Welcome to GOLFstats.com!As a special promotion, you are currently viewing one of our special Performance Charts or Preview and Picks posts that we publish each week. We also publish special DraftKings Picks Posts 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 4th – 7th, 2021

Bay Hill Club

Orlando, FL

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,454

Purse: $9.3 million

with $1,674,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Tyrrell Hatton

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 29 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with three players from the top-ten: #6 Tyrrell Hatton, #8 Rory McIlroy, and #9 Patrick Reed. The other top 50 players are #11 Bryson DeChambeau, #13 Viktor Hovland, #16 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #17 Sungjae Im, #18 Paul Casey, #19 Harris English, #21 Tommy Fleetwood, #22 Louis Oosthuizen, #23 Hideki Matsuyama, #25 Kevin Na, #31 Jason Kokrak, #32 Billy Horschel, #33 Victor Perez, #34 Kevin Kisner, #35 Marc Leishman, #36 Justin Rose, #37 Christiaan Bezuidenhout, #38 Max Homa, #39 Lee Westwood, #40 Shane Lowry, #42 Bernd Wiesberger, #43 Robert MacIntyre, #46 Jason Day, #47 Will Zalatoris, #48 Brendon Todd and #50 Lanto Griffin.

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

The field includes 10 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2021.  Those players are  #2 Viktor Hovland, #6 Harris English, #11 Max Homa, #12 Bryson DeChambeau, #13 Patrick Reed, #17 Jason Kokrak, #20 Kevin Na, #21 Si Woo Kim, #22 Sungjae Im, and #25 Martin Laird.

