The PGA Tour and the Florida Swing roll on heading to Bay Hill for the 2015 edition of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Fresh of the epic three-hole playoff victory by Jordan Spieth, the PGA Tour cannot take a breath. 15 of the world’s top-30 have entered the field including the entire top-5. It is a tournament with a rich history, while operating as the Arnold Palmer Invitational and prior as the Bay Hill Invitational. The event has been a tour stop since 1979.
Dates: March 19 -22 2015
Course: Bay Hill Club and Lodge
Stats: Par 72, 7,381 yards
Television Coverage (Times):
Thursday: Golf Channel 2:00 – 6:00 PM EST
Friday: Golf Channel 2:00 – 6:00 PM EST
Saturday: Golf Channel 12:30 – 2:30 PM EST, NBC 2:30 -6:00 PM EST
Sunday: Golf Channel 12:30 – 2:30 PM EST, NBC 2:30 -6:00 PM EST
Purse: $6.3 million total purse, $1.134 million winner share
Arnold Palmer Invitational Swing Holes
The Bay Hill Club & Lodge will be the host course, as usual, for the event. An original Dick Wilson designed track was loved so much by Arnold Palmer that he ended up buying the course. Of course it would not be an Arnold Palmer design if he did not make changes over the years. Nothing wrong with that as Arnie is one of the premier course designers in the world.
Dick Wilson and later, Arnold Palmer, did a great job creating a challenging course from top to bottom. Many argue that the final three holes at Bay Hill create one of the most challenging closing stretches on tour. While they are not wrong, I think of Bay Hill as a sandwich. The opening hole and the final two will decide the event.
When you start out a round with a 461 yard, Par-4 then you know a course is trying to get your attention. Players are faced with a dogleg left opener with two challenging bunkers visible off the tee. Those bunkers can force players to overcompensate and hit into the left rough. Four bunkers frame the green and players have to play a high shot into the green in order to hold close to a few of the tight pin placements here.
The 17th hole is a 231 yard, Par-3 which will either yield great success or epic failure. The raised tee makes the approach shot appear less formidable than it actually is. The lack of a bailout area is evident by the water surrounding three sides of this green, one of the smaller at Bay Hill. Balls just short may plug in the beach bunker making the blast into the lightning fast green a real challenge.
Players will get one swing to breathe as the Par-4 458 yard, 18th will allow for a grip it and rip it tee shot. But after that, and with tournament hopes on the line, players will be forced to attack a kidney shaped landing area. This green has rock-lined water in front that has swallowed its fair share of balls and hopes throughout the years. Drama will be made yet again at Bay Hill’s deserving finishing hole.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Top Picks
A full field will be at Bay Hill this week for the event. Attempting to pick a winner out of a full field event is a lot like a needle in a haystack. This year one of my top-3 has won more than one event including the last few weeks. Let’s see if I can keep the 2015 PGA Tour predictions rolling again this week. It’s time to get to the predictions and picks for the 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
|Rory McIlroy||Rory has finally fulfilled his promise and will play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Some say the World No. 1 is struggling a but lately but if you can toss out the missed cut at the Honda Classic, you have a formidable player. He has finished 1st or 2nd in five of eight starts and has a tie for ninth in one of the other three. His ball flight should love Bay Hill.|
|Jason Day||Toss out the Cadillac Championship and you find a very solid year for Mr. Day. He finished tied for 4th at Pebble Beach, tied for 3rd at the Tournament of Champions and won the Farmers Insurance Open. He has not played in Arnie's tournament in a bit but does have a top-25 here in the past. Overall, it is about how he is playing more than his Bay Hill form. He can get it done here.|
|Keegan Bradley||Bradley has two top-25s and a top-10 in seven 2015 starts including a tie for 4th at the Northern Trust Open three starts back. Keegan knows how to get around Bay Hill boasting a solo 2nd finish in 2014 and a tie for 3rd in 2013. Looking at logical steps means that Keegan is due to break through in 2015 at Arnie's tournament. Don't sleep on him because he is quiet.|