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High should help at Valspar Championship

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- There's a big difference between smart research and extraneous analysis.

I'll admit that I might be guilty of the latter this week.

About a month ago, I had an opportunity to tee it up at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course, host of this week's Valspar Championship. Over the past few years, the Copperhead track has been lauded by players as one of their favorites on the annual PGA Tour schedule.

It's a no-nonsense course that's difficult without being tricked up and playable without yielding too many birdies.

What I found there recently is that the course is going to have a bit of a different look and feel this year.

Some bunkers were restored and there was some general maintenance to sort of "clean up" the course a little bit.

The biggest difference, though, will be the greens, all 18 of which were completely redone since last year's tournament.

It was a smart and necessary move -- one that will pay off in the long run. In the meantime, however, while the putting surfaces should be rolling perfectly smooth for putts, like most new greens, they have some extra bounce to them.

Approach shots that might have found the back of the green a year ago could carom into the awaiting rough behind it. Chip shots that might have checked could take an extra hop past the hole.

Now, these are some of the world's best golfers, not a bunch of media hacks during a Monday outing. After three days of practice around the restored greens, I fully expect them to have a clever grasp of just how different they're playing than in previous years.

All of which leads to my extraneous analysis.