The field includes 10 past champions: Tyrrell Hatton (2020), Francesco Molinari (2019), Rory McIlroy (2018), Marc Leishman (2017), Jason Day (2016), Matt Every (2015 & ’14), Martin Laird (2011), Tim Herron (1999), Paul Goydos (1996) 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 WGC-Workday Concession Puerto Rico Genesis Invitational Pebble Beach Phoenix Open Saudi Inter. Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry T of C.
Viktor Hovland
(333 pts)
T2
(150)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP T6
(40)
T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
Max Homa
(275 pts)
T22
(42)
DNP Win
(132)
T7
(55)
T42
(5.33)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Paul Casey
(216.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP Win
(88)
T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Tyrrell Hatton
(188.67 pts)
T22
(42)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP
Rory McIlroy
(187.33 pts)
T6
(90)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP 3
(60)
DNP DNP
Branden Grace
(174.67 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
T20
(30)
T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Jordan Spieth
(171.67 pts)
DNP DNP T15
(35)
T3
(90)
T4
(53.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Billy Horschel
(170.33 pts)
T2
(150)
DNP DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
T24
(8.67)
Patrick Reed
(158.5 pts)
T9
(67.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T66
(0)
Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(143.83 pts)
T11
(58.5)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Andrew Putnam
(140.67 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
T32
(18)
T55
(0)
T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Will Zalatoris
(135.67 pts)
T22
(42)
DNP T15
(35)
T55
(0)
T17
(22)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Sam Burns
(134.33 pts)
DNP DNP 3
(90)
T39
(11)
T22
(18.67)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(131.17 pts)
T11
(58.5)
DNP T38
(12)
DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(44)
T38
(4)
Louis Oosthuizen
(130 pts)
T6
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Cameron Tringale
(122.33 pts)
DNP DNP T26
(24)
T7
(55)
T17
(22)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Henrik Norlander
(121.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T26
(24)
T22
(18.67)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Cameron Davis
(121.33 pts)
DNP DNP T43
(7)
T14
(36)
DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP 3
(60)
DNP 31
(6.33)
DNP
Sungjae Im
(115.67 pts)
T28
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP T56
(0)
T5
(23.33)
Matt Jones
(113 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
T34
(16)
T30
(13.33)
DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP
Lanto Griffin
(111.33 pts)
T22
(42)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T41
(3)
T13
(12.33)
Jason Kokrak
(110.5 pts)
T9
(67.5)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP DNP T41
(6)
T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
T35
(5)
Francesco Molinari
(110 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
59
(0)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Robert MacIntyre
(96.67 pts)
T61
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP 3
(60)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP
Matthew NeSmith
(92 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
T16
(34)
T7
(36.67)
DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Marc Leishman
(91.17 pts)
T39
(16.5)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
T24
(8.67)
Jason Day
(89.67 pts)
T18
(48)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(83.67 pts)
T44
(9)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP
Chris Kirk
(83.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(34)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T2
(33.33)
DNP
Maverick McNealy
(83.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
2
(100)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 71
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Brendan Steele
(82.33 pts)
DNP DNP T43
(7)
T34
(16)
T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP
Kyoung-Hoon Lee
(82.33 pts)
DNP DNP 66
(0)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP T19
(10.33)
DNP
Cameron Percy
(78.67 pts)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP T21
(29)
DNP DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Justin Rose
(76.67 pts)
T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP
Brendon Todd
(72 pts)
T18
(48)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T41
(3)
T13
(12.33)
Bryson DeChambeau
(71.67 pts)
T22
(42)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
Wyndham Clark
(71.33 pts)
DNP DNP T8
(50)
DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
(71 pts)
T32
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP
Doug Ghim
(71 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Si Woo Kim
(70.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
T50
(0.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP
Kyle Stanley
(68.33 pts)
DNP DNP T32
(18)
T39
(11)
T36
(9.33)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(61.17 pts)
T15
(52.5)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T19
(10.33)
T41
(3)
Bo Hoag
(58 pts)
DNP DNP T32
(18)
CUT
(-10)
T36
(9.33)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Adam Hadwin
(58 pts)
DNP DNP T26
(24)
DNP T50
(0.67)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP
Russell Knox
(57.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T7
(55)
T53
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player WGC-Workday Concession Puerto Rico Genesis Invitational Pebble Beach Phoenix Open Saudi Inter. Farmers Insurance Dubai Desert American Express Abu Dhabi Sony Open Sentry T of C.
Denny McCarthy
(-33.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T73
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Matt Every
(-31.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Joel Dahmen
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
T60
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Adam Long
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP 69
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Camilo Villegas
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Doc Redman
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 70
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
John Augenstein
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Kristoffer Ventura
(-22.33 pts)
DNP T49
(1)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Jim Herman
(-20.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP
Robert Streb
(-19.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T67
(0)
T38
(4)
Brandt Snedeker
(-18 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Sung Kang
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP 67
(0)
T63
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Dylan Frittelli
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Danny Lee
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Austin Cook
(-13.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T32
(12)
DNP T47
(1)
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 fifth time that this event has returned to Bay Hill without Palmer, and the concern is that the turnout is not as good.  The field is missing #1 Dustin Johnson and #3 Justin Thomas, who lives in Florida.  It also hurts others who live within 200 miles of Bay Hill, like #10 Webb Simpson, #12 Brooks Koepka, and #15 Daniel Berger is a problem.  The good news, we aren’t going to see a mass exodus as we saw in Dallas when Byron Nelson passed away.  Frankly, it’s not about the course, the sponsor, or how 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 Genesis two weeks ago.  On top of the WGC event last week at Concession Golf Club, there is the Players Championship next week, Honda the week after, and the WGC-Match Play in three weeks.  Then you have the Masters, a 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 tinker with the course each year to make it fresh, but Palmer also uses to contact and write letters to players asking them to play.  You know that you just had to play in the event when you get a letter from Palmer.  Byron Nelson use to do that for his tournament, and no matter what your 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 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.

How successful last week at Concession was and Collin Morikawa winning.

Last week the tour made it to the Sunshine State, and as the PGA Tour teed it up for the first time this year in Florida, the 73 that played in the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession got their full array of what Florida golf is about.  Playing on a challenging course, the 72 players made 123 double bogeys and 29 scores worst than a double bogey as windy conditions made it near impossible for those to ruin their scorecards with double and triple bogeys.  Winner Collin Morikawa endured a double bogey in the first round, but to show you how crazy things got, runner-up Viktor Hovland won despite losing four strokes on his final hole on Friday.  Hovland made a snowman eight on the par-four hole, and to think if he could have just made par, he would have been the champion.  That’s what makes “Florida Golf” so intriguing.

