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BlogArnold Palmer Preview and Picks

Arnold Palmer Invitational

March 5th – 8th, 2019

Bay Hill Club

Orlando, FL

Par: 72 / Yardage:

Purse: $9.3 million

with $1,674,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Francesco Molinari

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 57 of the top 100 and 31 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with five players from the top-ten:#1 Rory McIlroy, #3 Brooks Koepka, #7 Adam Scott, #9 Patrick Reed and #10 Tommy Fleetwood. The other top 50 players are #12 Xander Schauffele, #13 Justin Rose, #14 Bryson DeChambeau, #15 Tony Finau, #19 Hideki Matsuyama, #21 Marc Leishman, #24 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #25 Sungjae Im, #26 Francesco Molinari, #27 Rickie Fowler, #28 Lee Westwood, #29 Abraham Ancer, #30 Kevin Na, #31 Henrik Stenson, #32 Tyrrell Hatton, #33 Danny Willett, #34 Kevin Kisner, #35 Billy Horschel, #40 Jazz Janewattananond, #43 Matt Wallace, #44 Rafa Cabrera Bello, #45 Jason Day, #47 Byeong Hun An, #48 Bubba Watson, #49 Christiaan Bezuidenhout and #50 Graeme McDowell.

Last year 31 of the top 50 players were in the field

The field includes 22 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for this year.  Those players are #2 Sungjae Im, #3 Rory McIlroy, #5 Brendon Todd, #6 Patrick Reed, #7 Lanto Griffin, #8 Sebastian Munoz, #9 Hideki Matsuyama, #10 Kevin Na, #11 Cameron Smith, #12 Xander Schauffele, #13 Marc Leishman, #14 Cameron Champ, #15 Joaquin Niemann, #16 Nick Taylor, #17 Adam Scott, #19 Byeong Hun An, #20 Scottie Scheffler, #21 Abraham Ancer, #22 Tom Hoge, #23 Carlos Ortiz, #24 Tyler Duncan and #25 Bryson DeChambeau.

The field includes 8 past champions: Francesco Molinari (2019), Rory McIlroy (2018), Marc Leishman (2017), Jason Day (2016), Matt Every (2015 & ’14), Vijay Singh (2007), 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 The Honda Classic WGC Mexico Champ. Puerto Rico Open Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Beach Phoenix Open Saudi Intern. Farmers Insurance Open Dubai Desert Classic The American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open in Hawaii Sentry Tof C
Patrick Reed
(261.33 pts)
DNP Win
(198)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T2
(33.33)
Bryson DeChambeau
(250 pts)
DNP 2
(150)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Rory McIlroy
(235 pts)
DNP 5
(105)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(198.67 pts)
DNP T6
(90)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(197.33 pts)
3
(90)
T18
(48)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP DNP
Sungjae Im
(196.5 pts)
Win
(132)
T29
(31.5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP
Max Homa
(173 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(70)
T14
(24)
T6
(40)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP T48
(0.67)
DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
Adam Scott
(168 pts)
DNP T26
(36)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Lee Westwood
(160 pts)
T4
(80)
T22
(42)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T50
(0.67)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP
Abraham Ancer
(141.33 pts)
DNP T12
(57)
DNP T43
(7)
DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T38
(4)
DNP
Byeong Hun An
(138.17 pts)
T4
(80)
T29
(31.5)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Bubba Watson
(138 pts)
DNP T18
(48)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Viktor Hovland
(138 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T38
(8)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Maverick McNealy
(136.33 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP T27
(23)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP 15
(23.33)
DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Xander Schauffele
(130.33 pts)
DNP T14
(54)
DNP T23
(27)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
Matthew NeSmith
(128.33 pts)
T38
(12)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP T17
(11)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Sung Kang
(121 pts)
DNP 71
(0)
DNP T2
(100)
CUT
(-6.67)
T52
(0)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T25
(8.33)
Tony Finau
(118.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP DNP DNP
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
(117.5 pts)
DNP T29
(31.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(114.33 pts)
DNP T42
(12)
DNP T43
(7)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP T28
(7.33)
DNP
Patrick Rodgers
(114 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP T35
(15)
T30
(20)
CUT
(-6.67)
T16
(22.67)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP T38
(4)
DNP
Graeme McDowell
(110.33 pts)
DNP T69
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
T23
(9)
Joel Dahmen
(103.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(70)
T14
(24)
WD
(-3.33)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP
Brendan Steele
(102.33 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP
Billy Horschel
(102.17 pts)
T42
(8)
T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(100 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
3
(60)
DNP T3
(60)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Collin Morikawa
(100 pts)
DNP T42
(12)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
T7
(18.33)
Scott Piercy
(96 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
T18
(21.33)
T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T61
(0)
DNP T45
(1.67)
DNP
Wyndham Clark
(94 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP T17
(33)
T18
(21.33)
T34
(10.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Lanto Griffin
(91.83 pts)
DNP T29
(31.5)
DNP T37
(13)
T9
(30)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
13
(12.33)
Kevin Na
(91.83 pts)
DNP T9
(67.5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T14
(24)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(11)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
Kevin Kisner
(91.33 pts)
DNP T18
(48)
DNP DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T4
(26.67)
T14
(12)
Sebastian Munoz
(90.67 pts)
DNP T14
(54)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP T47
(2)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(11)
Tyrrell Hatton
(90 pts)
DNP T6
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Sam Ryder
(87.67 pts)
T53
(0)
DNP T3
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T29
(7)
DNP T28
(7.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player The Honda Classic WGC Mexico Champ. Puerto Rico Open Genesis Open AT&T Pebble Beach Phoenix Open Saudi Intern. Farmers Insurance Open Dubai Desert Classic The American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open in Hawaii Sentry Tof C
Scott Harrington
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP
C.T. Pan
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Hank Lebioda
(-25.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T17
(11)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Brian Gay
(-25.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T38
(8)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Jim Herman
(-22.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T27
(7.67)
Francesco Molinari
(-20 pts)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Sam Saunders
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Padraig Harrington
(-19.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Steve Stricker
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Justin Rose
(-16.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 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 fourth 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 #2 Jon Rahm, #4 Justin Thomas, #5 Dustin Johnson, #6 Patrick Cantlay, #8 Webb Simpson and #11 Tiger Woods.  Also not playing are some marquee guys like Matt Kuchar, Gary Woodland, Paul Casy, Sergio Garcia, and Jordan Spieth.  The good news, we aren’t going to see a mass exodus as we saw 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 the course in 1976 and had the Florida Citrus Open transferred to Bay Hill in 1979.  Not only did Palmer ticker with the course each year to make it fresh, but Palmer also use to contact 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 use to do 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 a no show this week

