THE FIRST LOOK
Storylines from the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard
March 11, 2016
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- Adam Scott will seek a third consecutive win on the Florida Swing this week at Bay Hill. (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
• COURSE: Bay Hill Club & Lodge, 7,419 yards, par 72. The 1961 Dick Wilson design got a serious thumbs-up when Arnold Palmer proclaimed it the “best course in Florida” upon his first visit in 1965 – igniting a lifelong devotion that spurred him to buy the place and make it his winter headquarters. The PGA TOUR arrived in 1979, when the old Florida Citrus Open relocated across town to “Arnie’s Place.” Bay Hill’s closing threesome of holes often produces a dramatic finish, most notably Robert Gamez’s stunning 7-iron holeout at No. 18 to vault past Greg Norman in the 1990 Invitational.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
• CHARITY: The Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation, which oversees both the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. A neonatal unit in need of expansion spurred Palmer in 1987 to dedicate tournament proceeds toward a new facility. Since then, the event has generated more than $16 million for the campus.
• FIELD WATCH: Adam Scott, seeking to win a third consecutive start, and world No. 2 Rory McIlroy headline a roster that features four of the top 10 in the current World Rankings. Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose are the other top-10 entrants. ... Overall, Bay Hill will welcome 12 of the rankings’ top 30. And that doesn’t include two-time defending champion Matt Every. ... Bryson DeChambeau, just the fifth man to win U.S. Amateur and NCAA titles in the same year, makes his final start before the Masters Tournament. The lineup also includes Stanford’s Maverick McNealy, No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and Ricardo Gouveia who starred at nearby University of Central Florida.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 264, Payne Stewart (1987).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Andy Bean (2nd round, 1981), Greg Norman (2nd round, 1984), Adam Scott (1st round, 2014).
• LAST YEAR: Matt Every came from behind for a second straight year to come up an unlikely winner, draining an 18-foot birdie on the final hole for a one-shot victory over Henrik Stenson. Every’s 6-under 66 matched the final day’s low round, becoming the first player since Payne Stewart in 1987 to win with four rounds in the 60s. One year earlier, the Florida native scored his first career victory by making up a four-shot deficit. This time, he joined Loren Roberts (1994-95) and Tiger Woods (five times) to repeat at Bay Hill. Stenson held the lead until a pair of three-putts at Nos. 15 and 16 opened the door for Every. The Swede still could have forced a playoff, but was wide left on a long birdie try at No. 18.
• STORYLINES: Scott, a winner at The Honda Classic and World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, seeks to become the first to win three consecutive starts since McIlroy two summers ago. That run included two majors (Open Championship, PGA Championship) and the WGC-Bridgestone Championship. … Scott can also become the first man to take three legs of the Florida Swing in the same year. … Every, meantime, pursues his own trilogy as he tries to become the first since Steve Stricker (2011 John Deere Classic) to capture the same title in three straight years. Every also would be the first to make any such three-peat his first three PGA TOUR wins.
• SHORT CHIPS: Woods, a mainstay as he won eight times at Bay Hill, will sit out for the third straight year and just his fourth since turning pro in 1996. His eight victories at “Arnie’s Place” match his own TOUR record at one venue, alongside Firestone Country Club and Torrey Pines. … In 37 editions at Bay Hill, U.S. players have claimed all but five titles. Ernie Els has two wins among internationals (1998 and 2010); joined by Australia’s Rod Pampling (2006), Fiji’s Vijay Singh (2007) and Scotland’s Martin Laird (2011). … At least 10 of the 132 players in the field keep a residence in the Orlando area, including Stenson and OHL Classic winner Graeme McDowell.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 12:30-2:30 p.m. (GC), 2:30-6 p.m. (NBC).
• PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. ET (featured groups), 3-6 p.m. (featured holes). Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (featured holes).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.COM).