What: Arnold Palmer Invitational
When: March 16th -19th
Where: Bay Hill & Lodge
2016 Winner: Jason Day (-17)
Purse: $8.7MM total (Winner -$1.6MM)
Course: Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Built by Bob Simmons in 1961, it was Dick Wilson who actually designed the course. This 7,400 yard par 72 is a good mixture with some challenges to get from tee to green. The greens themselves are slightly elevated which stresses good approach shots. A few doglegs run around water with traps accurately placed around the pin on many greens. The Bermuda grass and length stress importance of good accurate Tee and Iron shots. The final three holes, much like Valspar will be a good test to the overall round
Louis Oosthuzien. Is there any golfer whose name is more fun to attempt to pronounce (wʊst.haɪzən)? The South African who won the Open Championship in 2010 is solid in both 2017 and at this tournament. He can scramble: 1st in scrambling from the fringe, 30th in shots gained around the green. He can drive: 17th in shots gained Tee to Green, 25th in shots gained off the tee and 17th in driving efficiency. Putting is NOT his strong suit (100+ ranking in most relevant putting categories). Among his 2017 PGA starts he has two finishes in the 40's and two top 25 finishes (no missed cuts). His last time at the Arnold Palmer Invitiational was 2015 when he finished 9th,
Kevin Na. He put together a great string of tournaments averaging 35th with a handful of top 20 finishes until Valspar. What I'm really looking at is his history here. He did not play last year but -6th in 2015, 14th in 2014 and 4th in 2012. He is particularly strong in shots gained approaching (25th) and around the green (19th).
Kevin Kisner. First, he has a terrible track record here (Missed Cut last year, 49th in 2015) , ok now let's work to mitigate that fact. Below are his 2017 tournaments played. For anyone keeping track at home that's 5 top 25 finishes in 6 tournaments.
Franklin Templeton -4th place
Sony Open in Hawaii - 4th place
CareerBuilder Challenge - 25th place
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am - 10th place
The Honda Classic - 48th place
World Golf Championships - Mexico Championship - 11th place.
Henrik Stenson. He's a must start here. I got burned two weeks ago at the World Golf Championships in Mexico when he withdrew but he bounced back with a resounding statement finishing 7th at Valspar last week. He is the best among the field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational:
Jason Kokrak. Up until Saturday and Sunday at Valspar, he had shot 9 straight rounds of 72 or under. He had some rough shots at the end of Valspar which dropped him down to 58th but his last 3 tournaments have shown solid play all around. He is now 14th in shots gained off the tee, 17th in driving distance, and 23rd in going for the green. He finished 20th here last year, 6th in 2015 and 4th in 2014.