14 at this event with six finishes landing inside the top 20. The Georgia resident ranks 28th in GIR percentage this season but his short game has been holding him back from truly contending. Gamers should consider Cink in deeper fantasy formats this week, given his high cut-made ration over the last few years.
Z. Johnson set for ninth Valspar appearance 03-07-2018
Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson hopes the ninth time is the charm as he preps for this week's Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida.
ZJ is just 5-for-8 at this week's Copperhead Course, with only two of those landing inside the top 45. Not the typical Johnson results but it's worth noting that all of those starts came between 2005 and 2013. Perhaps he's recharged his course-vibe batteries in the four years since his last appearance. More recently, ZJ ranks 62nd in the early FedExCup race, going 6-to-6 to start the season. Johnson ranks 13th in strokes gained approaching-the-green but just 100th in putting. If the putter finally heats up, Johnson should find himself back on the podium soon.
Davis Love III back in action at the Valspar 03-07-2018
Davis Love
Davis Love III is returning from a hip replacement, turning his attention toward Innisbrook Resort's Coppehead Course for this week's Valspar Championship.
DL3 tries to put off the surgery but finally made the decision to get his hip replaced last November, shortly after his missed cut at The RSM Classic. The scheduled recovery time was 3-to-4 months so Love is on an aggressive timetable here. The 53-year-old is 0-for-2 this season and brings plenty of question marks with a new hip in play. Gamers should just sit back and watch before considering a re-investment.
Vaughn Taylor WDs ahead of the Valspar 03-07-2018
Vaughn Taylor
Prior to the start of the event, Vaughn Taylor has withdrawn from this week's Valspar Championship, paving the way for first alternate Andrew Putnam.
Taylor was arriving on the heels of four straight cuts made, highlighted by a T11 at the WM Phoenix Open during the first week of February. Despite those solid results, he's signed for rounds in the 60s in just 4-of-12 rounds during that stretch. There is no word on the reason for this WD but gamers should remove Taylor from all lineups this week.
Ty Strafaci preps for TOUR debut at Valspar 03-07-2018
Ty Strafaci
Ty Strafaci turns his attention toward Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course ahead of his PGA TOUR debut which will take place at this week's Valspar Championship.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket won the 2017 Valspar Collegiate Invitational to punch his ticket into this week's field. The sophomore currently ranks 183rd in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. While Strafaci picked up his ticket while playing at The Floridian, this week's Valspar venue will be very comfortable for him. After the Collegiate victory he noted that his family used to vacation to Innisbrook and he estimated that he's played this week's course about 20 times. He is still a long shot to contend but we've seen local knowledge pay off here for amateurs in the past, most notable Lee McCoy who picked up a solo fourth in the 2016 edition.
Chris Couch back in action at the Valspar 03-07-2018
Chris Couch
PGA TOUR winner Chris Couch is returning to competitive golf this week at the Valspar Championship, making his first appearance since August of 2012.
The 44-year-old was last seen at the 2012 Wyndham Championship where he withdrew during round two with a wrist injury. Since that time he's been holding onto a Major Medical Extension with four starts to earn $311,662 if he wants to retain status. Out with a back injury since that time, Couch is a long shot to finish four rounds, let alone contend this week. In his career, he is 71-for-186 with 14 mid-tournament WDs and one DQ.
Rock returning to DLF G&CC for another crack 03-07-2018
Robert Rock
Robert Rock couldn't quite solve the puzzle in last year's Hero Indian Open at DLF G&CC but he's heading back to the Gary Player layout again this week.
The Englishman only managed to shoot 74-77 when the course debuted in 2017 but conditions were so tough over the first two rounds that he missed the cut by a single shot. His 36-hole total was just two more than Anirban Lahiri, who went on to finish T5, so it was hardly a disastrous week. Rock has missed four of five cuts in 2018 but he did post T7 in the Oman Open last month while he ended his 2017 campaign with two top 10s in his final four starts. Capable of hitting plenty of greens, Rock could be a salary-saving option this week.
Saksansin makes long journey to Indian Open 03-07-2018
Poom Saksansin
Poom Saksansin has five top 20s in his last seven starts and will look to keep that run going at this week's Hero Indian Open at DLF G&CC.
The World No. 169 from Thailand has found some fine form in Asia in recent months and even though he couldn't add another good finish in New Zealand last week he still posted bookend 66s at the ISPS HANDA NZ Open. Saksansin finished T22 at DLF G&CC 12 months ago and, on his arrival in India after a 19-hour flight from New Zealand, he said: "The golf course here has an engaging layout but is also very challenging. I'm sure not sure what will happen here. I don't hit long, so I cannot play aggressively. Perhaps, this approach will help me score well." There's a feeling that accuracy could count for plenty this week and Saksansin's straight hitting and recent form make him worthy of inspection.