Yes, the world is always saddened when we hear that Tiger Woods isn’t playing, especially this event that he won eight times and you know that he has a chance every time he tees it up. Each week that Tiger plays, it’s very important for me because I love it 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%.

But Woods couldn’t play this week, we are finding out his back is “stiff,” according to his agent Mark Steinberg.  Tiger is never one to discuss any injuries, we have always known him to just gut it out.  After finishing 68th at the Genesis, only the 2nd time on the PGA Tour he has finished dead last (the other 2015 Memorial) Woods cited stiffness in the back for his poor play and has indicated he couldn’t play that much due to the physical toll and needed to make sure not to put too much strain so he could play a bit longer.  In a way we saw this play out after Tiger won the Masters, he never finished better than a T-9th and missed the cut in two of the three majors.  Then he had arthroscopic knee surgery and disclosed his problem.  So we just have to wait and see, next week he should play at the Players Championship and in three weeks at the Match Play, but will he be in shape to defend at the Masters?  Honestly probably not, I figure that at best maybe he will be back in shape for the PGA Championship in May.  Hopefully, the back isn’t that bad and we will be able to see him win many more times and win another major or two or three.

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 Keegan Bradley is on the bubble in the 64th position but we don’t know if everyone is playing.  Last year Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler didn’t play, we haven’t heard of anyone that has said they flat out aren’t playing but I bet a few are thinking about not playing.  So right now anyone that is in the top-70 has a great shot, so for #65 Corey Conners, #66 Lucas Herbert, #67 Robert MacIntyre, #68 Mike Lorenzo-Vera, #69 Chan Kim and #70 Thomas Pieters, the last five being on the European Tour, this week in Qatar will be very important.  We’ve also seen a lot of movement up the rankings in just the last couple of weeks, with Viktor Hovland moving into 61st thanks to his win in Puerto Rico.  For Lucas Herbert, he started the year 201st in the rankings but with a win in Dubai and a runner-up finish last week in New Zealand he has moved up to 66th.  But Lucas won’t be playing this week or next and that could be a problem.  Still, anything could happen in the next couple of weeks.

