Arnold Palmer Invitational Preview
Dates: March 13-19, 2017
Where: Bay Hill Club and Lodge
Par/Yards: 72/7,419 yards
Field size: 120
2016 champion: Jason Day
Purse: $8.7 million ($1,566,000 to winner)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Twitter: @APInv Instagram: APInv
Remembering Arnold Palmer
- To honor the life and legacy of Arnold Palmer, golfing greats Peter Jacobsen, Graeme McDowell, Annika Sorenstam and Curtis Strange will join former Secretary of Homeland Security and Palmer friend Tom Ridge as hosts of the 39th Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
- In addition to a special ceremony on Wednesday, March 15, the tournament plans to honor Mr. Palmer with all new photo spots and signage throughout the course, with each telling a unique story about his accomplishments and influence in the game.
- Mr. Palmer’s golf cart and clubs will be on display overlooking the 16th green during competition days, his favorite spot to watch the tournament and greet players and fans.
About Arnold Palmer (excerpts from pgatour.com)
- Arnold Palmer, whose magnetic personality and bold style of play combined to make him one of golf’s greatest players, the sport’s most revered figure and the most influential athlete of his generation, died September 25, 2016 of complications due to a heart condition with his two daughters and wife, Kit, at his side. He was 87.
- The winner of 62 career PGA TOUR titles, including seven major championships, Mr. Palmer rose from his modest Western Pennsylvania roots to become a towering figure with appeal that transformed and transcended the sport of golf.
- Mr. Palmer’s first PGA TOUR victory came at the Canadian Open in 1955. Just as he began to collect dramatic victories, America’s fascination with television was exploding. TV sets, which numbered only 3.8 million in 1950, were in almost 46 million U.S. homes by 1960.
- Arnold Palmer’s go-for-broke style made him the ideal leading man for the new medium. He leapt off the small screen with a winning smile, affable manner and bare-knuckled athleticism. He produced drama. A very large audience, including his competitors, noticed. “When he hits the ball, the earth shakes,” said Hall of Famer Gene Littler.
- The temblors reached everywhere, and Arnold Palmer became a hit with Hollywood’s biggest stars and show business icons, like John Wayne, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra. He was friendly with the 10 U.S. Presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush, and played golf with six of them – Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. He was the only golfer to receive both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
- Mr. Palmer reigned over golf as the game’s No. 1 player and influencer in the 1960s and ‘70s. Until recently, he regularly oversaw the operations of his far-flung business empire and many charitable interests, hosting the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at his Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida
- In the more than 40 years since his last PGA TOUR victory at the 1973 Bob Hope Desert Classic, Mr. Palmer actively oversaw his companies – which included the Arnold Palmer Design Company, Arnold Palmer Enterprises, Arnold Palmer Motors and Arnold Palmer Golf Tournament Services. Even as his playing skills waned, Mr. Palmer remained relevant and visible in golf, transitioning to the Ryder Cup captaincy in 1975, Presidents Cup captaincy in 1996, elder statesman and global business icon
- Mr. Palmer funded numerous charity ventures during his lifetime and founded the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, both of which have been listed among the nation’s top hospitals.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational and the FedExCup
- The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard is the 18th event in the PGA TOUR’s wraparound schedule that bridges two years with 47 official events.
- Over the span of 43 weeks, players vie to become the FedExCup Champion, which distinguishes the one player who not only performs well during the PGA TOUR Season, but also excels through the four-event FedExCup Playoffs, culminating with the 2017 TOUR Championship.
- The winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational has advanced to the season-ending TOUR Championship six of 10 years during the FedExCup era: Vijay Singh (2007), Tiger Woods (2009, 2012, 2013), Ernie Els (2010) and Jason Day (2016). In 2009, Tiger Woods won at Bay Hill en route to winning the FedExCup title.
- The week of the Arnold Palmer Invitational marks the sixth week Justin Thomas has led the FedExCup standings, having taken over the lead after a tie for fifth at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
- Hideki Matsuyama, currently No. 2 and trailing Thomas by just one point, has led the FedExCup standings for a total of 10 weeks this season, while Brendan Steele led after week one after capturing the Safeway Open.
How the Arnold Palmer Invitational was won in 2016 by Jason Day
- With rounds of 66-65-70-70, Jason Day edged Kevin Chappell by one stroke to win the 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. In the process, he became the fourth wire-to-wire winner (no ties) of the event, joining Mike Nicolette (1983), Paul Azinger (1988) and Fred Couples (1992).
