The field kept getting stronger and stronger as the weeks and days ticked by leading up to the Valspar Championship’s commitment deadline.

Attractive Field, Ronde Barber, Gronk, Darius Rucker Highlight 2023 Valspar

Valspar Championship’s
Photo By: Tom Layberger

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – The field kept getting stronger and stronger as the weeks and days ticked by leading up to the Valspar Championship’s commitment deadline.

It was announced on Friday, deadline day, that Keegan Bradley joined the field to play in the tournament, which gets underway Thursday at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course.

Bradley was the 2021 Valspar runner-up and is currently No. 20 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Bradley’s commitment came on the heels of those from Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose earlier in the week. The tournament received a commitment from Justin Thomas at the end of February. All told, the field includes five top-15 players with Bradley joining No. 9 Thomas, No. 12 Fitzpatrick, No. 14 Sam Burns and No. 15 Jordan Spieth.

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The 26-year-old Burns will be seeking a three-peat having won the Valspar the past two years. The Louisiana native was a first-time PGA Tour winner at the 2021 event, in which he defeated Bradley by three strokes. Burns bested Davis Riley in a playoff last year.

“I think that obviously there’s something about (the Tampa Bay area) and that golf course that I wish could translate to every week, but there’s something I just love about that place and I look forward to coming back every year,” said Burns, via Zoom during last month’s media day.

While the field is very attractive, the Valspar is much more than golf. It is an event that serves up something for the entire family.

“There really is something for everybody, and you do not have to be a diehard PGA Tour fan to come enjoy and have fun,” said tournament director Tracy West, who noted, among other attractions, a Family Fun Zone, a hospitality area for active and retired military and a Darius Rucker concert following the third round of play Saturday. “We try to make this the place to be in Tampa Bay that week. When all is said and done, we crown a great champion on Sunday, and we have raised a lot of money for charity in the Tampa Bay community while also making a financial impact within the community.”

Indeed, West, her staff, nearly 2,000 volunteers, and everybody else involved have made it the place to be. Last year’s tourney attracted about 125,000 patrons. In 2018, when Tiger Woods highlighted the field, roughly 175,000 came through the resort’s gates.

The Buccaneers’ two Super Bowl-winning teams will be represented at the tournament. Ronde Barber, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 and a member the 2002 title team, is in his ninth year on the board of directors and his second year as the general chair of the Copperheads. The non-profit Copperhead Charities, Inc. operates the tournament. Barber will have a day in his honor – Ronde Barber Appreciation Day – on Thursday.

On Friday, St. Patrick’s Day, Rob Gronkowski is scheduled to appear at the Rooftop, the tournament’s newest attraction, which is adjacent to the 18th hole. The former tight end was a member of the Super Bowl LV champs.

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