In past years the norm when coming to Florida was for a new array of players who didn’t play well on the west coast would play well in Florida.  When the tour gets to Florida, traditionally, players who grew up and learned how to play the game in the southeast on Bermuda grass and in hot, sticky conditions with the wind blowing in the 20s would prevail.  Players like Justin Thomas, Matt Every, Daniel Berger, Billy Horschel, and even Bubba Watson, those either born in Florida or moving to the state, were to be the ones to watch once the tour started playing in Florida.  But things are different on tour these days. Collin Morikawa won and joined Rickie Fowler, Tiger Woods, and Nick Watney as the only California-born players to succeed in Florida in the last decade of golf.  Yes, it’s that rare when you notice that both Fowler and Woods had moved and lived in Florida, making Morikawa’s win ever more out of the norm.  But can we say “out of the norm” anymore?  Before Morikawa’s victory, the last five champions on courses in Florida not only weren’t born in the Sunshine State but were from out of the country.  Yes, the winners, Tyrrell Hatton, Sungjae I’m, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, and Francesco Molinari, were foreign winners, and to add insult to injury, the last five Arnold Palmer Invitational winners are foreign-born.

Leading up to Collin’s win

We also learned about Morikawa’s win because it’s a lot harder to keep pace with who is playing well and who isn’t these days on the PGA Tour.  After returning home to Las Vegas after playing in Dubai, Morikawa had some sleepless nights as he fretted over the fact that he ranked 190th in Strokes Gained Putting.  He has never been a great putter, but he realized on his return from Dubai that the reason for his problem was putting.  On top of being 190th in putting, he was 153rd in putts inside ten feet and 195th in putting from 10 to 15 feet.  On the Friday before Genesis, Morikawa sought after Mark O’Meara, who moved to Las Vegas and played at The Summit, the same course Morikawa plays and practices.  He found O’Meara and picked his mind, and O’Meara told him about the “saw grip” and why O’Meara adapted that method of putting.  Morikawa was hesitant at first but still switched, and it didn’t work as he finished dead last in Strokes Gained Putting at Genesis, but he felt a bit more confident with the new style.  When he arrived at The Concession after finishing T-43rd at Genesis, the grip felt better.

In the first round, Morikawa only made 68 feet of putts, but it seemed better.  In the second round, things got better, and he made 102 feet of putts.  It got better in the third round as he made 113 feet of putts, and for the week, he made 363 feet of putts which ranked 7th.  The “saw grip” was the key, as he finished 10th in Strokes Gained putting and drastically improved his putting from 10 to 15 feet, making 6 of 10 putts in that range.  But the point in all this is how quickly a good player can change his game around.  We saw Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, and Daniel Berger win just a week after missing the cut on the west coast swing.  We saw Brooks Koepka win after missing three straight cuts, just going to show how fine the line between winning and losing is on the PGA Tour.  We also saw on the west coast the drastic improvement Jordan Spieth has made on his game, so much so that he is playing this week in the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the first time.  At The Concession, we saw the drastic comeback made as Bryson DeChambeau shot 77 in the first round and turned it around by 13 shots with a 64 in round two.  DeChambeau finished T-22nd, but the one big thing of note he has lost 20 pounds is making one wonder what is up.  Rory McIlroy continues his trend as the “Jekyll and Hyde” of inconsistency as he finished T-6th but again stumbled to a final round 71.  Others who struggled at the Concession include Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, and Tony Finau, but it doesn’t matter as they aren’t playing as they hone their games for next week’s Players Championship.

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 are in.  Adam Long is on the bubble in the 64th position, but we don’t know if everyone is playing.  Last year, the tournament was canceled, so I have to think that players will show up no matter what.  On top of Long on the bubble, I have to believe that #61 Ian Poulter, #62 Jordan Spieth, and #65 Rickie Fowler will be looking to play well the next two weeks so that they can play in Austin.  Now in the last two months, we have seen a lot of movement up the rankings.  Max Homa began the year 100th in the rankings. He has moved up to 38 and will play in the Match Play and the Masters.  Will Zalatoris is another player to guarantee a spot in Austin starting the year 59th and moving up to 47 in the rankings.  Simon Kim was 95th at the start of January, and thanks to his win at the American Express, he is 52 and will get a spot in Austin.  Still, anything could happen in the next couple of weeks.

