Nine Champion Golfers headline in Tampa
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy make their debut at the Valspar Championship.
With the tee times announced for the first two days there's no doubting which grouping is most eye catching. Tiger Woods tees up alongside the last two winners of the Claret Jug: Henrik Stenson and Jordan Spieth. The current Champion Golfer of the Year joins eight former Champions in Tampa, Florida this week.
Last year's Open runner-up Matt Kuchar tees up alongside the in-form Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott. Meanwhile 2014 Champion Golfer Rory McIlroy makes his first appearance at the Valspar Championship and plays alongside Gary Woodland and Justin Rose.
Recharged Rose Ready
With Phil Mickelson back in the winner’s circle and Tiger Woods back on a golf course, it seems like a long time since Justin Rose was the game’s form player. But it cannot be overstated just how good he was at the end of 2017 when he won three times and claimed ten consecutive top-ten finishes.
Since then, Mickelson, Woods and Justin Thomas have commanded the headlines but Rose is back after a well-deserved break. The Olympic champion finished 15 shots behind Mickelson at the WGC-Mexico Championship last weekend, his first tournament in over a month. After a slow start to the week, he gradually came to the boil – shooting an impressive four-under par round of 67 on the final day.
Tiger Continues Comeback
With Phil Mickelson back in the winners’ circle and Tiger Woods showing flashes of his old self, golf fans can be forgiven for feeling a little nostalgic. Mickelson has vowed his win last weekend is far from his last hurrah and that may just inspire Woods, who produced a tantalising hint that he might just be able to rediscover his best form at The Honda Classic two weeks ago.
The three-time Champion Golfer of the Year was not exempt for last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship but he has announced he will play this week and next ahead of the Masters. Finding some consistency off the tee will be his aim this week, with his iron play and short game looking strong, and he knows that if he is to have any chance at Augusta in four weeks then all facets of his game must be in tune.
McIlroy Anticipates Turnaround
Rory McIlroy started 2018 with two top-three finishes but he arrives in Tampa with a few creases to iron out. The Northern Irishman’s last three results have been underwhelming but he now has three tournaments before the Masters to sort out his troublesome putting.
Johnston on the up
The European Tour arrives in India for the Hero Indian Open – and Andrew Johnston, in particular, can’t wait to get going. The Englishman, who finished eighth at The 146th Open, has not won on the European Tour since his maiden victory at the Open de Espana two years ago.
But after a solid performance at the NBO Oman Open earlier this month, where he was in contention ahead of the final round, the popular Londoner insists his game is getting back to its best. “The aim is to get another win on the board. I played well at the start of the year so I've just got to keep that going and keep working hard,” he said.