The tour moves to Bay Hill, FL (just outside of Orlando) this weekend where we’ll play four rounds of golf at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge. This is another bigger tournament on tour in the Florida swing and we’ll see some guys playing here we haven’t seen in awhile. Arnie’s tournament is always a fun one and we have a great field going at it. Lots of half lemonade, half iced teas will be housed this weekend, it’s just shame John Daly won’t be playing this week to add a little vodka to mix.
- Thursday March 7th: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM on Golf Channel
- Friday March 8th: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM on Golf Channel
- Saturday March 9th: 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM on Golf Channel
- Saturday March 9th: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM on NBC
- Sunday March 10th: 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM on Golf Channel
- Sunday March 10th: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM on NBC
Whose Teeing Off
Well the big news isn’t that Justin Rose will be teeing it up after a few weeks, it’s that Tiger Woods will be missing this tournament because of a neck strain.
1) Unfortunately due to a neck strain that I’ve had for a few weeks, I'm forced to withdraw from the API. I’ve been receiving treatment, but it hasn't improved enough to play. My lower back is fine, and I have no long-term concerns, and I hope to be ready for The Players.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 4, 2019
The viewership for this tournament will take a hit because of this, but for golf fans there’s a lot of big names playing. Rory McIlroy, Bryson Dechambeau, Jason Day, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson, Hideki Matsuyama, and Francesco Molinari will all be back after taking last week off. Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler will also be taking the trip to Bay Hill after good showings last week at PGA National. Also Phil Mickelson will be teeing it up here for the first time since 2013. So even without Tiger, this is a stacked field.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational has been going on since 2007, where Vijay Singh won the inaugural tournament. The real sad part about Tiger not being here is the fact he’s won this tournament four different time: 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2013. The other years here are the winners and their scores:
- 2010: Ernie Els (-11)
- 2011: Martin Laird (-10)
- 2014: Matt Every (-13)
- 2015: Matt Every (-13)
- 2016: Jason Day (-17)
- 2017: Marc Leishman (-11)
- 2018: Rory McIlroy (-18)
Let’s take a look at some other notable guys and how they have fared here.
- Three or more top 10 finishes since 2009: Justin Rose (4), Marc Leishman (3), Francesco Molinari (3), Henrik Stenson (5), Zach Johnson (3), Kevin Na (3).
- Billy Horshel hasn’t missed a cut here since 2013, good guy to draft in daily fantasy.
- Ian Poulter hasn’t missed a cut here since 2009, another good lower priced guy for daily fantasy. Although he fucking sucks.
- Brooks Koepka hasn’t played well here, missed cut in 2017 and his other two starts here he finished 70th (2015) and 26th (2014)
- Rickie Fowler has three top 15 finishes here in 2018, 2017, and 2013.
- Keegan Bradley hasn’t missed a cut here since 2011 and has two top 5 finishes (2013, 2014).
- Zach Johnson has only missed one cut here since 2009, and that as in 2010.
- Martin Laird has never missed a cut here also, but other than his win in 2011, his best finish was 26th last year.
- Jason Day also hasn’t missed a cut since 2009.
Bay Hill is a 7,419 yard par 72 with 85 bunkers, water in play on 10 holes, long Par 3’s and the Par 5’s are all great birdie opportunities, and a ton of dog legs which makes the course play long. Recent winners here have all been great putters, gained a lot of strokes putting (Rory had 10 strokes gained putting last year), and guys who can play Par 3s very well. On the score card, the four Par 3s come in at 231 yards, 199 yards, 215 yards, and 221 yards. The course is owned and was designed by Arnold Palmer, this is his baby and there was a redesign in 2009. Let’s take a look at some notable holes.
