Arnold Palmer Invitational Preview 2023

The King’s kingdom plays host this week at Bay Hill Resort & Lodge.

2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard

Bay Hill Club & Lodge

Orlando, Florida

Weekly Readers:

Horses for Courses – click here

Betting Stat Pack – click here

Expert Picks – click here

Odds Outlook – click here

Bolton’s Bonanza

I’d tell you to follow him on Twitter but if you’re here you probably ain’t on Twitter! @RobBoltonGolf just in case!

2023 Qualifiers for PLAYERS, majors


The famous Arnold Palmer umbrella won’t be used to stop the rain this week but rather the Florida sunshine. Temperatures in the upper 80s and perhaps low 90s combined with BIG WIND should make for an excellent challenge.

Bay Hill always delivers in the difficulty department, especially with the fans on. It’s a big ball park at 7,466 yards and penalizes poor ball striking. The Bermuda greens will be nice and slick by the end of the windswept weekend so that adds another challenge.

Nobody has posted better than 64 since the greens were regrassed with TifEagle for the 2016 edition. If that’s not a clue the cut has been over par every year since it debuted at Even in 2016. In perfect conditions the winning score has been 18-under and 17-under. When the wind blows it has taken 4-under and 5-under.

A run of five straight international winners since 2016 was busted the last two seasons. The last three winners have all been in their 20s. No chance of faking it around here and no debutant has won the event since 1990.

Find a premium ball striker from this premium field and take your chances on the greens.

Good luck!

Host CourseBay Hill Club & Lodge
Yards (per official scorecard):7,466
Par:72 (36-36).
Greens:TifEagle Bermuda; 7,500 square feet.
Stimpmeter:13 feet.
Rough:Celebration Bermuda over seeded with Rye at 3 inches and counting.
Bunkers/Water Hazards/In Play84/8/9
Architect(s):Dick Wilson and Joe Lee (1961); Arnold Palmer Design (2009; 2016).
Purse:$20 million; $3.6 winner plus 550 FedExCup points.
Defending Champion:Scottie Scheffler (-5).
Multiple Champion(s) Entered:None.
72 Hole Tournament Record:269; Matt Every (not entered) 2015.
Course Record:62; Adam Scott (2014).
Fact of the Week:No playoff here since 1999!
Fact of the Week II:You must play boldly to win.


  • Field of 120
  • Cut to Top 65 and ties after two rounds

Bay Hill has hosted this event since 1979. It became and designated event three years ago and is elevated for 2023. On top of the massive prize pool and FedExCup points, the winner receives a three year exemption. Also, the best three players already not qualified for the Open Championship will received an exemption.

Season Winners

2022-2023 Season Winners

Fortinet ChampionshipMax Homa
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipMackenzie Holmes
Shriners Children’s OpenTom Kim
Butterfield Bermuda ChampionshipSeamus Power
Mayakoba ChampionshipRussell Henley
Cadence Bank Houston OpenTony Finau
The RSM ClassicAdam Svensson (first TOUR win)
Sentry Tournament of ChampionsJon Rahm
Sony Open in HawaiiSi Woo Kim
Farmers Insurance OpenMax Homa (2)
AT&T Pebble BeachJustin Rose
WM Phoenix OpenScottie Scheffler
The Genesis InvitationalJon Rahm (3)
The Honda ClassicChris Kirk

Recent Event Winners

Italics – not entered this week

2022Scottie Scheffler (-5)Won on his second try in trying conditions as he held off Tyrrell Hatton, Billy Horschel and Viktor Hovland.
2021Bryson DeChambeau (-11)Remember when he drove the green? Yeah, me neither.
2020Tyrrell Hatton (-4)Highest winning total as brutal weekend conditions saw just one player make less than 10 bogeys on the week.
2019Francesco Molinari   (-12)Second consecutive winner to post 64 on Sunday to come from behind and win.
2018Rory McIlroy (-18)Closed with 64 to cruise home by three, the biggest margin of victory since the greens were regrassed in 2016.
2017Marc Leishman (-17)Trailed by three entering the final round.
2016Jason Day (-17)Wire-to-wire on the new TifEagle greens.

This Week – Arnold Palmer Invitational

Big ballpark this week with tough Par-3 holes, wind and tougher Par-4 holes. Par is a very solid score and the Par-5 holes calls for scoring. The angle on big ballparks is no longer a secret: Shorten the course. Hit it as far as you can to have less club to attack regardless of the grass you find.

OK, easy as that!

Iron play is the key this week because greens here are more wide than deep so judging the yardage with the wind blowing counts.

Navigating Bermuda is another angle this week. There’s a reason A LOT OF BIG NAME GUYS have NOT played this event in the recent years. It’s not because of the prize pool or exemption!

Not everyone loves this style of grass or putting on the grainy greens.

And not everyone likes to grind for four straight weeks in Florida.

I’ll argue the easiest stop of the four on the Swing is THE PLAYERS and it’s not close. Guys know they can score on that track. Innisbrook? Bay Hill? Honda?

Haha, not usually.


Last Week at Honda

MY CHOICE: Shane Lowry – T5

Lovely, solid finish. If you can’t win, you want to hit the top 10. Plus, it doesn’t matter when the win pool is LESS THAN HALF of a designated event. Gotta win 2 off weeks to ALMOST catch the winner from Riviera!

I’m not boring you with the table I’ve used over the years. It’s pretty obvious that this format has changed drastically and past results hardly matter. With the elevated/designated events, it’s obvious what is needed to succeed and it aint The Honda Classic.

Max Homa (2nd) followed by Shane Lowry (T5) suggests I’m on a run.

