Welcome to GOLFstats.com! You are currently viewing one of our Preview and Picks post that we publish each week. We also publish special Performance Charts for the tournaments, analyzing results over the past 8 years, a special DraftKings Picks Post, analyzing what picks are the best this week for the DraftKings games, and we do a weekly Key Fantasy Stats Post detailing what stats are most important for this weeks tournament and course, and which players excel in those stats. Very useful!
Our data is updated daily. To access all this info, and so much more, just CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for GOLFstats!

BlogArnold Palmer Invitational Preview and Picks

Arnold Palmer Invitational

March 7th – 10th, 2019

Bay Hill Club

Orlando, FL

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,419

Purse: $9.1 million

with $1,638,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Rory McIlroy

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 55 of the top 100 and 31 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with six players from the top-ten: #2 Justin Rose, #3 Brooks Koepka, #5 Bryson DeChambeau, #6 Rory McIlroy, #7 Rickie Fowler and #10 Francesco Molinari. The other top 50 players are #11 Jason Day, #14 Tommy Fleetwood, #16 Patrick Reed, #17 Bubba Watson, #18 Marc Leishman, #20 Phil Mickelson, #25 Louis Oosthuizen, #27 Hideki Matsuyama, #30 Ian Poulter, #32 Keegan Bradley, #33 Tyrrell Hatton, #34 Rafa Cabrera Bello, #35 Haotong Li, #36 Henrik Stenson, #37 Matt Wallace, #38 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #39 Billy Horschel, #40 Kyle Stanley, #42 Eddie Pepperell, #43 J.B. Holmes, #44 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #45 Shane Lowry, #46 Thorbjorn Olesen, #47 Charles Howell III and #48 Kevin Kisner.

Last year 24 of the top 50 players were in the field

The field includes 14 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for this year.  Those players are #4 Charles Howell III, #6 Rickie Fowler, #7 Marc Leishman, #8 Brooks Koepka, #9 Phil Mickelson, #11 Justin Rose, #12 Bryson DeChambeau, #13 J.B. Holmes, #15 Rory McIlory, #17 Keith Mitchell, #19 Cameron Champ, #22 SiWoo Kim, #24 Adam Long and #25 Lucas Glover.

The field includes 11 past champions: Rory McIlroy (2018), Marc Leishman (2017), Jason Day (2016), Matt Every (2015 & ’14), Martin Laird (2011), Ernie Els (2010 & 1998), Vijay Singh (2007), Rod Perry (2005), Tim Herron (1999), Phil Mickelson (1997) and Robert Gamez (1990).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Arnold Palmer Invitational field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Player Honda Classic WGC Mexico Puerto Rico Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Saudi International Farmers Dubai Desert Desert Classic Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry T of C
Rory McIlroy
(303.33 pts)
DNP 2
(150)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
Ian Poulter
(271.33 pts)
DNP T3
(135)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP T6
(20)
T33
(5.67)
18
(10.67)
Rickie Fowler
(209 pts)
T2
(100)
T36
(21)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Bryson DeChambeau
(194.67 pts)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
7
(18.33)
Hideki Matsuyama
(174.83 pts)
DNP T19
(46.5)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP
Charles Howell III
(168 pts)
DNP T14
(54)
DNP 6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(20)
DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP T8
(16.67)
T14
(12)
Brooks Koepka
(158.17 pts)
T2
(100)
T27
(34.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(15)
DNP 24
(8.67)
Michael Thompson
(155.33 pts)
T16
(34)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP T9
(15)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP
Si Woo Kim
(150.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 3
(90)
T4
(53.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP T40
(3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Phil Mickelson
(144.17 pts)
DNP T39
(16.5)
DNP T37
(13)
Win
(88)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(141.33 pts)
DNP T62
(0)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
T4
(26.67)
Haotong Li
(135.17 pts)
DNP T19
(46.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
J.B. Holmes
(134.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
CUT
(-6.67)
T26
(16)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Martin Trainer
(133.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T28
(14.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T73
(0)
DNP
Matt Wallace
(126.83 pts)
T20
(30)
T33
(25.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP DNP
Bubba Watson
(125.83 pts)
DNP T27
(34.5)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
31
(6.33)
Roger Sloan
(125 pts)
T30
(20)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP
Lucas Glover
(122.67 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Keith Mitchell
(120 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
73
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP
Patrick Reed
(118 pts)
DNP T14
(54)
DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP 56
(0)
T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
T25
(8.33)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(116.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T3
(135)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Daniel Berger
(113.33 pts)
T36
(14)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Jason Day
(112.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 13
(12.33)
Jason Kokrak
(108.67 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Talor Gooch
(100 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Aaron Baddeley
(98.33 pts)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
T49
(1)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(97.17 pts)
DNP T19
(46.5)
DNP T28
(22)
T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T42
(2.67)
DNP DNP
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(96.5 pts)
DNP T19
(46.5)
DNP T25
(25)
T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP DNP
Billy Horschel
(90.5 pts)
T16
(34)
T45
(7.5)
DNP DNP DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP 8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
J.T. Poston
(87 pts)
T36
(14)
DNP DNP T28
(22)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T20
(10)
DNP
Justin Rose
(86.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Win
(88)
DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Keegan Bradley
(84.67 pts)
DNP T10
(60)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP T67
(0)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(7)
T27
(7.67)
Brian Gay
(72.67 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP T60
(0)
T7
(36.67)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(72.33 pts)
T16
(34)
DNP T6
(60)
WD
(-5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Nate Lashley
(66 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Player Honda Classic WGC Mexico Puerto Rico Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Phoenix Open Saudi International Farmers Dubai Desert Desert Classic Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry T of C
Anders Albertson
(-34.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Brendan Steele
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(-32.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T50
(0.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
D.A. Points
(-28.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T42
(8)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Michael Kim
(-27.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T32
(6)
Bronson Burgoon
(-26.67 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Hunter Mahan
(-25.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
T33
(11.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Kyle Stanley
(-24 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T58
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP
J.J. Spaun
(-22.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
T50
(0.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Jimmy Walker
(-19.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP 74
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
T44
(4)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