Players to watch this week

For Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau, Sungjae I’m, Tommy Fleetwood, and defending champion Tyrrell Hatton the last couple of months haven’t been very kind to them, especially Rickie, who is in the middle of a swing change.  All play great in Florida and have a history of playing well at Bay Hill, so these players should go on your radar screen.  The same with 2019 champion Francesco Molinari, who won in 2019 ranked 7th in the World Rankings but now has fallen to 91st look for him to play well.  Molinari played great on the west coast swing, finishing T-8th in Palm Springs, T-10th at San Diego, and T-8th in Los Angeles.  I would not be surprised to see him contend and even win on Sunday, so watch him.   Also, be interesting to see how Jordan Spieth will do.  He played great at Phoenix, Pebble Beach, and Los Angeles and will make his first-ever start at Bay Hill.  For Spieth, Florida has not been his cup of tea, yes he won the 2015 Valspar Championship, but since then has missed the cut in five of eight starts, and his best finish was T-17th at Doral in 2016.  Spieth is not a Florida player, and nothing wrong with that, but we will see if his game is back with his next two starts in Florida.

Things you need to know about the Arnold Palmer Invitational

According to the PGA Tour, this will be the 56th Arnold Palmer Invitational, which started 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 56th 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 43rd 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 a 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 its members.
  • The average green size at Bay Hill is 6,500 square feet, which is a little over the PGA Tour average.  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 74.11 due to high winds all week.  It was the hardest course on the PGA Tour in 2020.  In 2019 the average 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, 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 challenging 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, it 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 1948, 73 years ago, Palmer was playing college golf at Wake Forest, and they made a trip down to Orlando to play against Rollins College.  According to Orlando Sentinel writer Mike Bianchi, Palmer loved the area and the beauty of what Orlando was.  Orlando back then was still 21 years before DisneyWorld and was not considered a big area. Still, Palmer loved it so much he thought of transferring to Rollins College.  But he stayed at Wake Forest and ten years later became the top golfer in the world.  But Palmer still had Orlando in the back of his mind, and in 1965, those memories were rekindled.
  • 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 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 seven 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 six 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.  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.
  • 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 were more laborious than in past years. The scores hover right around that 15 under total, until severe weather brought the winning score down to 4 under last year by Tyrrell Hatton.  But with better weather, it’s guaranteed that the winning score will be around that 15 under figure.

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 2021. 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 74.11 and was the hardest course on the PGA Tour. The year before it was the 9th hardest with a 72.38 average. The course is very tough with 103 bunkers and water comes into play on nine of the 18 holes. With the rough and hard greens it comes down to the elements and with wind, it makes the course a true brute. For this year it will be very nice Thursday, Friday and Sunday but Saturday has a 75% chance of rain. The wind is only at 10 mph on Thursday and Friday, but over the weekend it increases to 15 mph on Saturday and 16 mph on Sunday, so look for an interesting weekend

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 10th hardest in fairways hit, but 1st in greens hit for a T-3rd place ranking in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. Last year’s winner Tyrrell Hatton was T-33rd in fairways hit and T-9th in greens hit and 5th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. In 2019 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 2nd last year, 3rd in 2019, and 13th in 2018, Hatton was 10th last year, Molinari was 18th in 2019 and McIlroy was 1st in 2018. Now in Rough Proximity which Bay Hill ranked 1st last year, 2nd in 2019, and 3rd in 2018, Hatton was 12th last year, Molinari was 15th in 2019, and McIlroy was 32nd in 2018. In our last critical category Putting inside Ten Feet, Bay Hill ranked 16th last year, 32nd in 2019, and 25th in 2018. Hatton was 15th last year in Strokes Gained Putting, as he was 21st in Putting inside 10 feet making 63 of 70 putts. Molinari was 4th in 2019 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 Hatton was 15th in Strokes Gained Putting and T-34th in total putting. In 2019, 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 FOUR CHOICES FOR THE MOST CRITICAL STATS FROM PLAYERS TO DO WELL AT BAY HILL:

*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: Stat is a good barometer on the overall play from drives to hitting into the greens. For years Bay Hill is always in the top-15, last year it ranked T-3rd.

*Proximity to Hole: Average length that a player hits from the pin with shots from the fairway, last year it was 2nd with each shot ending up 44 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 also ranked 1st with the average ball ending up 54 feet, 4 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 15th (14th hardest) out of 29 courses so it’s a hard stat for players on this course.

