The PGA Tour’s “Florida Swing” comes to an end this week with the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge. Tiger Woods defends the title and will be looking to secure an eighth victory in the event.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational began life in 1966 as the Florida Citrus Open Invitational. In 1979 the tournament became the Bay Hill Citrus Classic and, by 1996, was known as the Bay Hill Invitational. Since 2007 Arnold Palmer has hosted the event.
Bay Hill has been a happy hunting ground for Tiger Woods. He’s been a winner here seven times since the year 2000. Most recently last season when he finished five shots clear of Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.
Fresh off victory in the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Tiger will be a heavy favourite this week. If he is able to claim an eighth victory at Bay Hill, he will knock Rory McIlroy from his perch as World Number 1.
A strong European contingent will look to deny the American. Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Peter Hanson will all tee it up.
The course at Bay Hill was designed by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee in 1961, though Arnold Palmer completed a redesign in 2009 that added two shots to the par and repositioned almost every bunker. The layout has hosted 32 PGA Tour events over the years. It’s one of the more difficult courses visited by the PGA Tour. Last year the average score around the layout was 73.176.
Venue: Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Orlando, Florida
Date: Mar 21-24
Course stats: par 72, 7,419 yards
Purse: $6,200,000 Winner: $1,080,000
Defending Champion: Tiger Woods (-13)
Thursday 21 – Sky Sports 3 from 7pm
Friday 22 – Sky Sports 3 from 7pm
Saturday 23 – Sky Sports 3 from 4.30pm
Sunday 24 – Sky Sports 3 from 5pm
Tiger Woods rules the roost at Bay Hill. Who might challenge his dominance?
Sergio Garcia – The Spaniard is playing some excellent golf in 2013 and has recorded 13 straight top-25 finishes around the world. He’s finished in the top-10 six times at Bay Hill.
Ian Poulter – The Englishman was third in this event last year and has shown good form so far in 2013. He played well at the Accenture Match Play and would have finished well up the leaderboard in the Cadillac Championship had it not been for a poor last round.
Graeme McDowell – Second in this event last year and tied third in his last start at the Cadillac Championship. Look for the Northern Irishman to go well again this week.
Key hole: 18th. At 458 yards, it’s not the length of this par-4 that will intimidate the players, it’s the difficulty of the approach. Water and rocks wait in front of the green and anything drifting right could end up wet.
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