The Tour is back at Bay Hill which was the pride and joy of Arnold Palmer.  This will be the third time that this event has returned to Bay Hill without Palmer and the concern is still out there that the turnout is not as good.  The field is missing #1 Dustin Johnson, #4 Justin Thomas, #8 Xander Schauffele and #9 Jon Rahm.  Also not playing are some marquee guys like Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, and Matt Kuchar.  The good news, we aren’t going to see a mass exodus as we say in Dallas when Byron Nelson past away.  Frankly, it’s not about the course, the sponsor or the way the tournament is run, again it’s all about the scheduling and players can’t play week in and week out.  We are in the middle of a great run, starting at the Farmers six weeks ago.  On top of the WGC event in Mexico, there is the Players Championship next week and the WGC-Match Play in three weeks.  Then you have the Masters, a really great stretch of golf and maybe too much.

One thing to think about, no matter how good the folks that are running the Arnold Palmer Invitational you will never substitute Arnold Palmer who had a critical role in this event.  The tournament and course had been his pride and joy for three decades since he bought it in the 70s.  Not only did Palmer ticker with the course each year to make it fresh, but Palmer contacted and write letters to players asking them to play.  You know that when you get a letter from Palmer, you just had to play in the event.  Byron Nelson did that for his tournament and no matter what you thought about the course you weren’t going to say no to either Palmer or Nelson.  Down to the point that when players didn’t play, like Bubba Watson a couple of years ago, they would come over and meet with Palmer to explain their reason for being absent.

So unfortunately even though each week has a great event with powerful sponsors, some events won’t be able to get all of the marquee names to play in.  So it will be interesting how the Arnold Palmer Invitational will cope in the years to come.

Tiger onto the DL

Was very saddened on Monday to hear that Tiger had to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer.  Each week that Tiger plays, it’s very important for me because I love when he plays.  I know he isn’t the same player he was 15 years ago, but I still love to see him play, follow a tournament he is in and you always know he will give you 100%.

Tiger sent via twitter the bad news saying that due to a neck strain that he has had for a few weeks he had to withdraw.  The good news, he said it has nothing to do with his lower back and hopes to be ready for next weeks Players Championship.

Now we have to take Tiger’s word that this isn’t that serious and hope that he will be fine for next week’s Players and of course the Masters next month.

In the year since he returned to competitive golf at the Hero at the end of 2017 the one thing that was good is his health and back, not once has he taken an awkward swing or looked like he was favoring any part of his body while swinging the club.  As for his game, it topped off in September with a win at the season-ending Tour Championship.  This year he has shown some improvement in his game finishing T-20th at the Farmers, T-15th at the Genesis and T-10th in Mexico.

The big question will be if he does get over this injury, how his schedule will be after the Players.  He said he would make a decision on if he will play in the Match Play afterward, is there a possibility since he isn’t playing this week that he adds both the Valspar and Match Play?  I tend to doubt it since he doesn’t like to play three weeks in a row, so look for him at the Players and possibly in Austin for the Match Play before the Masters.

Talking about the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship

Are you ready for some match play?  It happens in three weeks and players have this week and next to qualify.  After the Players Championship, those in the top-64 of the world rankings is in.  Right now Ryan Palmer is on the bubble, but with Adam Scott saying he won’t play that means Adam Hadwin would get the last spot.  So in the next two weeks there will be plenty of movement, a perfect example Keith Mitchell was 162nd in the world rankings before Honda and after his win he climbed to 68th.  Those looking to get in are #66 Shugo Imajira, #67 Adrian Otaegul, Mitchell, #69 Ryan Fox and #70 Daniel Berger.  Now we saw what happened to Tiger this week, who knows if Scott will be the only one to miss it which will open up more spots.

Lot’s of newcomers on the leaderboard last week at the Honda

After the 2nd round of the Honda Classic, the leaderboard looked more like a Web.Com Tour leaderboard than a PGA Tour.  The lead was held by Keith Mitchell and Sungjae Im, with Kyoung-Hoon Lee, Wyndham Clark and Adam Svensson in the top-ten.  Between the five of them they have played a total of 101 events and been in the top-ten just 7 times, so they weren’t that well know.  For Mitchell, Lee, and Clark they were able to play good enough to notch a top-ten finish as Mitchell went on to win.  The big question for us all, are these the players we should start thinking about in the future when we play fantasy golf?

Adam Svensson 

He was born in Surrey, British Columbia and the big Vancouver Canuck fan went to college at Barry University in Florida and turned pro in 2015.  After playing on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada in 2015, he earned his Web.Com Tour card by being the low medalist at the qualifying school at the end of 2015.  He played ok in 2016 but the next year finished 51st in the priority rankings missing his PGA Tour card by just a single shot.  In 2018 he improved upon that, earning his first win at the Bahamas Great Abaca Open and finishing 4th on the money list.  For the year his final priority rank was 23.  Svensson isn’t a long driver of the ball and for the PGA Tour is a below average ball striker.  He also needs to work on his around the green game and is an average putter.  Offense wise he isn’t going to be a player you want in DraftKings, he is a streaky player that has a good run of a few weeks, but is pron to missing a lot of cuts.  Svensson has a tough time putting together four good rounds in a row, he showed his inconsistency at the Honda with rounds of 72-64-72-75.  With the tour at about the halfway mark and Svensson at 21st in the Web.Com Tour reshuffle, he will have a tough time getting into events and will have to play well in a couple of tournaments to keep his PGA Tour for 2020.