114 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 stats for all 114 players at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

DraftKings Picks & Historical totals

Of the 123 in the field, 107 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 24 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Francesco Molinari is 42 under in 20 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Henrik Stenson is 40 under in 20 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Marc Leishman is 34 under in 22 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Jason Day is 31 under in 17 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Bryson DeChambeau is 22 under in 16 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Emiliano Grillo is 21 under in 13 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Luke List is 18 under in 12 rounds, playing 3 years
  • Justin Rose is 17 under in 18 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Zach Johnson is 17 under in 24 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Hudson Swafford is 16 under in 20 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Jason Kokrak is 16 under in 22 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick is 16 under in 18 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Adam Hadwin is 15 under in 12 rounds, playing 3 years
  • Rickie Fowler is 15 under in 20 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Chris Kirk is 13 under in 16 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Charles Howell III is 12 under in 22 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Charley Hoffman is 12 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Tyrrell Hatton is 12 under in 16 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Brandt Snedeker is 11 under in 18 rounds, playing 5 years
  • Sungjae Im is 11 under in 8 rounds, playing 2 years
  • Tommy Fleetwood is 11 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Brendan Steele is 10 under in 14 rounds, playing 4 years
  • Ian Poulter is 10 under in 24 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Paul Casey is 10 under in 10 rounds, playing 3 years
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 9 under in 24 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Billy Horschel is 8 under in 24 rounds, playing 6 years
  • Keith Mitchell is 8 under in 8 rounds, playing 2 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 6 years (-8.7)
  • Francesco Molinari is 42 under, playing 5 years (-8.4)
  • Henrik Stenson is 40 under, playing 6 years (-6.7)
  • Luke List is 18 under, playing 3 years (-6.0)
  • Marc Leishman is 34 under, playing 6 years (-5.7)
  • Bryson DeChambeau is 22 under, playing 4 years (-5.5)
  • Sungjae Im is 11 under, playing 2 years (-5.5)
  • Emiliano Grillo is 21 under, playing 4 years (-5.3)
  • Jason Day is 31 under, playing 6 years (-5.2)
  • Adam Hadwin is 15 under, playing 3 years (-5.0)
  • Keith Mitchell is 8 under, playing 2 years (-4.0)
  • Justin Rose is 17 under, playing 5 years (-3.4)
  • Paul Casey is 10 under, playing 3 years (-3.3)
  • Hudson Swafford is 16 under, playing 5 years (-3.2)
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick is 16 under, playing 5 years (-3.2)
  • Rickie Fowler is 15 under, playing 5 years (-3.0)
  • Charley Hoffman is 12 under, playing 4 years (-3.0)
  • Tyrrell Hatton is 12 under, playing 4 years (-3.0)
  • Zach Johnson is 17 under, playing 6 years (-2.8)
  • Tommy Fleetwood is 11 under, playing 4 years (-2.8)
  • Jason Kokrak is 16 under, playing 6 years (-2.7)
  • Chris Kirk is 13 under, playing 5 years (-2.6)
  • Brendan Steele is 10 under, playing 4 years (-2.5)
  • Kyle Stanley is 7 under, playing 3 years (-2.3)
  • Matt Jones is 7 under, playing 3 years (-2.3)
  • Brandt Snedeker is 11 under, playing 5 years (-2.2)
  • Charles Howell III is 12 under, playing 6 years (-2.0)
  • Ian Poulter is 10 under, playing 6 years (-1.7)
  • Hideki Matsuyama is 9 under, playing 6 years (-1.5)
  • Aaron Wise is 3 under, playing 2 years (-1.5)
  • Matt Wallace is 3 under, playing 2 years (-1.5)
  • Billy Horschel is 8 under, playing 6 years (-1.3)
  • Lucas Glover is 8 under, playing 6 years (-1.3)
  • Patrick Reed is 4 under, playing 3 years (-1.3)

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 Picks

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

  • Rory McIlroy – $11,500
  • Bryce DeChambeau – $11,000
  • Viktor Holland – $10,600
  • Patrick Reed – $10,200
  • Tyrrell Hatton – $10,000
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick – $9,800
  • Sungjae Im – $9,700
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $9,400
  • Jordan Spieth – $9,300
  • Jason Day- $9,200
  • Paul Casey – $9,100
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $9,000

