The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard pre-tournament notes:
Dates: March 19-25, 2012
Where: Bay Hill Club and Lodge
Par/Yards: 72/7,419 yards
2011 champion: Martin Laird
Purse: $6,000,000 ($1,080,000 to winner)
FedExCup: 500 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
How the Arnold Palmer Invitational was won in 2011
Martin Laird carried a two-stroke lead into the final round and then posted a 3-over 75 to finish one stroke ahead of Steve Marino at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Laird’s rollercoaster final round included three birdies, four bogeys, a double bogey and a two putt for par from 86’ 11” on the final hole for the win. Laird’s 75 is the highest finish by a winner on the PGA TOUR since Trevor Immelman won the 2008 Masters Tournament with a 3-over 75. It is the highest in a non-Major since Peter Lonard won the 2005 Heritage with a 4-over 75.
A glance at the field
- Seven of top 10 and 21 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings.
- Nine of the first 13 winners on TOUR this season.
- Tiger Woods has won six Arnold Palmer Invitational titles. The only other players with multiple victories at the event are Tom Kite (1982, 1989), Loren Roberts (1994-95) and Ernie Els (1998, 2010).
- Reigning FedExCup champion Bill Haas, who won the Northern Trust Open earlier this year in a playoff over
Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.
- With his 40th career PGA TOUR victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, past Arnold Palmer Invitational champion Phil Mickelson is now ninth all-time in PGA TOUR wins, surpassing Cary Middlecoff and Tom Watson.
- Past Arnold Palmer Invitational champions in the field: Martin Laird, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Rod Pampling, Chad Campbell, Tim Herron, Phil Mickelson and Robert Gamez.
- 20-year-old Japanese phenom Ryo Ishikawa, who finished runner-up at the Puerto Rico Open in early March and joined the TOUR on March 19 as a Special Temporary Member.
- 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III will make his 22nd career start at the Arnold Palmer
Invitational. He has collected seven top-10 finishes in the event, including three runner-up performances.
- 2011 U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft. Kraft won the 2011 U.S. Amateur in August, beating amateur world-number-one Patrick Cantlay in the final, 2-up. The win earned Kraft a spot in the Masters Tournament, U.S. Open, and British Open in 2012. In September 2011, Kraft played on the 2011 Walker Cup team.
Miscellaneous Arnold Palmer Invitational Notes
The four winners on The Florida Swing in 2011 finished among the top 35 in the final FedExCup
standings: Rory Sabbatini – The Honda Classic/35; Nick Watney – WGC-Cadillac Championship/9; Gary Woodland – Transitions Championship/17 and Martin Laird – Arnold Palmer Invitational/31.
Laird’s final round 75 last year is the highest finish by a winner at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The previous high was a 74, turned in by Dave Eichelberger (1980) and Mike Nicolette (1983).
Laird, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, became the first European winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He is just the fourth international-born player to win, joining South African Ernie Els (1998 and 2010), Australian Rod Pampling (2006) and Vijay Singh of Fiji (2007).
Tiger Woods has won six Arnold Palmer Invitational titles. The only other players with multiple victories at the event are Tom Kite (1982, 1989), Loren Roberts (1994-95) and Ernie Els (1998, 2010).
The 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational marks the 34th 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 Country Club from 1966-78.The name of the tournament was changed in 2007 from the Bay Hill Invitational to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, in honor of its longtime host, Arnold Palmer.
Since the start of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 1966, only Fred Couples (1992) and Tiger Woods (2001 and 2002) have won the Masters and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the same year. Since 1960, only six players have won an event in the two weeks prior to winning the Masters. They are Phil Mickelson (2006, BellSouth), Tiger Woods (2001, The Players), Sandy Lyle (1988, Greater Greensboro Open), Jack Nicklaus (1975, Sea Pines Heritage Classic), Gay Brewer (1967, Pensacola Open), Gary Player (1961, Sunshine Open)