The First Look: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
February 28, 2021
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Tyrrell Hatton earns first career win at Arnold Palmer
Two-time FedExCup champion – and 2018 winner at Bay Hill – Rory McIlroy leads the star-studded field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Englishman Tyrrell Hatton looks to defend his 2020 title.
FIELD NOTES: Jordan Spieth is set to make his debut at Bay Hill. Spieth is rounding into form of late, having gone T4-T3-T15 in his last three TOUR events… Hatton has won twice on the European Tour in the last five months and has rocketed up to fifth in the world since his Bay Hill victory in 2020… Will Zalatoris continues his epic ride up golf’s ladder and earned a spot in the field thanks to his position in the Official World Golf Ranking… Ryder Cup captains Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington received Sponsor’s Exemptions to compete, as did Kamaiu Johnson, who is set to play his second-ever TOUR event. Johnson’s inspiring story caught the eye of tournament organizers after he had to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open due to a positive COVID-19 test… Three of the current top 10 in this season’s FedExCup will look to move up the standings, including Viktor Hovland, Harris English, and Max Homa… Other notables in the field include Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau, and Patrick Reed.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 550 FedExCup points.
COURSE: Bay Hill Club & Lodge, par 72, 7,454 yards (yardage subject to change). Originally designed by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee, the course was reimagined by Arnold Palmer, the tournament’s namesake. The Arnold Palmer Invitational has been held at Bay Hill every year on the PGA TOUR since 1979.
STORYLINES: International golfers have won the last five years. The last golfer from the U.S. to don the red cardigan was Matt Every, who won in both 2014 and 2015… The winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational gets a three-year exemption on TOUR instead of the usual two thanks to its elevated status on the schedule… There are 123 golfers in the field, but three past winners Robert Gamez (1990), Paul Goydos (1996), and Tim Herron (1999) are add-ons and will not be replaced if they withdraw… University of Louisville golfer Matthias Schmid earned a spot in the field after being identified as the golfer “Best Representing the Arnold Palmer Legacy” at the Arnold Palmer Cup in December. Others to receive the same exemption include Collin Morikawa and Maverick McNealy. McNealy is in the field this week as a professional while Morikawa finished T9 in 2020.
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: It was blustery and it was brutal, but in the end it was Tyrrell Hatton who emerged on top. Bay Hill was a demanding test in 2020 (Matt Fitzpatrick’s Sunday 69 was the only round below 70 on the weekend) but Hatton, despite a double bogey on the par-4 11th Sunday, managed to right the ship with seven straight pars to close out his first PGA TOUR victory (and fifth worldwide). Hatton’s 4-under score over the 72 holes was one of just four sub-par totals for the week – the fewest at Bay Hill since 1980. Past Bay Hill winner Marc Leishman finished runner-up at 3-under while Sungjae Im (3rd/-2) and Bryson DeChambeau (4th/-1) were the only other golfers in red figures for the week. Keith Mitchell, Danny Lee, Rory McIlroy, and Joel Dahmen finished T5 at even par.
HOW TO FOLLOW (All times ET)
Television: Thursday-Friday, 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC)
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Groups). Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Featured Groups); 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes)
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).
TOUR Pulse: Get the PGA TOUR app to utilize TOUR Pulse, which provides users the ability to experience a mix of content, such as video highlights, written hole summaries and stat graphics on every player after every hole they complete.