A very interesting week and the top of the list has some people who could win this week.  But for Rory McIlroy at $11,500 he isn’t one of those players to pick, frankly, it’s time to just forget about Rory until he proves he can play four solid rounds of golf.  Now, these four rounds don’t have to be spectacular, but I am getting tired of Rory going 69-69-69-71 each week.  The sad fact on Rory, he hasn’t had four rounds in the 60s since Travelers back in June, 16 events ago.  And that wasn’t much of an accomplishment when you see that he finished T-11th, telling you the course was very easy.  That is Rory’s biggest problem, lack of consistency over a tournament, and until he shows us that he can play solidly, including in the final round he is going to be a big no for us all.  Bryce DeChambeau at $11,000 has also shown us a lot of inconsistency since his U.S. Open win, but he also has shown us so low scores like his second round 64 at Concession.  I think that Bryce has shown he can play well at Bay Hill and the course suits his game.  Still, he is a gamble at a very high price.  Viktor Holland at $10,600 seems to be an instant choice when you consider that he has finished in the top-six in five of his last six starts including a win at Mayakoba.  Yes, he is the hottest player in golf at the moment, but a fair warning he hasn’t played at Bay Hill and we have to wonder if a stinker round is close by.  Other than that Hovland should do well, with the caviar that he has been par or better in his last 13 rounds.  Am I going to take him?  Probably not because of his high price.  Patrick Reed at $10,200 is not for me, just don’t see him ruling at Bay Hill and the price is too high.  Matthew Fitzpatrick at $9,800 is a great choice, he was T-9th at Bay Hill last year and runner-up in 2019.  His game has been close to peaking in his last three starts, if he can play well on Sunday he could win this week.  Sungjae Im is at $9,700 and many have mixed reactions.  Some are saying no because he hasn’t played well the last few times but frankly he did the same thing in 2019 and last year.  He was indifferent on the west coast and went crazy in Florida, think that trend will continue this week so he is a big year for me.  Hideki Matsuyama at $9,400 is overpriced and a big no for me.  Not only has he been playing poorly for him, but his record doesn’t show that he can pull off a good week, so pass on him.  Jordan Spieth at $9,300 is a bit of a gamble.  He hasn’t played great in Florida other than winning at Valspar in 2015, but he is playing well right now and has a good frame of mind, I am taking him.  Jason Day at $9,200 did win this event in 2016 but in his other nine starts hasn’t played great so he is a no for me.  Paul Casey at $9,100 is a yes for me, he played well in the European Tour desert swing and did finish T-9th at By Hill in 2016.  The course should be right up his alley.  Tommy Fleetwood at $9,000 is not for me, not only due to him missing the cut at Bay Hill last year but hasn’t played well in January or February.

Here is our new feature in which we help you decide which guys make the cut the most in a tournament.  The importance of picking six players that play 72 holes is vital in playing well in Draftkings, and this list will help.  It’s a look going back to the 2010 Arnold Palmer on who has made the most cuts.  Of course, those who make a lot of cuts and are priced low are very helpful.  To get on this list, you have to make at least three Genesis starts:

  • Ian Poulter made 10 cuts in 10 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7300.
  • Billy Horschel made 8 cuts in 8 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 8900.
  • Francesco Molinari made 7 cuts in 7 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 8700.
  • Hideki Matsuyama made 6 cuts in 6 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 9400.
  • John Huh made 6 cuts in 6 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6600.
  • Rory McIlroy made 6 cuts in 6 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 11500.
  • Bryson DeChambeau made 4 cuts in 4 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 11000.
  • Byeong Hun An made 4 cuts in 4 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7100.
  • Tyrrell Hatton made 4 cuts in 4 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 10000.
  • Adam Hadwin made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7400.
  • Luke List made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7200.
  • Sam Burns made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 8400.
  • Steve Stricker made 3 cuts in 3 starts for a 100.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6400.
  • Charles Howell III made 10 cuts in 11 starts for a 90.9%.  His DraftKings cost is 6600.
  • Zach Johnson made 10 cuts in 11 starts for a 90.9%.  His DraftKings cost is 6900.
  • Martin Laird made 9 cuts in 10 starts for a 90.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6400.
  • Keegan Bradley made 8 cuts in 9 starts for a 88.9%.  His DraftKings cost is 7000.
  • Rickie Fowler made 8 cuts in 9 starts for a 88.9%.  His DraftKings cost is 7800.
  • Hudson Swafford made 5 cuts in 6 starts for a 83.3%.  His DraftKings cost is 6300.
  • Henrik Stenson made 9 cuts in 11 starts for a 81.8%.  His DraftKings cost is 7000.
  • Marc Leishman made 9 cuts in 11 starts for a 81.8%.  His DraftKings cost is 8200.
  • Patrick Reed made 4 cuts in 5 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 10200.
  • Patrick Rodgers made 4 cuts in 5 starts for a 80.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6800.
  • Kevin Na made 7 cuts in 9 starts for a 77.8%.  His DraftKings cost is 8000.
  • Jason Day made 6 cuts in 8 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 9200.
  • Jason Kokrak made 6 cuts in 8 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 8100.
  • Cameron Tringale made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7700.
  • Emiliano Grillo made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7400.
  • Paul Casey made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 9100.
  • Paul Goydos made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6000.
  • Russell Knox made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6700.
  • Sung Kang made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6300.
  • Tommy Fleetwood made 3 cuts in 4 starts for a 75.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 9000.
  • Brandt Snedeker made 7 cuts in 10 starts for a 70.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 6400.
  • Justin Rose made 7 cuts in 10 starts for a 70.0%.  His DraftKings cost is 7800.