SungJae Im

We have talked a lot about him.  He came on our radar screen last year at this time at the Arnold Palmer when he finished T-3rd. Born in Jeju, South Korea, he will be 22 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 Korn Ferry Tour qualifying.  He made it to the finals and got his Korn Ferry 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.  He was T-3rd at the Palmer, then was T-4th at the Valspar, T-7th at the Corales Puntacana, 7th at the RBC Canadian Open and T-6th at the Wyndham Championship.  He played in all three FedEx Cup Playoff events, ending his year with a T-15th finish at the Tour Championship.  Im finished 15th in the FedExCup standings and won the Rookie of the Year honors.  He also played on the Presidents Cup team and had a 3-1-1 record.  In his second start in 2020, he lost a playoff at the Sanderson Farms Championship and was T-3rd at the Zozo Championship.  It’s not surprising that he won at the Honda, we have talked about it on how Im plays his best on Bermuda and was good last year in Florida.  May be tough this week for the 21-year-old but he should be ok at the Players, I feel the Valspar is right up his alley.

What about the defending champion?

Talk about a player that has fallen on tough times, it’s defending champion, Francesco Molinari.  After winning Bay Hill he had the lead at the Masters but after hitting an 8-iron into Rae’s Creek at the 12th hole and falling to a T-5th finish, Molinari’s fortunes also fell.  It would be his last top-ten as he has struggled with his game, not only lacking confidence but not knowing how to return to the pinnacle which saw him win the 2018 British Open along with three other titles and going 5-0 in Europe’s win at the Ryder Cup.  For 2020 Molinari has played four times missing three straight cuts and then a T-53rd at the WGC-Mexico Championship.  He realizes that in the weeks after the Masters his swing has not been the best and got worst over the summer and has snowballed since.  He has switched caddies and swing coaches, but coming into the Palmer is still lost, so as a warning for betters Molinari is not the person to put a dollar or two on right now.

What about Tommy Fleetwood?

Last but not least we have the Tommy Fleetwood saga.  Yes, it was frustrating for him last week at the Honda, but I can boldly say that I think he is going to win either this week or next week at the Players, he is that close.  Last year he played great other than his third-round 76 but the point that he has been in the 60s in seven of his 12 Bay Hill rounds speaks volumes that he can go low and play well.  Look for another good performance out of Fleetwood not only this week but for the rest of the year.

Things you need to know about the Arnold Palmer Invitational

According to the PGA Tour, this will be the 55th 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 55th 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 42nd 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.  In the 42 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.
  • The scoring average of the field at Bay Hill last year was 72.38 as the course was ranked the 9th hardest course on the PGA Tour.  In 2018 the course played to a scoring average of 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 spent 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 as Palmer changed his mind again in 2010 and changed the par back on the 4th and 16 holes as the course went back to a par 72.
  • Until about six 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 consistent 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.  In 2016 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 change 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 year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2020. 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 72.38 as the course was ranked the 9th hardest course on the PGA Tour. In 2018 the course played to a scoring average of 72.02, almost a shot easier than it was in 2017 as it ranked T-15th hardest on the PGA Tour. In 2017 the scoring average 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 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 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. Last year the temperatures were between the mid-80s each day and the winds were mild between Thursday through Saturday at 5 to 12 mph. On Sunday winds blew 12 to 20 mph but overall it was pretty mild compared to other years. This course needs the elements to make it a really hard course. It has rough and plenty of water, it’s sometimes hard to guide a shot into the right area. But wind makes this course a true brute and as we learned with the winds last week at Honda this time of year you do get windy days. 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 idiotically as it played last year, each day will be warm with perfect conditions with great temperatures, but dropping.On Thursday it will be 89 but drop to 75 on Friday to 67 on Saturday and back up to 72 on Sunday. The winds will blow out of the north, on Thursday will be a tough day at 20 mph with the other days blowing at 14 to 15 mph. It will be important on Wednesday to check the hour by hour wind reports for Thursday and Friday to make sure that a player gets the right pairing with the wind. So look for scores to be lower than previous years but not like the brutal conditions which produce high scores last week in Honda.