SungJae Im

He is one of those players to watch in the future.  Born in Jeju, South Korea, he will be 21 at the end of March.  He comes from a well to do Korean family, he grew up playing The Club at Nine Bridges which hosts THE CJ CUP.  Turned pro when he was 17, he went and played in a couple of Korean events until he qualified to play on the Japan Golf Tour.  Despite not winning in 2016 or ’17 in Japan, he played good enough to finish 56th on the money list in 2016 and then 5th in 2017 where he had nine top-10 finishes in 23 starts.  After that year came to America to play in the second stage of Web.Com Tour qualifying.  Made it to the finals and got his Web.Com Tour card when he finished 2nd in the final stages of the School.  Im became the 16th player to win his first start on the Web.Com Tour at the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic.  At 19 years, 9 months & 17 days, Im became the second-youngest winner on Tour behind only Jason Day.  Showing that this victory was not a fluke he finished 2nd the next week at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic just a shot back of winner Adam Svensson.  He continued looking impressive adding another victory at the WinCo Foods Portland Open and along with 8 top-ten finishes was not only first on the regular season money list but first in the priority rank.  Became the first player in Web.com Tour history to lead the money list every week of the season (27 weeks).  A week after graduating he finished T-4th at the Safeway Open and added his second top-ten finish with a T-7th in Phoenix.  As for the rookie class for the year, he is ranked 4th as the three in front of him has won. In looking at Im’s game, he is above average in driving distance, hitting fairways and greens.  He is in the top third of the tour in putting and does make a lot of birdies and ranks 52nd in Par Breakers.  So I would say that he is a guy to watch in the future, I can see him keeping his PGA Tour card in the future and especially for Sunday games in which he will be a low price, he is a buy-in DraftKings games.

Kyoung-Hoon Lee

He started playing the game in a very unconventional way.  Was a shot put athlete before taking up golf at age 13, playing golf to lose weight, but ended up falling in love with the game.  Graduated from high school in Seoul in 2010 and attended Korea National Sport University, the same school as Sungjae Im.  Turned pro at 19 in 2010, he played on the Japan Golf Tour starting in 2012.  He was runner-up in his second Japan start at the Tsuruya Open, then won in his ninth start the Nagashima Shigeo Invitational.  He finished the year 10th on the money list in 2012, 13th in 2013, 24th in 2014 and 13th in 2015.  That same year played on the Korean Tour and finished 1st on the money list.  In 2015 he won the honma Tourworld Cut on the Japan Tour and the Kolon Korea Open.  In 2016 Lee was able to defend the Korea Open title.  At the end of 2015 Lee traveled to the United States and finished 8th at the Web.Com Tour Qualifying tournament, getting his Web.Com Tour for 2016.  Played in 18 events and struggled only making 8 cuts.  But with his T-4th finish at the WinCo Foods Portland Open and then a T-14th at Web.Com Tour school, he retained his card for 2017.  He finished 65th on the Priority List in 2017 and had a best finish of T-3rd at the Rex Hospital Open.  He was able to put a consistent season together in 2018, he played on the Web.Com Tour 25 times, made 16 cuts and had 5 top-tens.  He was runner-up three times at the North Mississippi Classic, BMW Charity and Colombian championship and was 5th on the money list and was 15th on the Priority List, thus getting his PGA Tour card for 2019.  One of Lee’s weaknesses on tour is his length, he is one of the shortest hitters in 2019.  He is in the top-third in accuracy off the tee and greens hit.  But in around the green play, he is at the bottom of the list and is in the middle in putts.  With all of that added up, he is about average in Par Breakers so at this time we can’t recommend him for any DraftKings picks, no matter how low his price is.  Since he is 25th on the Web.Com Tour reshuffle he will have problems getting into events and will have to work very hard to retain his PGA Tour Card for 2020

Wyndham Clark

He got his start in golf when his mother Lisa took Wyndham to a driving range and he started to hit the ball with a perfect swing, for a 3-year-old.  Unfortunately, just after that, his mother found out that she had breast cancer, but Clark still played golf and improved, his mother also got better.  His game was good enough for him to sign up with Oklahoma State in 2011 and his game improved, but during his first year, he got some bad news when his mother’s cancer returned in his freshman year.  He had mixed feelings while playing golf and in the summer of 2013 his mother’s condition got worst and she died in August of that year.  He didn’t know what to do, he followed his mothers dying wish that he continue to play golf and five days after her death played in the 2013 U.S. Amateur.  He made it into match play but lost to Gavin Green in the first round.  He still struggled and transferred to Oregon for his senior year.  One of the reasons Clark transferred was to play for Oregon coach Casey Martin and Martin helped Clark to a great year.  He graduated from Oregon with a business degree and turned professional in 2017.  At the end of the year, Clark got his Web.Com Tour card when he finished T-23rd in the Q-School and found success on that tour in 2018.  In 24 starts Clark had four top-tens, his best being a 2nd at the United Leasing & Finance, he was 16th on the money list and 35th on the Priority rankings, thus getting his PGA Tour card for 2019.  Through his consistent play, he has been able to move up the reshuffle list and got his first big break finishing T-10th in Puerto Rico.  With that, he was able to get into the Honda Classic and went into the final day with the lead.  Started strong but struggled in the middle of the round making four bogeys between holes 7 through 12.  He finished T-7th, but got a good lesson on how to handle the final round in the lead.  As for his game, he hits the ball a long way but is very wild.  Since he is 197th on tour in fairway accuracy, this has spilled over unto his iron play, he is 169th in greens hit.  So with a 152 ranking in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green he puts a lot of pressure on his putting which is the key to his game.  He is 22nd in Strokes Gained Putting as he is 3rd in putts inside 10 feet.  So with a good putter that means he makes a good amount of birdies, he ranks 12th in birdie average and 16th in Par Breakers.  So with those numbers alone, you can see that Clark is a terrific pick in DraftKings and if he can get more drives on the fairway and hit more greens could have a great future on the PGA Tour.