Kapur hoping for better luck in Indian Open 03-07-2018
Shiv Kapur
Shiv Kapur finally won on home soil for the first time when landing the Asian Tour's Panasonic Open India in November and he'll now try to take the next step and win this week's Hero Indian Open at DLF G&CC.
The Indian has four top 10s in the event, including a third and a fourth, although he missed the cut at DLF G&CC when it was used for the first time last year. On his return this week, Kapur noted: "It's a tough golf course here, but it's not unfair. Some of the changes here (compared to last year) has made it easier when it comes to decision making. For instance, at the 15th, this year, we won't be able to aim for the green. We will all be laying up at the same spot. Similarly, at the 17th, lengthening means you can't aim to hit your ball to the other side of the fairway. Lengthening a golf course doesn't always make it harder. Winning in India last year and getting the monkey off my back is nice. Now, I can free-wheel a bit more." Kapur missed the 54-hole cut at the World Super 6 Perth last time but was T23 in the previous week's Maybank Championship.
Lahiri ready for another crack at Indian Open 03-07-2018
Anirban Lahiri
Anirban Lahiri won the 2015 Hero Indian Open on the way to capturing that year's Asian Order of Merit and he returns home to challenge for the title again this week.
The local hero hasn't finished outside the top five in the last five editions of the tournament and overcame a sticky start to post T5 when the event moved to DLF G&CC last year. Speaking about the venue in Wednesday's press conference, the Indian star said: "The course is in great condition. It is better compared to last year, in general. The changes in the back nine may pose a challenge, especially if the wind picks up. The challenge out there will probably be the greens. If you land your ball in the wrong position, you will probably suffer. But it's going to be the same for everyone. So, I'll just aim to put the ball in play and land on the right positions on the greens." As well as his great form in the event, the 30-year-old is 7-for-8 on the PGA Tour this season. Two starts ago he was T13 with a round to go at Riviera before posting T26.
Larrazábal looking forward to DLF G&CC test 03-07-2018
Pablo Larrazabal
New Hero Indian Open venue DLF Golf & Country Club certainly split opinion when first used on the European Tour last year but Pablo Larrazábal is making positive noises about the Gary Player design ahead of this week's event.
The Spaniard took to social media after seeing the course for the first time and tweeted: "The golf course this week for the Hero Indian Open @MyDLF5 is a very tough and fair golf course i have ever played... awesome test of golf... the best tee to green is going to take the trophy... cant wait for the fight." It could be a key statement given that he was critical of conditions in Dubai, saying the test had now become hitting it hard and then having a putting contest. The four-time European Tour winner brings some hot form to India after finishing T4 in the Qatar Masters and T3 in the Maybank Championship (4th GIR) two starts earlier.
Cameron Smith looks to make it 8-for-8 03-07-2018
Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith rolls into the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club looking to make his eight cut in as many events this season. The Aussie might not be a golfer most casual fans know, but DFS players need to familiarize themselves with him in a hurry. Not only has he made the cut, but he has challenged for the title almost every weekend. He has three top 10 finishes, and six finishes inside the top 20. The outlier was a 48th-place showing at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and really he had just one poor third round at 3-over. He isn't terribly long off the tee, nor is he very accurate. However, DFS players are going to love his accuracy out of the traps this week, as he ranks 13th in Sand Save Percentage. That skill, as well as his outstanding scrambling and putting, will make him a threat at Copperhead into the weekend.
Hudson Swafford looking to get back on track 03-07-2018
Hudson Swafford
Hudson Swafford rolls into the Valspar Championship at Copperhead this week trying to get on track after a couple of shaky performances. Swafford made the cut in his first seven events, but missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and limped to a 64th-place finish at The Honda Classic last week with a final-round 80. He could have some difficulty this weekend at Copperhead, which has challenging traps, as he ranks 100th on the PGA Tour in Sand Save Percentage. However, Copperhead also has some tight fairways, and his accuracy off the tee could aid him. He is 48th on the tour in Driving Accuracy Percentage (63.96) and 32nd in GIR (70.42 percent). As a mid-tier DFS option he isn't a bad contrarian play if he can avoid the bunkers.
Jimmy Walker looks for another Florida cut 03-07-2018
Jimmy Walker
Jimmy Walker rolls into the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club this week looking to make his second consecutive cut. Walker missed the cut in each of his first three events this season, but he has turned things around with cuts made in three of the past four tournaments. That includes a cut made and a 33rd-place finish at The Honda Classic last weekend in Florida. This is his first appearance at Copperhead since the 2013 season when he had a respectable 30th-place showing. He has made the cut in three of his past four events at the course, including a 16th-place finish in 2010.