More on Jason Day
- Victory in 2016 came in his 176th start of his PGA TOUR at the age of 28 years, 4 months, 8 days.
- Will attempt to join Matt Every (2014-15), Tiger Woods (2000-03, 2008-09, 2012-13) and Loren Roberts (1994-95) as back-to-back winners at Bay Hill.
- Seeking to join the following multiple Arnold Palmer Invitational winners: Tiger Woods (8), Tom Kite (2), Roberts (2), Ernie Els (2), Matt Every (2).
- Day’s win came in his sixth start at Bay Hill. His previous-best finish was T17 in 2015.
- Day became the fifth international-born player, and second Australian, to win the event; Scotland’s Martin Laird (2011), South Africa’s Ernie Els (1998 and 2010), Australia’s Rod Pampling (2006) and Vijay Singh of Fiji (2007).
- Day’s TOUR victories (10): 2010 AT&T Byron Nelson, 2014 World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play, 2015 Farmers Insurance Open, RBC Canadian Open, PGA Championship, The Barclays, BMW Championship, 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, WGC-Dell Match Play, THE PLAYERS Championship.
A glance at the field
- 37 of the top 50 players in the current FedExCup standings, led by Hideki Matsuyama (No. 2), Adam Hadwin (No. 4), Pat Perez (No. 6), Rickie Fowler (No. 10), Mackenzie Hughes (No. 11), Charles Howell III (No. 12), Hudson Swafford (No. 13), Rod Pampling (No. 14), Justin Rose (No. 15), Cody Gribble (No. 16), Webb Simpson (No. 18) and Keegan Bradley (No. 20).
- 29 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, including four of the top five: Jason Day (No. 2), Rory McIlroy (No. 3), Hideki Matsuyama (No. 4), Henrik Stenson (No. 5). Outside the World Golf Championships, the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational is the strongest field to date in 2016-17 from this metric.
- Five former FedExCup champions: Vijay Singh (2008), Brandt Snedeker (2012), Henrik Stenson (2013), Billy Horschel (2014), Rory McIlroy (2016).]Past Arnold Palmer Invitational champions in the field: Robert Gamez (1990), Ernie Els (1998, 2010), Tim Herron (1999), Chad Campbell (2004), Rod Pampling (2006), Vijay Singh (2007), Martin Laird (2011), Matt Every (2014, 2015), Jason Day (2016)
- Matthias Schwab becomes second recipient of the Arnold Palmer Cup exemption
- The Arnold Palmer Cup is a Ryder Cup-style tournament featuring the top male university/college golfers matching the United States against Europe. The event began at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando in 1997 and has been staged each year alternately in Europe and the USA.
- Selection of the Arnold Palmer Cup representative in the Arnold Palmer Invitational is determined by a vote of the 20 Arnold Palmer Cup participants prior to the competition. The players select a member of each team (excluding themselves) who they think best represents the “Arnold Palmer Legacy,” that is, the values that Arnold Palmer exhibited during his legendary career. The top vote getter from the winning team earns the invitation, with Matthias Schwab this year’s recipient for the winning European team. Last year’s inaugural recipient Maverick McNealy went on to finish T46.
Additional Player Notes
- Adam Hadwin – Just seven weeks after becoming the PGA TOUR’s eighth player to record a sub-60 round (CareerBuilder Challenge), stepped into the winner’s circle on TOUR for the first time with his win last week at the Valspar Championship, winning by one stroke over Patrick Cantlay. With the win, the 14th Canadian to win on TOUR moved to No. 4 in the FedExCup. He will be making his second start at Bay Hill, recording rounds of 69-72-73-69 to finish T36 in 2016.
- Hideki Matsuyama – Currently No. 2 in the FedExCup after having held the top spot for 10 weeks so far this season with two wins, will make his third start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (T6-2016, T21-2015)
- Rory McIlroy – World No. 3 making third career Arnold Palmer Invitational start (T11-2015, T27-2016).
- Henrik Stenson – Orlando resident and World No. 5 will make ninth start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, finishing inside the top 15 in his last five starts (T3-2016, 2-2015, T5-2014, T8-2013, T15-2012). He is a combined 50-under par in his last five appearances at Bay Hill.
- Justin Rose – World No. 13 owns four top-10 finishes in 11 prior starts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (2-2013, T3-2011, T8-2006, T9-2016).
- Rickie Fowler – Recent Honda Classic champion (his fourth TOUR win) will be making his sixth start at Bay Hill (T50-2010, T30-2011, T3-2013, MC-2014, T29-2015).