Keith Mitchell

Thanks to the Palm Beach Post, Mitchell may get the nick-name “No-name champion” after his win at the Honda Classic.  But for the 27-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee that didn’t bother him because he realized the importance of the win.  Mitchell started his golfing career at an early age when he would hold and swing a club at only 2 and 3 years old.  His father Jerry took up the game at an older age and got his son started to play.  Keith was able to hone his skill at the Honors Course in Chattanooga, the course held the U.S. Amateur in 1991.  At Baylor High School in each of the state TSSAA Division II tournaments during his four years, he finished no worse than eighth individually.  When he graduated he had his pick of any college to attend, Mitchell looked at Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia Tech before deciding to go to Athens and play for Georgia.  So with his win at the Honda, he helps make Georgia proud and it was the 27th PGA Tour victory by a former Bulldog since 2010.  After he graduated Georgia in 2014 with a Business and Real Estate degree he turned pro and did win soon after on the G Pro Tour.  At the end of 2015, he did make it to the final stages of the Web.Com Tour qualifying tournament and finished T-108th which gave him limited access to the 2016 Web.Com Tour.  He made good of those early starts and was able to play 20 times and finished 70th on the money list and 78th on the priority rankings, thus getting to play on the Web.Com Tour in 2017.  That year was a success as he played in 22 events, finished 26th on the money list and 21st in the priority rankings to get his tour card.  Also to show how important the date March 3rd was, in 2017 on March 6th Mitchell tried to Monday qualify for the Valspar, shot 67 and the next day won the playoff for the last spot.  On March 9th he teed it up in his first PGA Tour event shooting 69-70 to make the cut and then 71-68 to finish T-11th.  It would be his first and only start on the PGA Tour in 2017.  The following year he played on the PGA Tour and his best finish was 2nd in the Corales Puntacana Championship.  Thanks to that and three other top-tens he finished 67th in the FedExCup rankings.  In looking at Mitchell’s game, he does have one Achilles heel, he has a tough time playing through California on poa annua in six starts in California he has only made the cut twice.  So as he told PGATour.Com writer Mike McAllister, going from the poa greens at Riviera to the bermudagrass greens at PGA National was like going from purgatory to Perfection.  As we have said many times, that is the big difference when the tour ends it’s west coast swing and moves to Florida, many players prefer Bermuda.  But the big question is he a guy to pick in future DraftKings contests?  Damn right he is.  I have chosen him several times over the last couple of years when I found out his stats on the Web.Com tour in 2017.  He was 5th in driving distance but more importantly was 2nd in birdie average, 1st in total eagles and 2nd in Par Breakers.  When he went to the PGA Tour in 2018 he was 13th in all drives on tour and 135th in driving accuracy.  He was 31st in greens hit so in Strokes Gained off-the-Tee he was 7th, in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green 58th.  His main problem was around the green, he was 133rd in Strokes Gained Around-the-Green and 183rd in Strokes Gained Putting.  Still, he was great in offense making him a great sleeper pick on DraftKings.  In 2018 he was 13th in birdie average and 34th in total eagle for a 12th place rank in Par Breakers.  Now in 2019 Mitchell has upped his game.  He hasn’t hit it as far, ranking 38th in all drives on tour and 164th in driving accuracy, with a 9th place ranking in Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee.  In Greens hit he is 43rd and 19th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green which is a good climb up from 56th last year.  He also made big strides around the green, in Strokes Gained Around-the-green he was up to 73rd (from 133rd last year) and in Strokes Gained Putting he is 205th, a little increase from last year.  Now this stat is a bit misleading, remember he doesn’t like Poa greens and three of his ten starts are on Poa.  He also has fallen down in birdie average down to 79th and in Par Breakers to 66th but again the season is still young.  The one thing Mitchell did in his win at the Honda was scramble well, he was T-2nd and he was 38th in Strokes Gained Putting and was 20th in putting inside 10 feet making 66 of 72 putts in that range, so again when you see Keith Mitchell and he is $7,500 like he is this week, he is worth the price with all of the birdies and eagles he makes.

New equipment deal for Francesco Molinari.

Have heard very little from Molinari after he finished T-8th at the BMW Championship.  That capped off a great summer of golf that included wins at the BMW PGA Championship, a runner-up in his home Italian Open, win at the Quicken Loans but then his victory at Carnoustie for the British Open.  Since ending his year at Dubai in November he has only played twice T-27th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-17th at the WGC-Mexico.  Now in his wins over the summer the Italian used Tylor Made clubs and wedges along with Titleist Pro V1x ball.  Callaway announced this week that Molinari has joined their touring staff and will use Callaway woods, irons, wedges and golf balls along with an Odyssey putter and Callaway staff bag.  In the past making a major change like this took time, but as we saw with Justin Rose win in San Diego he made it look easy.  Since we don’t hear much from Molinari the bet is that he has had enough time to get accustomed to the clubs and it should be a smooth transition.

Things you need to know about the Arnold Palmer Invitational

According to the PGA Tour, this will be the 54th Arnold Palmer Invitational, which got its start in 1966 as the Florida Citrus Open.  But if you look around there is no big splash, you can’t find anywhere in any of the material that the tournament puts out anything raving about its 54th anniversary.

There is a good reason for that.

If you asked Arnold Palmer, he only counted the years when the event moved to Bay Hill so this would be the 41st time this tournament has been played. The actual event did start in 1966 as the Florida Citrus Open, and it was barely surviving when Arnold Palmer and his associates took over in 1978.  They gave new life to the event by moving it to Bay Hill in 1979 and talking the elite of the PGA Tour to include Bay Hill onto their schedules.  In the 40 years since it changed to the Bay Hill Club, the tournament has been elevated to a level that it’s considered one of the premiers stops on tour, as voted by the players.

