This week the best players in the world will be teeing it up at the beautiful and historic Bay Hill Club and Lodge for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We correctly selected Martin Laird (2011) here and will look to pick up a winner this week at a one of the more prestigious non majors of the year.
Bay Hill is a Par 72, 7400 yard beast of a course. Historically one of the more difficult stops on the PGA Tour, Bay Hill will force the players to be at their best this week. Arnold Palmer is the figure head of this beautiful course and it is exactly the design he loves. Players will have the opportunity to blast their tee shots at some accessible fairways. Length will be a key this week but the players will also have to be hitting fairways and Greens in Regulation. Arnold Palmer has bunkers placed perfectly to eat up golf balls off drives and on the player’s approaches. With 103 bunkers around the course you will be hard pressed to find a player who does not spend some time in the beach this week.
The Course record is shared by Greg Norman (1984) and Andy Bean (1981) who both posted blistering 62’s. The course has been lengthened by 300 yards since then, but the players also hit the ball much further now. If you are looking for a hole in one to take place this week be sure to watch the 2nd and the 17th. Over the years, almost all of the recorded hole in ones have come on these two holes.
The 18th hole is by far the most difficult at Bay Hill. For someone to take the title this week they will have to maneuver around this daunting Par 4. It will be playing 458 yards this week and every player will be faced with some nerves on their approach. The fairway is large, straight, and wide open for the players to hit. A large water hazard protects the green and is on the right side of the fairway. Three bunkers to the back of the kidney shaped green will eat up plenty of golf balls this week. The players who do find these bunkers are then faced with a downhill chip shot with water just past the edge of the green. Expect to see some interesting scores on this difficult hole.
The main attention this week will surround Tiger Woods as he will be vying for his 9th career victory in this event. Last season it took a Monday finish for Tiger Woods to tie Sam Sneads record of winning the same event 8 times. People will however be watching Tiger to see how his health is holding up, as his back does not seem to be getting better.
Plenty of attention this week will also be on recent WGC winner Patrick Read. Following his victory Patrick stated that he was Top 5 player in the world, a comment that came with mixed reviews ( the media also focussed on the fact that Reed wore Tiger’s signature Sunday red en route to his victory ).
With Arnold Palmer being the figure head of the tournament, the field is absolutely stacked with premier names. The likes of Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan, and Graeme McDowell.
Outright Winner Picks
To win this week a player will have to manage the course properly. To do so local knowledge is a must with our picks, as only one first time player has ever won the Arnold Palmer Invitational (Robert Gamaz 1990).
One free pick below. If you want access to all picks sign up at www.GolfBanker.com.
RICKIE FOWLER 50 TO 1 – Fowler has really impressed me recently and I can see him winning very soon. He went through a major swing change recently and seems to be figuring it all out. Fowler appears to be confident in all facets of his game, something crucial this week at Bay Hill. Rickie ranks 45th this season in Total Driving and is hitting over 67% of his Greens in Regulation. It has actually been Fowler’s putting that has held him back, something that has always been a strength of his. He did however roll the ball beautifully at the WGC Match play and The Honda Classic. Rickie has competed at The Arnold Palmer event three times and finished T50, T30, and T3. The T30 came in 2011 and featured a final round 78, which really hurt because he finished 8 shots behind the eventual winner. Fowler may have crumbled after starting the final round tied for 5th, but this occurred before he had won on the PGA Tour. Last season he came back determined to achieve what could have been in 2011, but unfortunately once again struggled in the final round (shot 73). Look for Fowler to take yet another step from stardom to superstardom this week.