Preview: Arnold Palmer Invitational 2021

The Internationals have a streak of five straight.

Could this man be next?

Arnold Palmer Invitational

Bay Hill Club and Lodge

Orlando, Florida

Bay Hill 
Yards (per official scorecard):7,466
Par:72 (36-36)
Greens:TifEagle Bermuda; 7,500 square feet.
Stimpmeter:12′.
Rough:419 Bermuda over-seeded with Rye at three inches.
Bunkers/Water Hazards84/8 (water in play on nine holes).
Architects:Dick Wilson (1961); Arnold Palmer (2009; 2015).
Course Record (last):62; Adam Scott (2014).
Purse:$9.3 million; $1.674 million and 550 FedExCup points (winner).

Notes:

  • Field of 123.
  • Top 65 and ties play the weekend.
  • Last playoff was 1999!

2020-2021 Season Winners

*- First-time winner

**- First-time winner AND rookie winner

EventWinner
Safeway OpenStewart Cink
120th United States OpenBryson DeChambeau
Corales Punta Cana ChampionshipHudson Swafford
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSergio Garcia
Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenMartin Laird (playoff)
CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEKJason Kokrak*
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPPatrick Cantlay
Bermuda ChampionshipBrian Gay
Vivint Houston OpenCarlos Oritz*
84th Masters TournamentDustin Johnson
The RSM ClassicRobert Streb
Mayakoba Golf ClassicViktor Hovland
Sentry TOCHarris English
Sony Open in HawaiiKevin Na
The American ExpressSi Woo Kim
Farmers Insurance OpenPatrick Reed
Waste Management Phoenix OpenBrooks Koepka
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmDaniel Berger
The Genesis InvitationalMax Homa
WGC – Championship at The ConcessionCollin Morikawa

Check out HORSES FOR COURSES for more details and angles for this week.

Previous Winners: *Playoff

YearWinner Comment
2020Tyrrell Hatton-4Ground it out in windy conditions to win by one over Marc Leishman for TOUR win No. 1.
2019Francesco Molinari-12Bogey free 64 ate up a five shot deficit as he beat Matthew Fitzpatrick by two.
2018Rory McIlroy-18Bogey free 64 made up his two shot deficit as he won by three over Bryson DeChambeau.
2017Marc Leishman-11Trailed by three, won by a shot over Charley Hoffman and Kevin Kisner.
2016Jason Day-17Only second wire-to-wire champ.
2015Matt Every-19Defended his title on the final edition before TifEagle on the greens.

Facts and Figures:

Lowest Rounds – Last Year65; Matt Every (Round 1). 66; Rory McIlroy (Round 1).  
Defending Champion(s) Event:Matt Every (2014-15).
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:Every.
First Time – TOUR:Every.
First Time – EventNone since 1990.
Odd Fact:Five straight international winners.
Odd Fact II:Bay Hill and Riviera ranked 1-2 in toughest greens to hit in 2020.

Quick Thoughts

Bay Hill could have weather on the weekend so look that up after you read this to make sure you’re not left wondering on Sunday afternoon.

Big greens and big targets off the fairway come with big penalties, as it should be, for missing.

Forced carries from 3 inches of overseeded rough will mess with the brains of the best. Remember, these guys prefer NOT making decisions; see ball, find yardage, swing = happiness.

Par-5 holes provide relief but it’s the Par-3 holes that need mastering. Big and strong.

Water on half of the holes will factor. Plenty of examples last week at The Concession.

Big greens = SG: Putting matters. Proximity won’t hurt.

Average winner has played around 4 times before winning so it might not be the week for the newbies.

Internationals fare well here because they are usually guys who pound it off the tee and into the greens.

Speaking of greens, Rory McIlroy had his career best putting week here in 2018. #Vibes.

Chalk – Betting favorites and my opinions on them

Rory McIlroy (+800): See above. Plus he made 26 birdies last week on a track he’s never played before. Catch him on the trend.