Course information:
  • Bay Hill Club & Lodge
  • Orlando, Fl.
  • 7,454 yards     Par 36-36–72
  • The course has a 73.9 rating and slope rating of 136 from the championship tees. The course is part of a resort and is open to those that stay on the course, and it’s members.
  • The average green size at Bay Hill is 6,500 square feet, which is a little over the average on the PGA Tour.  The course has 103 bunkers and water comes into play on nine of the 18 holes.
  • Last year Bay Hill played to a 72.02 average making it the 15th hardest course on the PGA Tour.  In 2017 Bay Hill was the 9th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 72.89 average.  In 2016 Bay Hill was the 28th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 71.48 average, which is a half a shot under par.  Great weather was the reason for the low scores with the lack of wind; you can see how hard the course has been over the years.
  • In 2015 Bay Hill was the 36th hardest course but in the previous years when there was wind, in 2014 was the 16th hardest course on Tour playing to a 72.473 average, a half a shot over par when it was windy all week.  So you can see the difference between 2014 and 2015 just about a shot and a half.
  • In 2013 the Bay Hill was the 12th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 72.928 average playing .928 stroke over par.
  • The course was initially designed and built by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee in 1960.
  • It’s funny how Arnold Palmer got associated with it. In the early 1960s when Bay Hill opened, Palmer and Jack Nicklaus played an exhibition tournament at the course and the King was so attracted to Bay Hill that he got together a group of investors and leased the club with an option to buy it.  In January of 1976, the group purchased the course, and since then until his death, Palmer would spend most of the winter in a condo behind Bay Hill.  Palmer loved to tinker with the course. Since Palmer left the Champions tour and had more time on his hands around 2000, he spent lots of time making changes, probably the biggest coming in 2007 when he took the par 5, 4th and 16th holes and convert them into par 4s, thus reducing the par of the course to 70.  That didn’t last long a Palmer changed his mind again in 2010 and went back to a par 72.
  • Until about four years ago when he started slowing down, Palmer would always tinker with something on the course, making small changes here and there, but there haven’t been any changes in five years now.  Despite Palmer not tinkering with the course anymore there is always one thing that is consisted each year, and that is rough which is very high and difficult to get out of and helps bring scores up each year.  One thing that we can see a bit of a trend on, scores were high with the winners between 2012 and 2014 at 13 under par, but the two years Matt Every won he was 13 under in 2014 and 19 under in 2015.  Last year Jason Day was 17 under par.
  • Now Bay Hill did receive a facelift before the 2016 event as all the greens on the course were re-grassed with Emerald Bermuda which did make the greens roll more accurate and faster.  The fairways and tees were also re-grassed with Celebration bermudagrass.  One last changed was when they closely mowed areas around the green which meant chipping and scrambling was more laborious than past years.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at Bay Hill:

This is based on the most important stats for Bay Hill, based on data from last years Arnold Palmer Invitational, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2018. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
The scoring average of the field at Bay Hill last year was 72.89, almost a shot over par with it ranking 9th hardest on the PGA Tour. In 2016 it was 71.48, so the average score was a half a shot under par, making Bay Hill the 28th hardest course to score on in 2016 (only 22 courses played easier). So why the big difference? In 2016 it was dry and hot (except for light rain on Saturday) with the temperature climbing into the mid to high 80s each day. But the big factor was the winds which blew below 10 MPH except for Sunday when it was between 10 and 15 mph. But in 2017 Thursday and Friday were below 70 and even with it getting to the high 70s over the weekend, each day saw winds over 10 mph with gusts of up to 25 mph on Sunday. This course needs the elements to make it a really hard course, with rough and plenty of water, it’s sometimes hard to guide a shot into the right area. Now the course has the reputation for playing tough, between 2011 and ’14 the course played over par including 2011 when it played an average of 73.20 and ranked 8th hardest.
This year I suspect that the course will play easier than in past years due to the weather. Just look at the forecast for the four days, perfect conditions with great temperatures in the 70s/80s and hardly any wind. So look for low scores this week.

In looking at the stats for Bay Hill last year Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, Proximity to Hole and Rough Proximity are important. First is Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, last year Bay Hill ranked 37th hardest in fairways hit, but 7th in greens hit for a 5th place ranking in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. Last year’s winner Marc Leishman was T-17th in fairways hit and T-1st in greens hit for an overall 13th ranking in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. As for our second category Proximity to hole the course was the 3rd hardest while Leishman was T-43rd. As for Rough Proximity, Bay Hill was 3rd while Leishman was T-57th. But were Leishman made his biggest gains it was on the greens, he was 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting as he was 3rd in Putting inside ten feet while the course ranked 20th.

In looking at the stats for all the winners the one thing that stands out each year is that they either hit a lot of greens and don’t putt that great, or they are super in putting but don’t hit a lot of greens. Just look at this chart below of all the winners from 1997 and you can see they either putt lights out and hit the ball subpar, or they hit the ball great and don’t do as well on the greens:

One thing about the greens, they are some of the best on the PGA Tour and with little undulations, lot’s of putts are made. Last year Leishman was 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting and was T-5th in Total Putting. He had 58 putts of seven feet and in and only missed one, the true key for him winning. The same thing with the 2016 champion Jason Day. He was 6th in Strokes Gained Putting and 7th in Total Putting. As for putts inside 7 feet, he had 60 and only missed one so you can see that you can not hit the ball that great but win, but it’s easier if you can hit the ball great.

But again, the weather is always the barometer for good play at Bay Hill

SO HERE ARE OUR FOUR CHOICES FOR THE MOST CRITICAL STATS FROM PLAYERS TO DO WELL AT BAY HILL:

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: Stat is good barometer on overall play from drives to hitting into the greens. For years Bay Hill is always in the top-15, in 2010 it was T-4th. Last year it ranked T-5th.

*Proximity to Hole: Average length that a player hits from the pin with shots from the fairway, last year it was T-3rd with each shot ending up 39 feet, 10 inches from the hole.

*Rough Proximity: Average length that a player hits to the pin from out of the rough. Showing how hard the rough is at Bay Hill it was the hardest course to get close to the hole from the rough in 2016, players were only able to average 51 feet, 2 inches on each shot from the rough. Last year it ranked 3rd with the average ball ending up 52 feet, 3 inches from the hole so it’s important to drive it well and keep it out of the rough.

*Putting inside ten feet: No matter how good your game is, you have to make these putts in order to win. In 2016 Bay Hill ranked the hardest of the 37 courses ranked, while last year ranked 20th out of 38 courses so it’s a hard stat for players on this course.