(Those that I like are in bold)

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

Billy Horschel is $8,900 and many will think because he was runner-up last week it modes well for him this week, he has never really played well at Bay Hill, despite making eight of eight cuts only has one top-19 finish, T-13th in 2017 so he is a no for me at that high price.  Francesco Molinari is my favorite pick and at $8,700 he is a great price.  Has played very well the last month and I think he is ready to win again.  Will Zalatoris at $8,600 is a good risk, has played very solidly.  Sam Burns returns to play and is at $8,400.  Has done well on the west coast swing, but seems to struggle over the weekend, but think that could get erased this week.  Marc Leishman at $8,200 has a good track record at Bay Hill and one to think about for the week.  The same with Jason Kokrak at $8,100, he is playing well and has a good record at Bay Hill.  Have to wonder at $7,800 if Justin Rose is worth the gamble.  He has been terrible over the last 18 months but shows signs of breaking out of the funk, could be a great place since he has three top-three finishes at Bay Hill.  The same can be said for Rickie Fowler who is just $7,800.  He was T-3rd in 2013 and this would be a good place for him to break out of his slump.

Are there any “Bargains” out there?

Ian Poulter at $7,300 is a bargain when you consider that he has made the cut in his last ten Bay Hill start.  Luke List at $7,200 is also a good pick despite mixed results in 2021.  But in three starts at Bay Hill, he was T-17th in 2017, T-7thg in 2018, and T-10th in 2019.  Now Henrik Stenson at $7,000 is a great price for a guy who has five top-tens in his last eight starts but he hasn’t played that great in 2021 so buyer beware.  Looking for that low-price player that makes lots of cuts?  Keegan Bradley at $7,000 could be your man he has made 8 cuts in his nine starts at Bay Hill.  Chris Kirk is also $7,000 and has played well at Bay Hill. Now Keith Mitchell at $6,700 is also a great buy, he won a few years back at Honda, and in his two starts at Bay Hill is T-6th and T-5th.  Yes, he struggles on tour but when he gets to Florida he shines so worth the risk this week.  Another great bargain is John Huh at $6,600, he has been solid at Bay Hill making six of six cuts and been ok on Tour in 2021.

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

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 years winner Tyrrell Hatton was T-9th in hitting 42 of 72 greens while in 2019 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 hardest course on the PGA Tour with a 74.11 average, in 2019 Bay Hill was the 5th hardest with an average of 57.64.

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 21 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 123 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 75 and nice, with winds at 9 mph.  On Friday it will be 77 with winds at 8 mph.  But days will have low humitidy.  Saturday is not going to be nice, it will be cold at 69 with a 60% chance of rain and 16 mph winds.  Sunday will be 71 and sunny but the winds will blow between 18 and 25 mph which will make for a challenging final round. 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:

Viktor Hovland

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T42 T40

The question will be if Hovland can keep the train rolling of playing well and keep making birdies. The part of his game that is getting better is his putting, if he continues to make putts there is no limits on what he can do.

Francesco Molinari

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
Win T26 T7 T9 T17 T5 T34

Winner at Bay Hill two years ago, he is breaking out of a 20 month period of first poor play and then taking time off from the game to move his family from London to Los Angeles. It’s only a matter of time before he wins again.

Matthew Fitzpatrick

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T9 2 CUT T13 T27 CUT

Has been solid in his last three starts including a T-5th at Genesis and T-11th at Concession. Can play well at Bay Hill, was T-9th last year and 2nd in 2019.

Best of the rest:

Bryson DeChambeau

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
4 T46 2 T27

Bay Hill is a very good course for him as he can gamble on a lot of holes and make up a lot of shots. The key for him is putting, which along with iron play has been suspect of late. Looking to play a lot between this week and the Masters as he looks to get his game in top form for Augusta National.