Bryson DeChambeau (+1200): Opened 77-64 last week. 2nd here in 2018 to McIlroy. Wild with water doesn’t help but he’s a super putter. Conflicted, again.

Viktor Hovland (+1200): Go read Rob Bolton on the Norwegian. First timers don’t do well here either. No value, pass.

Tyrrell Hatton (+1600): If Matt Every can go back-to-back, why not? Busted the rust off last week at The Concession with T22. Stick him in the top 10 and take your chances.

Sungjae Im (+2000): His last top 10 was on massive greens with windy conditions on Kapalua. He’s proven that a quality back, regardless of age, can get the job done here with 3rd and T3 in two appearances. Top 10 again.

Patrick Reed (+2000): In form and went close last week. Still working on the fade but needs no work on or around the greens. Big targets this week again should help him. So will grinding out pars. Top 5/Top 10.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (+2200): Yep, that’s him knocking. On TOUR. At the event. All of the above. Hits it too straight to get into much trouble and is an excellent putter. Win ticket/Top 5/Top 10. Read HFC for more.

Paul Casey (+2500): Enters on four straight T12 or better, which includes a win in Dubai. First appearance here since 2017 I find odd. Form is legit though. Top 20 just in case.

Hideki Matsuyama (+2500): Plays here annually and only has one top 10 to show for his troubles from six tries. Last four T33 or worse. Pass.

Jordan Spieth (+2800): We’ve seen the reclamation project fare well when there isn’t much water abound. That changes this week. First time at the event at this price doesn’t entice.

Francesco Molinari (+2800): Rocks here and has painted the top 10 in three of his last four on TOUR. Course horse with form? Yes, please. Top 10/Top 20.

My Long Shots and Others 33-1 or worse

Billy Horschel (+3300): My gut play for the week. He’s put in the time and his game is right there. Win ticket.

Jason Day (+3300): Part of me believes all the changes are for Augusta, not Bay Hill. Only top 10 here is a win. Pass.

Louis Oosthuizen (+3300): Play the trend (T29-T11-T6) for another top 10.

Tommy Fleetwood (+3500): Quick, name his last top 10 in the States! 12 months ago at Honda (3rd). Followed it up with MC here. Nah.

Jason Kokrak (+4000): Doesn’t mind a tough week or a tough track. Top 10/Top 20.

Will Zalatoris (+4000): T15 at Riviera suggests not much bothers him. Top 20 and enjoy. 4th SG: T2G last week.

Sam Burns (+4000): Four straight on TOUR with solo third at Genesis as the highlight. He’s 3 for 3 at Bay Hill but T39 is the best.  Top 20.

Marc Leishman (+4500): Horse for course with a win, second and third here in 11 starts. Proper wind player who has been driving me crazy. I’m in. Again. Top 10/Top 20. Skinny win ticket.

Max Homa (+5000): Seven straight, six in the top 25, a win… T24 on debut last year in tough conditions. Sign me up for another top 20.

Rickie Fowler (+7000): Moving in the right direction and quietly doing so. Good combo for him. Spiritual home here as he was tight with AP and the family. Last skinny win ticket but top 20 heavy.

Lanto Griffin (+8000): Three straight T26 or better. Top 20.

Branden Grace (+8000): Handled the win last week but can he handle the emotional weight this week? I don’t think so.

Matthew NeSmith (+10000): You’ll find him in here almost every week. Tee to green and Bermuda. Top 20.

Matt Jones (+11000): 10 straight including T8 at Riviera and T4 in Bermuda. Top 10/Top 20.

JT Poston (+12500): 2 of last 3 top 25. Doesn’t mind a knock and is a super putter. Top 20.

Henrik Norlander (+12500): Tee to green feaster. Of his last five, four have cashed T26 or better including T2 at Big Torrey Pines. Top 20.

Richy Werenski (+25000): Should make the cut.

Bo Hoag (+30000): Should make the cut.

Last Week’s Recap

Was cancelled due to technical difficulties.

Seriously.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter (@mikeglasscott) or email me: mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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