106 of the 123 players from this year’s field with stats from this year:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is a link to the other 96 players in the Arnold Palmer Invitational

DraftKings tips

Of the 123 in the field, 96 have played at least once in the Arnold Palmer.  Here are the players with the most under par totals at Bay Hill since 2010:

  • Henrik Stenson is 51 under in 34 rounds playing 9 years
  • Rory McIlroy is 44 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Francesco Molinari is 39 under in 24 rounds playing 6 years
  • Justin Rose is 38 under in 28 rounds playing 8 years
  • Kevin Na is 31 under in 26 rounds playing 7 years
  • Jason Day is 30 under in 24 rounds playing 6 years
  • Ian Poulter is 26 under in 32 rounds playing 8 years
  • Marc Leishman is 23 under in 32 rounds playing 9 years
  • Keegan Bradley is 22 under in 26 rounds playing 7 years
  • Bryson DeChambeau is 21 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Kiradech Aphibarnrat is 21 under in 10 rounds playing 3 years
  • Zach Johnson is 21 under in 34 rounds playing 9 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 18 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Rickie Fowler is 17 under in 26 rounds playing 7 years
  • Jason Kokrak is 15 under in 20 rounds playing 6 years
  • Charles Howell III is 14 under in 36 rounds playing 9 years
  • Adam Hadwin is 13 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Luke List is 11 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Daniel Berger is 10 under in 4 rounds playing 1 years
  • Tommy Fleetwood is 10 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Lucas Glover is 9 under in 20 rounds playing 6 years

*Here are the ones with the best under par totals averaging it per years played (2 or more starts)

  • Rory McIlroy is 44 under playing 4 years (-2.75)
  • Bryson DeChambeau is 21 under playing 2 years (-2.63)
  • Kiradech Aphibarnrat is 21 under playing 3 years (-2.10)
  • Francesco Molinari is 39 under playing 6 years (-1.63)
  • Adam Hadwin is 13 under playing 2 years (-1.63)
  • Henrik Stenson is 51 under playing 9 years (-1.50)
  • Danny Willett is 7 under playing 2 years (-1.40)
  • Luke List is 11 under playing 2 years (-1.38)
  • Justin Rose is 38 under playing 8 years (-1.36)
  • Jason Day is 30 under playing 6 years (-1.25)
  • Tommy Fleetwood is 10 under playing 2 years (-1.25)
  • Kevin Na is 31 under playing 7 years (-1.19)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 18 under playing 4 years (-1.13)
  • Keegan Bradley is 22 under playing 7 years (-0.85)
  • Ian Poulter is 26 under playing 8 years (-0.81)
  • Jason Kokrak is 15 under playing 6 years (-0.75)
  • Austin Cook is 3 under playing 1 years (-0.75)
  • Michael Kim is 3 under playing 1 years (-0.75)
  • Marc Leishman is 23 under playing 9 years (-0.72)
  • Louis Oosthuizen is 7 under playing 3 years (-0.70)
  • Rickie Fowler is 17 under playing 7 years (-0.65)
Historical ParBreakers

Here is a look at those playing this week and who has made the most eagles and birdies:

So it makes sense that the top players on this list are guys that will make lot’s of points this week

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Rory McIlroy – $11,400
  • Justin Rose – $10,700
  • Rickie Fowler – $10,400
  • Brooks Koepka – $10,200
  • Jason Day- $9,900
  • Bryce DeChambeau – $9,700
  • Marc Leishman – $9,500
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $9,300
  • Phil Mickelson – $9,200
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $9,100
  • Francesco Molinari – $9,000

Lots of power at the top and of those in the top-nine, all of them have won in the 2019 golf year except for Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama.  As for Rory McIlroy at $11,400 you can’t argue with the price, the man has been in the top-five in his last four starts, was runner-up in his last start in Mexico and won at Bay Hill last year.  You have to think that McIlroy will again be in the top-five this week, the question will be if he can win.  As for Justin Rose at $10,700 we can’t say the same because it’s been an up and down year for him.  He won at the Farmers but the next week after flying 8,000 miles he missed the cut at the Saudi International.  In his first start of the year he was T-34th at the Desert Classic, but was 3rd at the Hero World Challenge.  On the hole Rose has played pretty good at Bay Hill, in his last seven starts he has three top-three finishes, but did miss the cut in 2014.  The important thing to remember, would Rose like to win this week, yes. But his mind is 400 miles up the road.  Since there are so many good players at the top level, I am taking a pass on Rose this week.  Now Rickie Fowler at $10,400 has peaked my interest, think he is playing well but other than his T-3rd in 2013 hasn’t shown much in this event.  Unfortunately on a personal level every time I like Fowler he doesn’t help me, still he is playing to good to say no to him this week.  You also can’t say no to Brooks Koepka at $10,200.  He played well at the Honda which gives me signs that he is playing well, but hasn’t played well in his three starts at Bay Hill.  Still he is too good of a player to say no to him because of his history and that was when he was younger, he didn’t play in this event last year.  So yes he is a good pick.  Jason Day at $9,900 is not even worth talking about, he is playing well, has won at Bay Hill and I think he will contend.  One thing that I don’t like about his game this year is his putting, but he hasn’t played since Pebble and I think the change to Bermuda will help him.  Bryce DeChambeau at $9,700 is another player that you shouldn’t have to think about, yes he struggled in Mexico but he was good last year at Bay Hill and will be good this year.  Marc Leishman at $9,500 is only a concern because the price is high, but his game is good and he has done well the last two year as he is 19 under at Bay Hill in those last eight rounds.  Hideki Matsuyama at $9,300 is a concern and my first true no.  He has struggled at times the last couple of months and missed the cut the only time he played at Bay Hill in 2013 so probably best to forget about him.  I also seriously wonder about Phil Mickelson at $9,200.  He hasn’t played that much at Bay Hill, his last start was in 2013 and I question why he is playing this week.  After his win at Pebble, slipped to a T-37th at Genesis and T-39th at WGC-Mexico so it’s best to forget about Phil.  Now I wonder what is up with Tommy Fleetwood’s game, he is $9,100 this week and hasn’t shown me any reason to pick him.  The same with Francesco Molinari at $9,000, he hasn’t played much and in the middle of changing clubs which is sometimes ugly.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Lot’s of good choices, the first one I like is Charles Howell III at $8,600.  He is rock solid, makes cuts and always finds ways of making those top-15 checks, his record is ok at Bay Hill and has played well of late.  Also like Daniel Berger at $8,600, he has played well of late and does like Florida courses.  Keegan Bradley at $8,400 is a good price, he makes cuts and has done well at Bay Hill making lot’s of birdies as he is 22 under at Bay Hill since 2010.  I have been riding Lucas Glover a lot lately.  He is $8,200 and has produced of late, think he could give you a lot of offense as he is 9 under in his six Bay Hill starts since 2010.  Henrik Stenson at $8,100 is a big decision.  The guy has done just about everything at Bay Hill but win, in his last six starts he missed the cut in 2017 but was in the top-8 the other five starts including a runner-up in 2015.  He has struggled with his game the since finishing 4th in Indonesian including missing the cut in three desert swing events on the European Tour.  The question is if he could miss the cut in events like Dubai and Abu Dhabi which he has ruled, could he also miss the cut this week.  His price is good and I will take a gamble with the possibility of getting a lot of offense from him since at 51 under since 2010 he has put up the best offensive numbers including 5 eagles and 136 birdies.  Now your first really hot pick is Ian Poulter at $8,000.  We hear about Rory McIlroy’s streak of four top-five finishes of late, but Poulter has a streak of four top-six events in a row.  Now, of course, Poulter is no Rory McIlroy but since Poulter has been very steady at Bay Hill, is also 26 under since 2010 he is the bargain of the week and will be my first choice on my DraftKings card.  Luke List is also a person to consider at $7,900.  Has played well at Bay Hill but been a bit up and down, price is good for a player that averages four birdies or eagles per round at Bay Hill.  Another player not to be forgotten is J.B. Holmes at $7,800.  The last time we saw him before his family vacation was winning in L.A., he returns to a course he has done well on.  Also we can’t forget about Adam Hadwin at $7,700.  Has been very consistent this year and does do well at Bay Hill, got to like him also.  We also cannot forget about Keith Mitchell at $7,500.  Frankly, I won’t take him in the four day game, but if he makes the cut will take him for Sunday’s game like I have done a half times this year.

