Quick look at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
March 04, 2020
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
All-time shots from the Arnold Palmer Invitational
We’re in central Florida this week, and that can only mean one thing – Arnie’s event. The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard is not just a golf tournament, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on the legend who passed away four years ago. Thinking about Arnie is a good thing anytime of the year, but especially this week. Oh, and there’s usually lots of drama, especially on the 72nd hole.
THREE PLAYERS TO PONDER
The 511-yard par-5 16th at Bay Hill is the easiest hole on the course; it played to a stroke average of 4.424 last season, which ranked 22nd easiest among the 163 par 5s listed in the ShotLink stats. In fact, there were more birdies (214) than pars (132), and nearly as many eagles (16) as bogeys (19). Here’s a look at the 16th.
Bay Hill - No. 16
The 460-yard par-4 eighth is the most difficult hole at Bay Hill and was the 24th most difficult of any hole played on TOUR last season. Its stroke average of 4.281 was a tad tougher than the nearly-as-tough par-4 ninth, which played at 4.253 and was also ranked among the 50th toughest holes. The green at No. 8 is guarded by water on the left side, so depending on your angle and the pin location, you might be able to avoid flirting with the water on your approach. Here’s where all tee shots at the eighth ended up last year.
From PGA TOUR meteorologist Joe Halvorson: “Patchy fog may develop on Thursday morning, but any areas of fog that do materialize would likely burn off by 8 a.m. ET. Winds will increase on Thursday ahead of a cold front forecast to bring scattered afternoon showers and perhaps a few thunderstorms (30% lightning probability). Rain chances will start after 1 p.m., though the greatest precipitation/thunderstorm chances are likely to hold off until after 4 p.m. as the front draws closer to the area. Brief heavy downpours may occur within these showers and thunderstorms, with forecast rainfall holding below 0.20 inch. Winds are expected to gust in the 25-30 mph range Thursday afternoon. Dry, cooler, and breezy conditions are then forecast for Friday through the weekend behind the front. ”
For the latest weather news from Orlando, Florida, check out the PGA TOUR Weather Hub.
SOUND CHECKI've looked up to Mr. Palmer my whole life and, yes, for all his achievements, on and off the golf course, but probably mostly for the way he lived his life and the way he treated other people. And that's something that I really try to do as well, try and be like him.
BY THE NUMBERS
239: Total balls in the water at Bay Hill last season, marking the fourth most at this course in the ShotLink era.
168: Feet of putts made on the 72nd hole by the eventual Arnold Palmer Invitational winners since 2003, most by event winners in the ShotLink era.
199: Improvement in the FedExCup standings by Brendon Todd from his position at this point last year (when he was 204th) to now (5th). That’s the biggest year-over-year improvement of any player this week.
10,095: Total approach shots at Bay Hill since 2015, most of any course on TOUR in the last six seasons.
69.40: Rory McIlroy’s scoring average at the Arnold Palmer Invitational since 2015, lowest of any player in that stretch with eight minimum rounds.
Euro group: Two years ago, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose were paired in the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with McIlroy shooting a 64 to claim the title. This time, they’re paired in the first two rounds along with defending champ Francesco Molinari in a threesome that includes the last two FedExCup champs (Rose in 2018, McIlroy in 2019) and three European Ryder Cup teammates. For McIlroy and Molinari, this is the first time in seven years they’ve been paired on U.S. soil – the last time was the third round of the 2013 PGA Championship.
ROY reunion: Arnold Palmer’s name is attached to the PGA TOUR’s Rookie of the Year award, and it’s no surprised that so many former ROY winners are in this week’s field, including The Honda Classic winner Sungjae Im, who won the award last season. Other past ROYs include: Xander Schauffele (2017), Emiliano Grillo (2016), Keegan Bradley (2011), Rickie Fowler (2010), Marc Leishman (2009), Charles Howell III (2001), Stewart Cink (1997), Vijay Singh (1993) and Robert Gamez (1990).
Molinari’s brother: Edoardo Molinari, the brother of defending champion Francesco Molinari, had to pull out of a recent European Tour event after being quarantined for fears of having the Coronavirus. Francesco said his brother told him that his health is fine, and that the decision stemmed from Edoardo’s roommate suffering flu-like symptoms. “He was, I would say, more annoyed than scared because he was feeling well,” Francesco said. “He had no symptoms. … Obviously being Italian, it's not a great time back home with the health situation and I don't know, hopefully they can get it sorted somehow quickly.” For the PGA TOUR’s statement on the coronavirus, please click here.