sport

Donald eyes Florida success

The tournament may have a new name again, but Luke Donald will hope that is the only thing that has changed at Innisbrook this week.

Donald has an excellent record on the Copperhead Course which hosts the Valspar Championship, an event known as the Tampa Bay Championship last year and the Transitions Championship before that.

The former world number one lifted the title in 2012 and was also sixth in 2010 and fourth last year, and will be in good company for the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday.

Donald has been paired with defending champion Kevin Streelman and 2011 winner Gary Woodland as he looks to build on some encouraging form in his last two starts.

The 36-year-old was eighth at the Honda Classic and 25th in last week's WGC-Cadillac Championship, where a second round of 82 in Friday's bad weather ruined his chances of victory at Doral.

"Shame about the second round this week, lots of positives from the other 3 rounds however," Donald wrote on Twitter. "Excited for Copperhead next week."

Donald has slipped to 25th in the world as he overhauls his long game with new coach Chuck Cook - who also coaches US PGA winner Jason Dufner - but believes he is on the right path.

"I'm feeling much more confident with trajectory and my swing plane is really good," Donald said. "My posture is a lot better than it used to be.

"I still have a little bit where I want to hit it with my hands and I've just got to keep working on rotating through the ball and hitting it with my body and trusting it. So it's getting very close.

"I'm hitting a lot of shots that I'm really excited about. The last two weeks, my short game has been great too, though, and making some putts and getting up and down is obviously good for scoring as well. But it's nice to have all parts come together."

Former Open champion Darren Clarke makes his debut in the event, while US Open champion Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Paul Casey, Nicolas Colsaerts and Matteo Manassero are also in the field.