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 26th hardest in fairways hit, but 5th in greens hit for a T-5th place ranking in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. Last year’s winner Francesco Molinari was T-3rd in fairways hit and T-6th in greens hit and was 13th in Strokes Gained Tee-te-Green. 2018 winner Rory McIlroy was T-48th in fairways hit and T-45th in greens hit for an overall 7th ranking in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. In Proximity to hole in which Bay Hill was 3rd last year and 13th in 2018, Molinari was 18th last year and McIlroy was 1st. Now in Rough Proximity which Bay Hill ranked 2nd last year and 3rd in 2018, Molinari was 15th last year and McIlroy was 32nd in 2018. In our last critical category Putting inside Ten Feet, Bay Hill ranked 32nd in last year and 25th in 2018. Molinari was 4th in Strokes Gained Putting as he was 16th in Putting inside 10 feet making 60 of 65 putts. As for McIlory, he made his biggest gains in 2018 on the greens, he was 1st in Strokes Gained Putting as he was 2nd in Putting inside ten feet making 59 of 61 putts.

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 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, lots of putts are made.
Last year Molinari was 4th in Strokes Gained Putting and 2nd in total Putting. He was 4th in total putts made at 379 feet, 3 inches and in the 56 putts he had of seven feet or under he only missed one. In 2018 McIlroy was 1st in Strokes Gained Putting and 1st in total putting. He had 54 putts of seven feet and didn’t miss a single putt, the true key for him winning. The same with 2017 winner Marc Leishman, who was 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting and 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 FOR CATEGORIES FOR THE MOST CRITICAL STATS FOR PLAYERS TO DO WELL THIS WEEK AT THE ARNOLD PALMER:

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: Stat is a 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 3rd with each shot ending up 40 feet, 1 inch 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 2nd with the average ball ending up 54 feet, 9 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 32nd (4th hardest) out of 35 courses so it’s a hard stat for players on this course.

104 of the 121 players from this year’s field with stats from this year:

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

Here are the stats of the other 94 players from the Arnold Palmer Invitational 

DraftKings tips

We are trying a new database.  Since the Sentry Tournament of Champions, we have archived every event that Draftkings has had a game and recorded the points each player has received for their performance for the week.

We have totaled each players total and come out with a list, based on the total point total via his average on his number of rounds.  So for the week, if he played four rounds and made 100 points, his point average is 25.  If his point total is 100 for eight rounds, his point average is 12.5.

Now Draftkings has had games for every PGA Tour and European Tour event since the first of January and we have totaled all of them up.

So the list below is the top 45 players in the Palmer field that have the best DraftKings Point average, per round.

Hope you enjoy it, please give us some feedback:

Historical totals

Of the 121 in the field, 100 have played at least once in the Arnold Palmer.  Here are the players with the most under par totals at Bay Hill since 2015:

  • Rory McIlroy is 52 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Henrik Stenson is 45 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Francesco Molinari is 42 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Jason Day is 33 under in 16 rounds playing 5 years
  • Marc Leishman is 31 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Justin Rose is 23 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Zach Johnson is 23 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Bryson DeChambeau is 21 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 20 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Jason Kokrak is 20 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Emiliano Grillo is 19 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Tommy Fleetwood is 19 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Rickie Fowler is 19 under in 16 rounds playing 4 years
  • Charles Howell III is 19 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Adam Scott is 17 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Kevin Chappell is 17 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick is 17 under in 14 rounds playing 4 years
  • Matt Jones is 16 under in 6 rounds playing 2 years
  • Ian Poulter is 16 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Lucas Glover is 16 under in 18 rounds playing 5 years
  • Billy Horschel is 15 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Brendan Steele is 14 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Charley Hoffman is 14 under in 10 rounds playing 3 years
  • Keegan Bradley is 13 under in 20 rounds playing 5 years
  • Carlos Ortiz is 11 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Troy Merritt is 10 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Zac Blair is 10 under in 8 rounds playing 2 years
  • Byeong Hun An is 10 under in 12 rounds playing 3 years
  • Kevin Na is 10 under in 12 rounds playing 4 years
  • Rafael Cabrera-Bello is 9 under in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Sungjae Im is 9 under in 4 rounds playing 1 year
  • Kevin Kisner is 9 under in 16 rounds playing 5 years