Already Burned
Sungjae Im – Maui
Tom Kim – Sony
Tom Hoge – AMEX
Viktor Hovland – Pebble
Xander Schauffele – WMPO
Max Homa – Riviera
Shane Lowry – Honda

This Week – API

MY CHOICE: Tyrrell Hatton

The Englishman enjoys the pain as much as the pleasure and he knows what it takes to be successful here in suboptimal conditions. It appears he’s on the proper side of the draw with late/early and will have the confidence to execute around here in the breeze. With a T6 in Scottsdale already on the books he won’t be pressing to keep up.

Others to consider:

Rory McIlroy plays great here. Tough lay down for me here but I need some evidence before “wasting” him in this format. Looking hard next week and Augusta.

Scottie Scheffler has already proven being a defending champ doesn’t bother him at all.

Jason Day is too hot to ignore but his only top 10 here is his win in 2016.

Matt Fitzpatrick bangs on this layout but there’s been too much talk of a neck bother for me to force him in here.

Just missed:  Keith Mitchell, Justin Rose, Chris Kirk, Tommy Fleetwood

Puerto Rico Open: Akshay Bhatia

Chalk (via BetMGM)

Jon Rahm (+650): Right side of the draw, hottest player on the planet, yeah, I get it! Only visit is T17 last year but Scheffler won in just his second attempt.

Scottie Scheffler (+900): Wind player and completely locked in. Splitting hairs but if Matt Every can repeat here, surely the reigning Masters champion can add his name to that list.

Rory McIlroy (+900): Contrary to popular belief he’s not a big fan of the elements. He’s mentioned it too many times to count. Amazing that he doesn’t have a round here in the 60s on the weekend in his last three visits. To be fair, not many have because of the conditions but our expectations with him are endless.

Max Homa (+1800): One of the of the west coast contingent who has played here the last three years. T10 in 2021 is the best but all three visits are T24 or better. More importantly he’s played this event twice in the big breeze. Not many weeks a turn a blind eye here. This isn’t one!

Will Zalatoris (+1800): Loves hard courses and big fields. This qualifies easily. Now, hard courses AND hard conditions? Posted 77 and 79 here last year after T10 in a calmer 2021.

Collin Morikawa (+2000): Three top sixes in four starts this season. Has a victory in Florida at Concession.

Patrick Cantlay (+2000): First start. Gotta be some learning curve, right?

Xander Schauffele (+2000): T24 in his only visit. Can’t we just tell him it’s East Lake and watch him go?

Top 10/Top 20/Top 40

Jason Day

Tyrrell Hatton

Keith Mitchell

Chris Kirk

Keegan Bradley

Tommy Fleetwood

Seamus Power

Aaron Wise

Long Shots

Use ’em wherever you see fit! All players listed are +10000 or worse and are for a reason or two!

Adam Hadwin

Luke List

Beau Hossler

Justin Suh

Sam Ryder

Lee Hodges

Emiliano Grillo

Ben An

Danny Willett

Zach Johnson

Last Week – The Honda Classic

Nice finds with Tyler Duncan and Justin Suh below but that was about it! Impressive defense from Straka as well, which is strange for first-time winners.

Chalk (via BetMGM)

Sungjae Im (+850): What a difference a week makes. Former champ has a pair of top 10 paydays from four starts and a MC from last year. Sums up the field this week! T42 as we try to figure out his new married life approach.

Shane Lowry (+1600): Safest play on the board for me so I’ll take the blame for his MC this week! No problem with the conditions or Florida. It’s a clue where guys play an event every year! Turned it on with 65 on Saturday but stalled out with 70 on Sunday for a top 5 (T5). All you can ask and he’ll be my favorite again here next year.

Aaron Wise (+2200): No idea why this is the number this week. Last two times on TOUR he’s went home early. I get he’s posted a pair of 64s here but feels like a stretch. Congrats on your win, Aaron!  Final round 66 jumped him from T65 to T29. I’d definitely get on him this week. I don’t have empirical data but it always seems the week EVERYONE is high on somebody and he farts out, the next week he bounces back. I’m sticking a few on just in case my theory is right.

Chris Kirk (+2500): His part of the world and his surface. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t in the fight on Sunday. In the fight and in the WINNER’S CIRCLE. Bang.

Denny McCarthy (+2500): Checks the first timer box and his last two here are his best two. Gotta have in the lineups this week. Just like Kirk, last two were his best two. Unlike Kirk, nowhere to be seen on the weekend. MC.

Matt Kuchar (+2500): First visit since 2011 but gives the Matt Jones/Paddy Harrington vibe. Hasn’t won since breezy, Bermuda at Waialae in 2019. Opened with 75 and that was that. MC. Depending on mid-40s ain’t my jam.

Min Woo Lee (+2500): Aussies don’t mind a bit of sand and sea with breeze all around. T26 after three rounds in the 60s including 66 on Sunday. Nice debut.

Billy Horschel (+2800): Florida resident hasn’t found any inspiration since Congaree. It’s not a secret he hasn’t played well in his home state in his career. Gave everyone a scare sharing the first round lead but faded to T42.

Top 10/Top 20/Top 40 (less than +10000)

Harris English – MC

JT Poston – MC

Thomas Detry – WD

Joseph Bramlett – T55 after sharing the first round lead

Justin Suh – T5 after holding his first 36 hole lead

Russell Knox – MC

Long Shots

Use ’em wherever you see fit! All players listed are +10000 or worse and are for a reason or two!

Peter Malnati – MC

Callum Tarren – MC

Any and all Coody Twins – T66 and MC

Purdue guys – TYLER DUNCAN 3RD, Adam Schenk T42

Hank Lebioda – MC

Brian Gay – MC


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