March 11, 2015 - 10:18am
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T.J. Auclair
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Adam Scott
USA Today Sports Images
If last week's T4 at Doral is any indication, Adam Scott's switch to a short putter should be no issue at all.

The PGA Tour visits the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., for the Valspar Championship.

This is one of the most difficult courses on the PGA Tour, primarily because of its brutal final three holes, known as the Snake Pit.

The Snake Pit begins with a narrow, dogleg right, long par-4 that hugs water. The difficult 215-yard par-3 17th is next before the round ends with the uphill 445-yard par-4 18th.

RELATED: Valspar Championship tee times | Potential 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team

Australia's John Senden returns as the defending champion, but the field is loaded with formidable challengers.

Here are the five you'll want to keep an eye on.

5. Jim Furyk
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T7 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Reason to watch: A winner at Innisbrook in 2010 -- his first of three "Ws" that season on his way to winning the FedExCup -- Furyk has been fantastic in three starts this season. In three starts, Furyk has yet to finish worse than a tie for 14th. Since winning the Valspar Championship in 2010, Furyk has finished no worse than T20 in the event. He also lost in a playoff in 2012. He may not win, but expect Furyk to have a strong showing this week.

4. Luke Donald
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T7 Honda Classic
Reason to watch: By his standards, it's been a rough couple of years for Donald, the former world No. 1. Regardless of that, Innisbrook always seems to bring out the best in Donald. Along with winning in 2012 -- his last win on the PGA Tour -- Donald tied for sixth in 2010, and tied for fourth in both 2013 and 2014. His trend of solid play at Innisbrook will continue this week.

3. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 Northern Trust Open
Reason to watch: Simply put, Spieth is my favorite young gun in the game today. He's incredibly consistent and just always hovering around the first page of leaderboards. I just want to see him close the deal more frequently -- no doubt he wants to do the same thing, but man, it's not easy out there! In two prior Valspar Championship starts, Spieth has finished T20 and T7. The course clearly fits his eye -- and there aren't many out there that don't. Spieth has been piling up the top 10s for a while now. Soon he'll be piling up wins.

2. Gary Woodland
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T2 CIMB Classic
Reason to watch: Woodland showed some promise early in the season with a T2 at the CIMB Classic and a T3 at the Sony Open in Hawaii, but has cooled off a bit since. He could get back on track this week at the Valspar Championship, a tournament in which he won back in 2011 -- his first PGA Tour win. A year ago, Woodland tied for eighth at Innisbrook. He's one of the longest hitters in the game, which comes in handy at this course, and has put in a lot of work on his short game. With injuries hopefully behind him, Woodland could be on the cusp of a break out season.

1. Adam Scott
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 WGC-Cadillac Championship
Reason to watch: Until last week, we hadn't seen Scott on the PGA Tour since early November when he tied for 12th in the WGC-HSBC Champions. And things looked different at Doral... Rather than a long, broomstick putter, Scott was back to the conventional putter with an unconventional grip. If last week was any indication, it doesn't look as though Scott has anything to worry about once the anchoring ban goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2016. He tied for fourth at Doral, three-putting just once, making 87 percent of his putts from inside 10 feet, including an incredible 52-of-52 from five feet and in. If Scott is strutting with that kind of putting confidence come Masters week, look out.

Here's how my five to watch fared at the WGC-Cadillac Championship:

5. Paul Casey -- T38
4. Justin Rose -- 55
3. Bubba Watson -- 3
2. Dustin Johnson -- Winner
1. Patrick Reed -- T23 

5 players to watch at Innisbrook
Greg Jennings
USA Today Sports Images
Minnesota Vikings receiver Greg Jennings loves golf in part "because it develops you mentally."
 
Tuesday was the craziest day on the National Football League calendar, with a plethora of high-profile trades and free-agent signings. Amid all the hullabaloo, however, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings was probably thinking about – golf.
 
Jennings is quite the golf nut – he played some during his youth, but really got into the game during his rookie year with the Green Bay Packers and has pursued it ever since. 
 
He's also been inspired to see people from all walks of life, and parts of the world, succeed in the game. To see "different guys [like Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh] come on strong and be able to play at such high levels," he said in a Q&A on ESPN.com, "it gives us a confidence that you know what, we can play this game, too."
 
As he got into golf, "it became one of those pastimes that I was able to network and spend a lot of time with guys, get to know them better, and even work on my own game," explained Jennings, who led the Vikings with 59 receptions for 742 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.
 
 
"It is one of those games that is very competitive and it is almost like an inner competition because you don't even have to compete with anyone else," he added. "You are competing against yourself. Like the last time you were out, or the last ball you just hit, or the last putt. Different things like that."
 
Because he can only get the sticks out part of the year, he's never gotten his scores to the level he would like. But he knows what he needs to improve from his level of shooting in the high 80s and low 90s: More consistency.
 
And even if his scores aren't what he'd prefer, Jennings enjoys his time out on the course.
 
"I love it because it develops you mentally. If you allow it to get to you, you will become mentally weak," he said. Golf " allows you to become mentally strong if you allow the frustration to kind of subside, and you can allow the mistake and take the failure, to not get frustrated.
 
"That is what it does for me," he added, "that is why I enjoy it."
 
Golf great for networking and competition, says Vikings receiver Greg Jennings
March 8, 2015 - 1:31pm
mark.aumann's picture
Donald Trump and Rory McIlroy
Donald Trump returned Rory McIlroy's 3-iron on Sunday at Trump Doral.

Like "The Lord of the Rings," "Star Wars," "Indiana Jones" and "Back to the Future," the Saga of Rory McIlroy's Chucked 3-Iron has become a trilogy.

The story so far from the Cadillac Championship at Doral's Blue Monster ...

FRIDAY: Club thrown | SATURDAY: Club retrieved

On Friday, McIlroy tossed the offending club into a lake parallel to the eighth hole after a mishit.

On Saturday, a scuba diver showed up, waded into the water and retrieved the club.

On Sunday, course owner Donald Trump walked out to the practice area where McIlroy was warming up and presented the world's top-ranked player with the missing 3-iron, saying "nobody should play with 13 clubs, that's unlucky."

LOST AND FOUND: The oddest things left on the course

See the video here:

 

 

Based on the snippets of conversation heard during the video, it sounds as if McIlroy will give the club back to Trump at the end of the tournament -- possibly to be placed on display at the course, or to be auctioned off for charity.

 

Rory gets his 3-iron back
March 7, 2015 - 6:29pm
mark.aumann's picture
Cadillac Championship
A scuba diver holds aloft the club Rory McIlroy tossed into the lake Friday at Trump Doral's Blue Monster.

An enterprising scuba diver waded into the lake Saturday where Rory McIlroy chucked his Nike 3-iron into the water the day before in a fit of anger, and emerged with a prize.

SPLISH, SPLASH: Rory McIlroy tosses club in lake after bad shot

Here's what NBC's cameras caught on video:

 

 

At this point, details are unknown. Some questions are obvious: Was the diver hired by the course? It would be a serious lapse in security to have a fully wet-suited man with a breathing tank slip unnoticed through the gates. And the fact that the cameras were rolling at that time -- when golf was being played on other parts of the course -- leads one to believe that perhaps the recovery efforts were known beforehand.

Not that we're saying anything's fishy. Just check eBay tomorrow to be sure.

IDENTICAL ACES: Johnson, Holmes make holes-in-one 24 minutes apart

In any case, it's cool that the diver was able to find McIlroy's lost piece of equipment, especially since Marcel Siem reportedly launched one of his own clubs into the drink earlier in the day.

Rory's club recovered