Hole #16: 511 Yard Par 5 (4.41 AVG)
The start of a fantastic three hole finish at Bay Hill that features the easiest hole on the course (this one), a long Par 3 on 17, and the hardest hole on the course at #18. This is the shortest Par 5 on the course and is pretty straight on compared to many holes at this course. The green is protected by a lake to the left and front, guys to get here in two shots will have to hit over the creek in front of the green. This hole features the highest percentage in eagles (5.8%) BY FAR and in birdies (55.5%) BY FAR.
Hole #2: 231 Yard Par 3 (3.2 AVG)
The longest par 3 on the course appears right away and is the second hardest hole on the course. The green here is protected by bunkers on the front, and the back. Some changes made in 2009 allow the tees to be brought back a bit so this hole could play as long as 245 yards this weekend.
Hole #10: 400 Yard Par 4 (3.97 AVG)
The opening hole on the back 9 is a dogleg right that the big hitters will cut to give themselves a much shorter second shot to a two-tiered green. This isn’t the shortest par 4 on the course, but this is the easiest. It’s a good hole for guys to get a good start on, or to get some momentum if they’re struggling on the front 9.
Hole #18: 458 Yard Par 4 (4.26 AVG)
The finishing hole at Bay Hill is the hardest hole on the course and it shows by having the highest double bogey or worse percentage on this course. This is a longer, straight away par 4 that seems simple but the green is treacherous. The green wraps around the lake and then is obviously protected by that lake on the front, and there are bunkers to the left and back of the green. The tee shot is not nearly as important as the approach shot and to not hit into one of those hazards.
One & Done: Apparently I’m on a do pretty good one week and then shit the bed the next week. I have three top 10’s and then a missed cut and a T45. We’re here to break that streak this week. Like I’ve said a ton of times in this blog, this field is loaded and there’s a ton of good names too look at. I’ll be taking Rickie Fowler this week. He played very well last week at the Honda, he’s finished in the top 15 the past two years here, and does have a 3rd place finish in this tournament. I said in my PGA preview blog this would be a big year for Rickie (at least I think I did), and hopefully he gets his second win of the year here at Bay Hill.
Betting Winner: Henrik Stenson (+5000), Francesco Molinari (+3500), Zach Johnson (+9000)
All three of these guys have amazing track records here. The difference between the three is pretty big however. Stenson has played like trash all year, though when he is on he is one of the best in the world. He’s finished Top 10 here five times, but has shown no signs this year he can play remotely close to that level. Molinari had a great year last year and has won more recently than Stenson or Johnson. Johnson also has three top 10s here but hasn’t played very well this year.
Top 5: Rafael Cabrera Bello (+1000), Si Woo Kim (+1200), Charles Howell (+1000)
This course has Bermuda greens. Si Woo Kim is amazing on Bermuda greens, bet on him top 5, top 10, top 20. Howell has never missed a cut at here but hasn’t finished any better than 14th. Top 10 might be a better bet, but worse odds. Howell has also been playing very well this year, I like him to make a jump to the top 5 this year. Bello doesn’t have any course history here so this is a feel bet. He’s played pretty well this year and has a decent course fit here.
Top 10: Martin Laird (+1400), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (+800)
Laird won here in 2011 and has never missed a cut, why not take a guy with a great track record. Aphibarnrat has two 6th place finishes here. He had a bad week last week, but Bay Hill is a much easier course than PGA National.
Daily Fantasy Lineup:
- Ryan Blaum ($6,200)
- Jason Day ($9,900)
- Tommy Fleetwood ($9,100)
- Rickie Fowler ($10,400)
- Zach Johnson ($7,700)
- Hudson Swafford (6,500)
One & Done History
- Waste Management Open: Matt Kuchar – $293,467 (T4)
- Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Shane Lowry – $0.00 (Missed Cut)
- Genesis Open: Hideki Matsuyama – $177,600 (T9)
- WGC-Mexico: Jon Rahm –$65,000 (T45)
- The Honda Classic: Sergio Garcia – $183,700 (T9)
- Arnold Palmer Invitational: Rickie Fowler