*Are there any “Bargains” out there?

The pickings are good in players at and under $7,500, just have to dig.  First up is Matt Wallace at $7,400, this is his first time at Bay Hill but he brings a game that is good for the course.  Showed a liking to Florida type of courses with a T-20th last week at the Honda.  Beau Hossler at $7,300 is not a bad choice, put up decent numbers this year and should be able to put up lots of offense.  Kiradech Aphibarnrat at $7,100 is cheap enough to take a chance on.  Played well in Mexico, yes he missed the cut at Bay Hill last year but was T-6th in both 2015 and ’16.  Also, watch Thorbjorn Olesen, the price is cheap at $7,100 and he can give you a top-ten.  Another guy to watch is Harris English at $7,000.  Yes he was in a bad stretch but when he played last week in the Honda was T-12th, maybe he can improve on those totals.  Graeme McDowell at $6,900 is also a good pick, has played ok this year and has a lot of good finishes at Bay Hill, he still has some gas in the tank.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Arnold Palmer Invitational:

Key stat for the winner:

A Bay Hill stat:

It’s said that ball-striking is becoming a dinosaur on the PGA Tour, but that isn’t the case at Bay Hill in which hitting lots of greens is essential. Between 1997 and 2008 there wasn’t a winner that didn’t finish out of the top-20 of greens hit for the week.  In 2009 Tiger Woods changed that when he finished T50th, but since then six of the last nine winners were in the top-20, including 2017 champion Marc Leishman who led the greens hit category  Unfortunately Rory didn’t fair that well as he was T-45th last year.

Another key stat:

Now it’s easy to point out how the winners have been in greens hit but what has the trend been for everyone in the field?  The pattern is that more folks are hitting more greens.  In 2009, Bay Hill had the hardest greens to hit.  In a way wind helped make that stat, the weekend saw high winds with gust up to 30 mph, but only 55.02 of the greens were hit that year.  The next year it jumped to 61.25% and was ranked 9th, and the number has stayed about the same with it’s ranking going up, in 2011 it ranked 15th on the PGA Tour.  In 2012 it climbed to 20th and then 16th in 2013.  In 2014 it ranked 23rd and more players hit more greens with the average going up again to 64.00%.  With the lack of wind and great weather 2015 was a banner year for the players as they hit 68.41% making it the 35th highest on the PGA Tour.  In 2016 it was the 14th hardest with a field average of 60.98, the least amount since 2009.  Last year the course was the 7th hardest with a field average of 58.71.  Last year with the lack of wind the course was the 15th hardest on tour with an average of 63.53.

The one key stat that shows what it takes to win:

“Proximity to hole” is a stat that measures how close to the hole you hit it from the fairway.  The last five years before 2015 Bay Hill ranked in the top-ten on the PGA Tour.  Last year it ranked 13th, in 2017 it ranked T-3rd, in 2016 it ranked T-8th, in 2015 it was ranked T-11th.  Since this is a shot-link stat that isn’t measured in the majors, you only find this in non-major courses.  The better the ranking means that it’s harder to get the ball close to the hole.  Last year players from the fairway got the ball to 38 feet, 7 inches, in 2017 39 feet, 10 inches.  In 2016 players averaged 38 feet, 8 inches while in 2015 it was 37 feet, 1 inch from the hole.  The year before it ranked T-8th as players averaged 37 feet, 8 inches.  So this means that getting the ball close is hard at Bay Hill.