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

  • Rory McIlroy is 52 under, playing 5 years (-10.4)
  • Henrik Stenson is 45 under, playing 5 years (-9.0)
  • Francesco Molinari is 42 under, playing 5 years (-8.4)
  • Matt Jones is 16 under, playing 2 years (-8.0)
  • Bryson DeChambeau is 21 under, playing 3 years (-7.0)
  • Jason Day is 33 under, playing 5 years (-6.6)
  • Emiliano Grillo is 19 under, playing 3 years (-6.3)
  • Tommy Fleetwood is 19 under, playing 3 years (-6.3)
  • Marc Leishman is 31 under, playing 5 years (-6.2)
  • Justin Rose is 23 under, playing 4 years (-5.8)
  • Adam Scott is 17 under, playing 3 years (-5.7)
  • Carlos Ortiz is 11 under, playing 2 years (-5.5)
  • Troy Merritt is 10 under, playing 2 years (-5.0)
  • Zac Blair is 10 under, playing 2 years (-5.0)
  • Rickie Fowler is 19 under, playing 4 years (-4.8)
  • Brendan Steele is 14 under, playing 3 years (-4.7)
  • Charley Hoffman is 14 under, playing 3 years (-4.7)
  • Zach Johnson is 23 under, playing 5 years (-4.6)
  • Kevin Chappell is 17 under, playing 4 years (-4.3)
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick is 17 under, playing 4 years (-4.3)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 20 under, playing 5 years (-4.0)
  • Jason Kokrak is 20 under, playing 5 years (-4.0)
  • Charles Howell III is 19 under, playing 5 years (-3.8)
  • Patrick Reed is 7 under, playing 2 years (-3.5)
  • Byeong Hun An is 10 under, playing 3 years (-3.3)
  • Ian Poulter is 16 under, playing 5 years (-3.2)
  • Lucas Glover is 16 under, playing 5 years (-3.2)
  • Billy Horschel is 15 under, playing 5 years (-3.0)

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

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:
  • Rory McIlroy – $11,800
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $11,000
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $10,600
  • Bryce DeChambeau – $10,400
  • Xander Schauffele – $10,000
  • Adam Scott – $9,700
  • Sungjae Im – $9,500
  • Patrick Reed – $9,400
  • Rickie Fowler – $9,300
  • Brooks Koepka – $9,200
  • Jason Day- $9,100
  • Justin Rose – $9,000

Lots of power at the top even though of those in the top-12, only three have won (Scott, Im and Reed).  As for Rory McIlroy at $11,800 you can’t argue with the price, the man has been in the top-five in his last five starts, was 5th in his last start in Mexico and won at Bay Hill in 2018 and was T-6th last year.  The only problem I have with McIlroy is his final round problems, other than that he always gives you a chance on Sunday, can’t ask for more.  As for Tommy Fleetwood at $11,000 the same with him, he has been good of late, almost won last week at the Honda and was T-3rd last year at Bay Hill.  I really feel he is going to win either this week or next.  Hideki Matsuyama at $10,600 is someone that on paper should be good, he is a great ball striker but his record in Florida is not good including Bay Hill.  Yes he was T-5th at Genesis and T-6th in Mexico but I just don’t think he will do it this week and he is a lot of money.  Now Bryce DeChambeau at $10,400 is another story he was 2nd at Bay Hill in 2018 and was T-5th at Genesis and 2nd in Mexico shooting 65 in the final round.  He is ready to go and could be the guy this week.  Xander Schauffele at $10,000 is a tough choice, the price is high when you consider he has not played before at Bay Hill so we don’t know what to expect.  He has only played twice in Florida, was T-2nd at the Players in 2018 but missed the cut last year  Since his runner-up finish at Kapalua he has had mixed results, but did finish 66-66 in finishing T-14th in Mexico, I still say he is too much money.  Now Adam Scott is worth the $9,700.  He has finished 3rd twice at Bay Hill in 2004 and 2014 and I think he is playing good right now.  Now Sungjae Im is $9,500 and on paper looks great.  He won last week and was T-3rd last year at Bay Hill but I am passing on him because he has gone through a lot with the victory and I just don’t think he can handle all of this right now.  Patrick Reed is $9,400 and comes to a course he hasn’t played well on so I say no for this week.  Rickie Fowler at $9,300 is a big no, his game is just not there now.  The same with Brooks Koepka at $9,200, look for him to make the cut as he looks to make strides and get better this week.  Jason Day at $9,100 is another question mark, he has won on this course in 2016 but that is the only time he has played well so I say take a pass.  Justin Rose at $9,000 is a joke, I wouldn’t take Rose at $6,000 is game is that bad right now.