- Matt Every – In 2015, joined Tiger Woods and Loren Roberts (1994-95) as the only players to win in back-to-back years at Bay Hill. Roberts, like Every, also posted his first two career victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He will attempt in 2017 to become the first player to post his first three PGA TOUR victories at the same event since Leonard Gallett (1929, 1933, 1934 Wisconsin PGA).
- Zach Johnson – Making his 14th consecutive appearance this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Here’s a look at his top-10 finishes at Bay Hill: 2004 (T6), 2005 (T8), 2009 (3), 2015 (T9) and 2016 (5). Johnson has missed the cut at Bay Hill just once, in 2010.
- Curtis Luck – Competing in the traditional spot given to the U.S. Amateur champion. In addition to his victory over Brad Dalke at the U.S. Amateur in August, also won titles in 2016 at the Western Australian Open in May (PGA Tour of Australasia) and the Asia-Pacific Amateur in October. His victory at the U.S. Amateur came with invitations to the 2017 Masters Tournament, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.
- Kevin Na – Finished T6 a year ago for his fifth top-15 finish in eight starts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (MC-2005, MC-2006, T11-2009, T2-2010, T30-2011, T4-2012, T14-2014, T6-2015).
- Ernie Els – Will tee it up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the 22nd time this week. The two-time API champion (1998, 2010) most recently finished T74 in 2016.
- Sam Saunders – In his seventh start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Arnold Palmer’s grandson Sam Saunders missed the cut in 2016. Here’s a look at his finishes at this event: MC (2006), T50 (2010), T30 (2011), MC (2012), T43 (2014), T29 (2015) and MC (2016).
- Five players have made the Arnold Palmer Invitational their maiden PGA TOUR win: Bob Byman (1979), Mike Nicolette (1983), Loren Roberts (1994), Paul Goydos (1996) and Matt Every (2014).
- For the third-consecutive season, the winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard (along with the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide) will receive a three-year exemption, instead of the two-year exemption awarded at other PGA Tour events.
- The Arnold Palmer Invitational has had five international winners: South African Ernie Els (1998 and 2010), Aussie Rod Pampling (2006), Vijay Singh of Fiji (2007), Scotland’s Martin Laird (2011) and Aussie Jason Day (2016).
- There have only been six multiple winners on the Florida swing since 1980, including Adam Scott (2016), Ernie Els (2010), Tiger Woods (2001 and 2013), Steve Elkington (1997), Tom Kite (1989) and Ray Floyd (1981).
- Tiger Woods has won eight Arnold Palmer Invitational titles. The only other players with multiple victories at the event are Tom Kite (1982, 1989), Loren Roberts (1994-95), Ernie Els (1998, 2010) and Matt Every (2014, 2015).
- The 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational will mark the 39th year at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge. Prior to arriving at Bay Hill, the tournament—then known as the Florida Citrus Open—was held at Rio Pinar CC from 1966-78. The name of the event was changed in 2007 from the Bay Hill Invitational to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, in honor of longtime host, Arnold Palmer.
- In 2015, Daniel Berger (No. 6, round three) and Zach Johnson (No. 16, round four) both recorded an albatross at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (marking the first at the event since the TOUR began keeping records in 1983). It marked the sixth time since 1983 that a stroke-play tournament has featured multiple albatrosses (Note: the final round of The International featured two albatrosses in the Modified Stableford Scoring system): 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational, 2007 THE PLAYERS, 2005 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, 2005 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, 2001 Open Championship, 1988 Provident Classic
2017 PGA TOUR momentum
- Seven of the 10 winners in the 2017 calendar year have been inside the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering that week’s event: Justin Thomas (SBS Tournament of Champions/22); Thomas (Sony Open in Hawaii/12); Hideki Matsuyama (Waste Management Phoenix Open/5); Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am/6), Dustin Johnson (Genesis Open/3), Rickie Fowler (The Honda Classic/14) and Johnson (WGC-Mexico Championship/1).
- The PGA TOUR and its tournaments continue a commitment to charity through the “Together, anything’s possible” initiative. In January of 2014, the TOUR and its tournaments announced it had collectively surpassed $2 billion in all-time charitable giving, including well over $1 billion over the last 10 years.
- The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard remains a leader of giving back to communities. The tournament is very proud to support Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation, which includes the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.
- “Part of my dad’s legacy was to inspire others to care about things he thought were important,” said Palmer’s daughter Amy Saunders, chairman of Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation. “With the help of his many friends, fans and followers, we intend to keep that light shining brightly.”
The Arnold Palmer Invitational Preview 2017 is via PGA TOUR.