Making Bay Hill even more robust is when players hit drives in the rough.  In looking at the stat “Rough Proximity”, over the last eight years, it ranked 3rd on tour with a 53 feet, 10 inches average, in 2017 it was 4th at 52 feet, 3 inches, in 2016 it was 1st on tour last year with a 51 feet, 2-inch average.  In 2015 it was T-6th,  3rd in 2014, 1st in 2013, 6th in 2012, 3rd in 2011 and 2nd in 2010.  So what does this mean?  That the rough is hard to deal with and that there is a penalty for hitting drives into the rough because it’s hard to get your ball close to the hole.  So in looking for a player that does well at Bay Hill you want to find one that hits not only lot’s of greens and close to the hole but also players that can handle rough by getting the ball closer to the holes than others.  So here are the results of two key stats from 2019, first “Proximity to Hole.” and then ‘Rough Proximity.

Here are some more key stats to look for this week:

This is the last tournament before the Players Championship, which is the most important event on the PGA Tour.  Making this month even more important, the Match Play is three weeks away and the Masters five weeks away.

Kenny Perry had a perfect combination of being ranked fourth in both driving distance and accuracy in 2005.  Look for accuracy to once again prevail and look for another player like Perry that combines straight driving with a bit of length.  So how do we determine a player like this?  Look at the total driving stat which combines but distance rank and accuracy rank to help determine your winner.

Unimportant stat:

In eight of the last 19 years, Tiger Woods has been the winner. So what does that mean?  In many tournaments, experience seems to be important, but not at Bay Hill.   Since 1979, 13 of the winners either became first-time winners or had only won once before, just like 2017 champion Marc Leishman who claimed his second PGA Tour win at the Arnold Palmer.  Matt Every won for the first time at Bay Hill in 2014 (then winning for the second time in 2015), Martin Laird in 2011, Rod Pampling in 2006 and Chad Campbell in 2004.  But on the other side of the coin, the tournament has had some great players winning like last year’s winner Rory McIlroy, 2016 champion Jason Day, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Ben Crenshaw, Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Paul Azinger, Payne Stewart, Fuzzy Zoeller and Tiger Woods.

Birdies and patience are essential at Bay Hill. On most courses, the norm is making lots of birdies to keep pace, but at Bay Hill pars are just as important.

One thing for sure is that the odds are quite good that the winner will be from either Florida and the Orlando area.  Of the 123 in the field this week, a quarter of the field live in Florida with 11 having ties in the Orlando area.

The weather has been pretty good the last couple of days in Florida, and the forecast calls for that continuing.  Each day will be sunny and warm, with temperatures in the high-70s, low-80s and just a pinch of wind, worst day is supposed to be Sunday with partly cloudy skies as the winds will get up to 12 mph.

Who to watch for at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
Win T4 T27 T11

Has played the best of anyone at Bay Hill, has also played great the last two months. You know he will contend if he putts well like he did last year will do great.

Rickie Fowler

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T14 12 T29 CUT T3 T30 T50

Showed another side of him with a great back nine at the Palmer. He too has played well and should be in contention on Sunday.

Brooks Koepka

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT WD T26

His game seemed to wake up on the weekend at Honda, seems to be starting a role.

Best of the rest:

Jason Day

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T22 T23 Win T17 T45 T25 WD CUT

You can’t ever forget him, yes he has been quiet this year because he hasn’t played that much, we will see if he is sharp enough with the lack of play to find the best in his game, I say he will play well.

Justin Rose

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
3 T13 T9 CUT 2 T15 T3 CUT T30

Hasn’t played that much of late, but did win in San Diego, has a great record at Bay Hill but hasn’t won.

Marc Leishman

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T7 Win T17 CUT T31 CUT T48 T3 T40

Past champion that has had a great year going, is 19 under the last two years at Bay Hill.

Ian Poulter

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T41 T41 T46 T21 T20 T21 3 T12 CUT T48

This man has not really gotten the credit for his great play the last two months, also is 26 under at Bay Hill since 2010.

Bryson DeChambeau

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
2 T27

Another of those players that have had a good year, was good last year at Bay Hill.

Solid contenders

Lucas Glover

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T49 T7 T27 CUT T14 CUT T11 T41

Has played great from tee to green, again if he putts well he could win.

Charles Howell III

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T14 T56 T46 T21 T35 T45 T20 T38 T21 T22 CUT T56

His record is good at Bay Hill and been playing good in 2019, you know he will find a way to get a top-25 finish.

Adam Hadwin

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
6 T36

Good record at Bay Hill, has played good in 2019 with very little to show for it.

Henrik Stenson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
4 CUT T3 2 T5 T8 T15 T47 T52 T22

Has a great record at Bay Hill, as he is 51 under since 2010. Only problem is his game hasn’t been very good in 2019 but it’s prime to break out this week.

J.B. Holmes

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T41 CUT T10 T29 T47 T21 T40 T59 T77

Returns from vacation after winning in L.A. Question will be if he continues his good play from two weeks ago.

Long shots that could come through:

Keegan Bradley

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T26 T34 T36 T49 2 T3 CUT

Has done well at Bay Hill, makes lot’s of birdies.

Matt Wallace

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

I think he could be the next European star to win in America.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T6 T6

Has played well at Bay Hill with a pair of 6 place finishes.

Comments

  1. hans@sbs.co.kr says:

    Thanks for two Koreans indroduction. Not sure I am right but, for Lee Kyung Hoon, he had a chance to get to WDC Finals on 2017. I hope they will grow big as KJ’s!

  2. Has, I probably should know what it is but what is the WDC??? Have spent the last ten minutes trying to figure it out and can’t find what WDC means.

  3. lps@hotmail.co.uk says:

    There’s horses who can win but don’t want to, same as there’s golfers who cant get across the line because of nerves and the like. Three of them are in your selections. Poulter, Glover, CH III, I’d probably throw in Bradley as a serial non winner. These guys should all be 250-1, every week because that about their strike rate. I did a real quick fire analysis of top 25 golfers of all time. They have over 1000 wins between them. Do the math. A few guys are doing most of the winning. Because they can….thks. Enjoy the stats

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.