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

Henrik Stenson at $8,800 is a great buy considering how well he has played at Bay Hill with a 2nd, a 3rd, a 4th, and a 5th.  Making things easier to chose him he won the Hero’s in December so anything is possible with him.  Byeong Hun An at $8,700 is also good, he was T-10th last year but I like how he played at Honda last week (T-4th) and it should roll over to this week.  Marc Leishman at $8,600 is also a possible good pick, a past winner in 2017 he hasn’t played well since winning at Torrey but I feel his game will be good in Florida.  Lee Westwood is $8,200 and a good gamble, he played great at the Honda (T-4th) and has had a good year.  Also, like Tyrrell Hatton at $8,100, he was T-4th in 2017 and in Mexico was T-6th.  Abraham Ancer is $7,800 and worth the price, yes he misses the cut at Bay Hill last year but he has played great in 2020 and should do well this week.  Wyndham Clark is also a good buy at $7,700, he is a rookie at Bay Hill but is a good Florida player as we have found out with his T-11th at Honda last week and his T-7th at Honda last year.  Rafael Cabrera-Bello is $7,600 is also a good buy, was terrific in his first Arnold Palmer last year shooting rounds of 65-75-70-69 to finish T-3rd.  Also, we can’t forget about Brendan Steele at $7,500, he came close at Honda finishing T-4th and lost a playoff at the Sony so it’s only a matter of time for him.

Are there any “Bargains” out there?

The pickings are good in players at and under $7,500, just have to dig.  First up is Maverick McNealy at $7,400, which was T-46th as an amateur at Bay Hill in 2016.  as played well this year, was T-5th at Pebble and T-11th at Honda to name the best.  Hard to believe you can get Kevin Na at $7,300, mixed results at the Arnold Palmer, was runner-up in 2010, T-4th in 2012 and T-6th in 2015.  Missed cut last year but he can play well and does well in windy, tough conditions.  on in September in Las Vegas, was T-9th in Mexico.  Keegan Bradley is $7,000 and has played well at Bay Hill finishing 2nd in 2014 and T-3rd in 2013.  Yes, he missed the cut last week at the Honda but you just never know if he can turn it around.

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

The 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 seven of the last ten winners were in the top-20, including 2017 champion Marc Leishman who led the greens hit category  Last year Francesco Molinari was T-6th hitting 48 of the 72 greens.
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.  In 2017 the course was the 7th hardest with a field average of 58.71, while in 2018 with the lack of wind the course was the 17th hardest on tour with an average of 63.53.  Last year the course was the 5th hardest with an average of 57.64.
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 3rd, in 2018 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 40 feet, 1 inch, in 2018 it was 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 2nd last year with a 54 foot, 9-inch average, in 2018 it was 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 2020, 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 both distance rank and accuracy rank to help determine your winner.
  • Unimportant stat: In eight of the last 20 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 2018 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 121 in the field this week, a quarter of the field live in Florida with a dozen or so 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.    On Thursday it will be 89 but drop to 75 on Friday to 67 on Saturday and back up to 72 on Sunday.  The winds will blow out of the north, on Thursday will be a tough day at 20 mph with the other days blowing at 14 to 15 mph.  It will be important on Wednesday to check the hour by hour wind reports for Thursday and Friday to make sure that a player gets the right pairing with the wind.  So look for scores to be lower than previous years but not like the brutal conditions which produce high scores last week in Honda.

 

Who to watch for at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Best Bets:

Tommy Fleetwood

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T3 T26 T10

Only a matter of time before he wins, this it will be either this week or next week. Was T-3rd last year at the Palmer, in three starts at Bay Hill is 19 under on the course. Since the start of 2018 has played in six Florida events and been out of the top-seven just once.

Rory McIlroy

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T6 Win T4 T27 T11

Love him even with his final round failures, has played well at Bay Hill won in 2017, T-6th last year and T-4th in 2017. In his last 12 rounds at Bay Hill is 12 under.

Bryson DeChambeau

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T46 2 T27

Was runner-up at Bay Hill in 2018, T-46th last year. His game has steadily improved on the west coast, was T-5th at Genesis and 2nd in Mexico.

Best of the rest:

Adam Scott

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T41 T12 T35 3 CUT

Win at Genesis, was T-26th at WGC-Mexico after shooting 74 in the first round, shot 68-68-70 after that. Was 3rd at Bay Hill in 2004 and 2014.

