PALM HARBOR, Fla. – The PGA Tour’s Florida Swing concludes this week at the Valspar Championship, where world No. 1 Dustin Johnson headlines a group of 144 players set to tackle the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort. Here’s a look at some of the early-round featured groups to keep an eye on, as Paul Casey defends his title against a field that also includes one of last year’s runners-up (all times ET):
8:13 a.m. Thursday, 1:03 p.m. Friday: Webb Simpson, Jason Day, Jon Rahm
Rahm is only days removed from a near-miss at The Players Championship, having surrendered the 54-hole lead en route to a T-12 finish. He’ll look to bounce back alongside Day, who challenged last week at TPC Sawgrass and will be making his first Valspar appearance since a T-43 finish back in 2013. Rounding out the group is Simpson, who finished T-16 last week as the defending champ and tied for eighth here last year.
8:24 a.m. Thursday, 1:14 p.m. Friday: Patrick Reed, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia
This group includes each of the last two Masters champs, as Reed gets set to serve his champions’ dinner menu in Augusta in a few weeks’ time after Garcia’s Spanish-themed meal from a year ago. Reed tied for second last year alongside Tiger Woods at Innisbrook, finishing one shot behind Casey, and he also lost in a playoff to Jordan Spieth back in 2015. Garcia has racked up top-25 finishes in each of his last three starts, while Stenson finished T-11 or better in three straight Valspar appearances before missing the cut last year.
1:03 p.m. Thursday, 8:13 a.m. Friday: Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey, Gary Woodland
Casey rallied during last year’s final round to earn his first PGA Tour victory since 2009, and he returns one month after letting another title slip away at Pebble Beach. Johnson’s T-5 finish at TPC Sawgrass was his first top-10 in 11 Players appearances, and this week marks his first trip to Tampa since missing the cut in 2010. Woodland earned his first career victory at this event back in 2011 and has now gone a full year without missing a cut, a span of 22 starts.
1:14 p.m. Thursday, 8:24 a.m. Friday: Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson, Brandt Snedeker
Furyk turned a surprise start into a seven-figure runner-up finish last week on the Stadium Course, a result that vaulted him into next week’s WGC field. But he’s still playing this week on a course where he won back in 2010, and he’ll be joined for the first 36 holes by Watson, who finished third nine years ago behind Furyk and K.J. Choi. Rounding out the trio is Snedeker, whose T-5 finish last week was his first top-10 result since the season-opening Safeway Open.