The world’s top two golfers will both be in action this weekend as Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas headline the field for the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida.
Johnson comes into the Valspar Championship as the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer, while Thomas is No. 2 on the Official World Golf Rankings.
Thomas, Johnson looking forward to Innisbrook
But it’s Thomas who enters the tournament as the favorite. FanDuel Sportsbook lists him as the +900 pick to win the Valspar Championship, with Johnson (+1100) following close behind.
Both golfers say they’re looking forward to competing at Innisbrook this weekend.
“I love this tournament. I love this golf course,” Thomas told reporters. The golf course is right in front of you. It’s not anything that’s tricked up. It’s not anything that’s hidden. It’s all right there. You see the narrow fairway out there and you’ve got to hit it, and if you don’t, you get out of position, you’re really just trying to somehow make a par, and the greens are small and severe.”
Johnson has struggled this season, relatively speaking. He’s gone five straight starts without finishing in the top 10, and even missed the cut when trying to defend his Masters title. But he says that he’s close to being where he wants to be.
“I just haven’t put it all together, especially for a week. But I feel like I’m driving it good again,” Johnson told reporters. “Just a little off with the irons at Hilton Head. Obviously, I hit a lot of good shots, but just didn’t hit enough and made too many costly mistakes with the irons.”
|Valspar Championship Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Justin Thomas: +900||Dustin Johnson: +1100|
|Corey Conners: +1900||Patrick Reed: +1900|
|Paul Casey: +2100||Viktor Hovland: +2100|
|Justin Rose: +2700||Scottie Scheffler: +2700|
|Russell Henley: +2900||Sungjae Im: +2900|
Johnson predicted that the winner wouldn’t have to score low to walk away with the Valspar Championship trophy.
“You don’t have to shoot way under par,” Johnson said. “You just shoot a couple under each day, and you’re going to have a chance to win come Sunday.”
Four withdraw from Valspar Championship
Thomas and Johnson will face a somewhat depleted field this weekend. Four different players have withdrawn from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19. That’s the highest number of positive coronavirus tests on the PGA Tour since play resumed last June.
Tyrrell Hatton withdrew on Tuesday to become the most prominent player to leave the field. The No. 8 ranked Hatton became the highest-ranked player to test positive on tour since Johnson did last October.
Sadly I have had to withdraw this week from the @ValsparChamp after testing positive for COVID-19 today.
I will now be self isolating under the CDC guidelines.
I wish everyone well this week and look forward to being back out on tour soon.
Tyrrell 🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/ABxvNGUe5E
— Tyrrell Hatton (@TyrrellHatton) April 27, 2021
“Sadly I have had to withdraw this week from the Valspar Championship after testing positive for COVID-19 today,” Hatton wrote on Twitter. “I will now be self-isolating under CDC guidelines. I wish everyone well this week and look forward to being back out on tour soon.”
Brice Garnett, Will Gordon, and Sepp Straka have also withdrawn from the tournament.
However, there will still be some prominent names in the field to challenge Thomas and Johnson. No. 7 ranked Patrick Reed and Corey Conners both come in as +1900 choices at FanDeul, followed by Paul Casey (+2100) and Viktor Hovland (+2100).