By William G. Smith
The 2023 Valspar Championship, the Tampa Bay area’s PGA tournament will be held at the Innisbrook Resort from March 13 -19. Valspar is entering its’ 10th year as title sponsor with Ronde Barber as General Chair of the Championship. Barber will be honored at the tournament on March 16 as he celebrates his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Barber was a member of the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2000s at cornerback, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, and a three-time-first-team All-Pro. He played in 241 games, starting 232 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After his rookie season, he did not miss a game for 15 consecutive seasons. He also recorded 47 interceptions and 28 sacks. Barber said, “the game has changed a little bit. There are a lot more opportunities for guys to do it. But, being able to do it for 15 years and not miss a game. That should say something and I think it finally did.” Barber will be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio August 6, 2023.
The PGA Tour has made some big changes over the past year, one of the most significant being increasing the prize money payouts for tournaments bowing to competitive pressure from the new LIV Tour. In the process, the PGA Tour has a new classification system for their tournaments, and with that comes a new term, “designated events.”
PGA Tour designated or “elevated events” are 17 tournaments throughout the year that will have the best players competing for increased purses. Players who finished in the top 20 of the 2022 Player Impact Program (PIP) are required to play in the elevated events in which they are eligible to play, although players are allowed to skip one over the course of the year. The change was made to have more tournaments where all of the top PGA Tour players are competing at the same time for purses that have dramatically increased from a year ago to $20 million for most of them.
The Valspar Championship has a prize purse of $8.1 million. The winner receives $1,404,00 and 500 FedEx Cup points.
Sam Burns won the Championship in 2021 and 2022. Burns will be defending in 2023. Seven of the previous nine men to three-peat are World Golf Hall of Famers. Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller and Gene Littler are the Hall of Famers who have three-peated since World War II. Steve Stricker is the most recent to achieve back-to-back-to-back winning the John Deere Classic in 2009-11.
The partial list of players committed to play the 2023 Valspar includes Sam Burns, Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, J.T. Poston, Maverick McNealy, Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, and Brandon Wu among others.
A week-long celebration of sport and entertainment is planned, including country music superstar Darius Rucker who will be the featured performer at the 7th edition of Valspar LIVE. The concert series associated with the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship, is Saturday, March 18. Rucker will perform a full show on the Osprey Driving Range, immediately adjacent to the Copperhead Course shortly after the conclusion of Saturday’s play at approximately 6:30 pm. The concert is free to all ticketed golf fans.
The Valspar Championship has a long history of supporting charity in the Tampa Bay area with now more than $49 million generated in its history including $1,750,364 in 2022. The Championship is asking patrons to join in supporting “Feeding Tampa Bay” in an effort to combat hunger in Tampa Bay by encouraging fans to bring a shelf-stable food item to the Championship on Sunday, March 19 as a donation to “Feeding Tampa Bay.”