By TERRY LYONS
This Week: The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill
The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard is one of three tournaments on the PGA Tour schedule with elevated status, along with The Genesis Invitational and the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Elevated events offer a larger purse ($9.3 million), a three-year PGA Tour exemption for the winner, and new in 2021, 550 FedExCup points to the winner.
This is the 22nd event of the 2020-21 PGA Tour season.
This week, 15 of the top 30 in the FedExCup standings, led by Viktor Hovland (No. 2) and Harris English (No. 6) are competing at Bay Hill in Orlando.
A player from outside the United States has won this tournament each of the last five years. Tyrrell Hatton, the defending champion, is the top-ranked player in the field at No. 5 in the world golf rankings. Rounding out those in the Top 10 are Rory McIlroy, who has 18 PGA TOUR victories and won the event in 2018, at No. 8 in the world, and 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau at No. 10. The last golfer from the U.S.A. to don the “red cardigan” in victory was Matt Every, who won in both 2014 and 2015.
When we last left Bay Hill a year ago, Matthew Fitzpatrick (69) in the final round was the only player in the field to post a sub-70 round on the weekend.
Defending champ Tyrrell Hatton will try join Tiger Woods (8), Jerry Heard (2), Gary Koch (2), Tom Kite (2), Loren Roberts (2), Ernie Els (2), and Matt Every (2) as players with multiple titles here at Bay Hill.
The 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational was the last PGA Tour event to host fans at full capacity through the tournament’s completion. The Coronavirus pandemic forced the 2020 Players Championship (scheduled March 12-15, 2020) to be cancelled after the opening round.
Weekend Tee Times are expected to be 7:30am (ET/local) through 2:00pm (ET/local).
Weather for Today: Sunny. 0% chance of rain. Temps in the 55-74-degree range with winds N/NW 7-14 mph. The forecast is similar for Friday, partly cloudy with winds ranging from NE->E 6-12 mph.
PGATourBrunch will be serving an early “BRUNCH” and posting at 6am ET Thursday-Friday and 6:30am ET Saturday-Sunday to meet the 7:00am ET tee-off time. (7:30am ET Sat/Sun).
Next Week: The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Decision on Tokyo Olympics, Fans to Come in March (ESPN/Associated Press)
THIS WEEK on the PGA TOUR: The ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL
COURSE: Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Florida
ARCHITECTS: Dick Wilson and Joe Lee, with an Arnold Palmer influenced update.
YARDS/PAR: 7,466 yards/Par 72
PRIZE Money/First Place Winnings: $9,300,000/$1,674,000
DEFENDING Champion: Tyrrell Hatton (2020 Leaderboard link)
PAST RESULTS: (link)
PAST CHAMPIONS of Event: (link)
FEDEx CUP Winner Share for points: 550
SOCIAL MEDIA: #PGATour #FedEXCup @APinv
TV COVERAGE: Thursday, March 4: 2:00pm to 6:00pm (ET) on Golf Channel. Friday, March 5: 2:00pm to 6:00pm ET on Golf Channel. Saturday, March 6: 12:30pm to 2:30pm (ET) on Golf Channel and 2:30pm to 6:00pm (ET) on NBC. Sunday, March 7: 12:30pm to 2:30pm (ET) on Golf Channel and 2:30pm to 6:00pm (ET) on NBC.
STREAMING: PGA Tour Live will offer streaming coverage of Featured Groups on Thursday and Friday from 6:45am to 6:00pm (ET); and on Saturday (8:00am-2:30pm ET) and Sunday (8:00am-2:30pm ET), PGA Tour Live will stream Featured Holes on Saturday (3:00pm to 6:00pm ET) and Sunday from 2:30pm to 6:00pm (ET).
PGA TOUR RADIO COVERAGE: Thursday, March 4 - Friday, March 5 - 12:00pm to 6:00pm (ET); then Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7: (1:00pm to 6:00pm (ET)) on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. PGA Tour Radio is available on Sirius 208/XM 92) or online on PGATour.com.
TOURNAMENT SITE (link)
TL’s Wedge Edge: For the PGA Tour Fantasy Game, my initial foursome will be MaxHoma, Will Zalatoris, Sungjae Im and Matthew Fitzpatrick. Back-ups on the bench in this strong field are: Paul Casey and Sam Burns.
For PGA Tour One and Done? I’m on Matthew Fitzpatrick and his (25-1) odds for a big score.
Quick Look/Key Information:
Last Week’s Final Leaderboard from WGC (link)
Last Week’s Leaderboard from Puerto Rico Open (link)
2020 Arnold Palmer/Bay Hill Results (Tyrrell Hatton was Champion) - (link)
Past Winners and Runners-Up at Bay Hill (link)
What They’re Saying:
Five Years After Arnold Palmer’s Death, his Tournament Thrives (OrlandoSentinel)
Viktor Hovland Firing on All Cylinders (PGATourCom)
Florida Swing in Full Force (SportsTalkFlorida)
Jordan Spieth Impressed with Tyrrell Hatton (SkySports)
Masters Invite in Peril, Fowler Frustration Grows (GolfDigest)
#SportsBiz, Sporting Gambling and Golf Industry News
LA Sheriff Executes Warrant for Black Box in Tiger Woods’ SUV (USAToday)
Ernie Els Reflects on the late Arnold Palmer (PGATourCom)
Tommy Fleetwood Among Golfers to Watch (NY Post/VSIN)
Tokyo Olympic Games (ESPN/Associated Press)
Dark Horses at Bay Hill (ProGolfNow)
Expert Picks (PGATourCom)
Sleeper Picks (PGATourCom)
March 4, 1991 - Rocco Mediate became the first player on the PGA Tour to win with the infamous “long putter” when he defeated Curtis Strange on the first hole of a sudden death playoff of a weather-delayed Monday finish at the Doral Ryder Open in Miami. . (Courtesy of Randy Walker), Author of On This Day in Golf History, available via Amazon.com and by clicking HERE
World Wildlife Day was yesterday. Hope these Gators enjoyed their day and took off.