Sungjae Im

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
3 T3

Look for his game to emerge as he has shown a liking to playing on Florida courses. Has been 3rd the last two years at Bay Hill.

Jordan Spieth

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Important test for him the next two weeks to see if he can play well on courses he has struggled on. His strength will be his confidence which got a boost from three weeks of great play on the west coast.

Tyrrell Hatton

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
Win T29 T69 T4

His first PGA Tour win came last year at Bay Hill, can he continue his good play in Florida.

Solid contenders

Marc Leishman

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
2 T23 T7 Win T17 CUT T31 CUT T48 T3 T40

Has had some great times at Bay Hill, in his last four starts won in 2017, T-7th in ’18, T-23rd in ’19 and 2nd last year. Was T-4th at Sony Open, T-39th last week at The Concession.

Will Zalatoris

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
First time playing in this event

Playing at Bay Hill for the first time, his game has been good on courses with Bermuda including T-22nd last week at Concession.

Sam Burns

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T36 T54 T49

Has played great in his last four starts, unfortunately, he stubbled in the final round in three of the four, was 3rd in his last start at Genesis. Showed in 2018 that he could play well in Florida, which was T-8th at Honda and T-12th at Valspar.

Jason Kokrak

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T18 T10 CUT T56 T20 T6 4 CUT

is record at Bay Hill is solid including 4th in 2014, T-6th in 2015 and T-10th in 2019. Played solidly since winning CJ Cut in October, was T-9th at Concession last week.

Long shots that could come through:

Rickie Fowler

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T18 T40 T14 12 T29 CUT T3 T30 T50

Hard to believe of him as a long shot, but he has played so bad the last year he is now a long shot. Has really struggled with his game for the last year and with a swing change over the last month.

Luke List

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T10 T7 T17

Surprisingly has played well at Bay Hill, T-17th in 2017, T-7th in 2018, and T-19th in 2019. Been up and down most of 2021, was T-10th at Farmer’s and T-8th at Corales.

Keith Mitchell

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T5 T6

He was remarkable the last three years in his Floridian play, won Honda in 2019, and was in the top-eleven in four of his 8 Florida starts. Was T-5th at Bay Hill last year, T-6th in 2019. Other than Florida he is a mess on the PGA Tour.

Have given up on him for a bit:

Rory McIlroy

2021 ’20 ’19 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09
T5 T6 Win T4 T27 T11

Since 2015 has played the best in events held in Florida including nine top-ten finishes and two wins, one at Palmer in 2018. His biggest problem is having that one bad round per start, last week it was a closing round 71 at Concession to finish T-6th. So until he shows that his game can be good over 72 holes have seriously downgraded him.

Comments

  1. Well Rory didn’t have his one bad round today. Three more rounds to get it under his belt.
    I picked Bryson and Fitz this week. In good shape after Thursday.
    Almost went with Ty – thankfully I avoided that mistake.

  2. We have seen this first-round performance a lot from Rory in the last year. We will see how he does in the upcoming rounds. Think DeChambeau will be tough, same with Fitzpatrick. Also, add Sungjae Im to that list and we can’t forget about Hoveland who also shot 69 along with Fitzpatrick and Im.

  3. Hovland just keeps finding himself on leaderboards with a 68 today – will play with Rory on Saturday which will be great with weather coming in.
    Ty bounced back today jumping 69 spots up leaderboard with a 67. Rory and Bryson lucky to shoot 71’s.
    Bryson couldn’t take advantage of Par 5s.

  4. You were spot on Sal as Rory blew up on Sunday with a pretty lackluster weekend going 72-76.
    Hovland even worse going 77-78.

  5. Have no idea how much longer Rory will be in this funk. Don’t think it has anything to do with his swing or game, think it’s more in his head. He just doesn’t seem to have the same confidence he used to have. In his career, we have seen about three or four times this happen to Rory, but this is the longest. Could also be a family issue in which things are so great with a new kid you tend to forget about working on your game. Again we can speculate until we are blue in the face and not get it right.
    As for Hovland think the hot streak has now come to a complete stop. Happens a lot in golf, he was going along smoothly shooting low rounds, and then all of a sudden he hits a course with windy conditions and everything goes to crap. Don’t think he will be a favorite next week at the Players.

Speak Your Mind

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