Tyrrell Hatton

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T29 T69 T4

Was T-4th in 2017, T-69th in 2018 and T-29th last year at Bay Hill. In his first start back from wrist surgery was T-6th at the WGC-Mexico.

Hideki Matsuyama

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T33 T49 T45 T6 T21

Great ball striker but can he finally master playing well in Florida.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T3

Was terrific in his first Arnold Palmer last year shooting rounds of 65-75-70-69 to finish T-3rd.

Byeong Hun An

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T10 T14 T49 T36 CUT

At Arnold Palmer was T-10th last year, T-14th in 2018. Was T-4th last week in Honda, T-29th in Mexico shot 65 in final round, T-9th in Phoenix.

Solid contenders

Henrik Stenson

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T17 4 CUT T3 2 T5 T8 T15 T47 T52

Was 2nd in 2015, T-3rd in 2016, 4th in 2018 and T-5th in 2014. Was T-17th in 2019 in his last seven starts has finished in the top-ten five times and is 60 under par. Won Hero World Challenge in December.

Sungjae Im

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T3

He won last week and was T-3rd last year at Bay Hill but has gone through a lot with the victory and I just don’t think he can handle all of this right now.

Brendan Steele

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T17 T46 T35 T20 CUT CUT T38

Had to like his T-4th finish last week at the Honda, was in the running down to the last hole. Also was close at the Sony Open losing a playoff to Cameron Smith so he has been close.

Abraham Ancer

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT

Have to look at his game which has been consistent since Thanksgiving, he was T-4th at WGC-HSBC and was runner-up at the American Express.

Marc Leishman

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T23 T7 Win T17 CUT T31 CUT T48 T3 T40

Won the Arnold Palmer in 2017, an important thing since he never plays badly at Bay Hill in the last 16 rounds is 31 under. Won at Farmers, now that he is in Florida looking to play better on bermudagrass.

Lee Westwood

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT T63 T17

Old warhorse has played 12 times in the Palmer, was T-5th in 2006. Won at Abu Dhabi, he has this thought that he is going to play well enough to make the Ryder Cup team in September.

Long shots that could come through:

Maverick McNealy

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T46

Was T-46th as an amateur at Bay Hill in 2016. Has played well this year, was T-5th at Pebble and T-11th at Honda to name the best.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T3

Was terrific in his first Arnold Palmer last year shooting rounds of 65-75-70-69 to finish T-3rd.

Wyndham Clark

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
First time playing in this event

Playing in the Palmer for the first time, he is a good Florida player as we have found out with his T-11th at Honda last week and his T-7th at Honda last year.

Out of sort right now:

Brooks Koepka

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
CUT CUT WD T26

Says that he is close but we don’t think he is ready to contend has of yet. Has always struggled at Bay Hill so look for him to continue the trend, just looking to make the cut and get his game in shape for the Players.

Rickie Fowler

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T40 T14 12 T29 CUT T3 T30 T50

In 8 starts in the Arnold Palmer was in contention once finishing T-3rd in 2013, has struggled on the course since, he has struggled with his game the last month and looking to get things back together.

Justin Rose

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
T63 3 T13 T9 CUT 2 T15 T3 CUT T30

Has struggled with his game since the BMW PGA Championship back in September. Hasn’t been able to put together more than two good rounds, every part of his game is now effected.

Francesco Molinari

2020 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08
Win T26 T7 T9 T17 T5 T34

Nobody more lost in golf since his tee shot went into Rae’s Creek in the final round of last year’s Masters, his golf game followed suit and hasn’t been found since. The big question is not when he can regain his game but if he can regain it since nothing seems to work.

Comments

  1. Any thoughts on Day this week?

  2. I will tell you this, in looking at the weather for tomorrow the afternoon is brutal. Between 7 am and noon the winds go from 7mph to 12mp at 10 am, to 14mph at 11 am to 16 mph at noon. Then the winds climb to 18 mph at 1 pm, 20 mph at 2 pm and stay that way until 6 pm when they go down to 18 mph. So those with afternoon times get screwed.
    But now for Friday winds stay steady between 11 and 14mph all day long so nobody has an advantage, so we can say that those that tee it up tomorrow morning will have a one to three-shot advantage. Rory, Adam Scott goes off tomorrow morning, Tommy Fleetwood, DeChambeau, Matsuyama in the afternoon so that may be of some help.

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