It’s always a fun week when the TOUR goes to Bay Hill, as they will this week for Arnie’s tournament. Unfortunately, between a WGC and The Players, the spot on the schedule has kept a few of the bigger names out of Orlando this week. Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton checks in as the highest-ranked player in the field this week as he looks for his second worldwide win of the new year. Prior API Champion Rory McIlroy comes into the week with the best odds to win across most books, while red-hot Viktor Hovland gets the nod as the second player listed in many spots.
The most intriguing player of the week in my eyes is Bryson DeChambeau. He’s had good success at this event in his career, but what I’ll be watching for is if he decides to go across the lake at Hole 6, attempting to drive the green on the Par 5. This is seemingly what this whole process has been building up to, and it’s the perfect spot for him to put it on display. He may need good conditions to make the 345-yard carry happen, but all we can hope is that he gives it a go.
One of the key storylines you will hear this week heading into Bay Hill is that no American has won this tournament since Matt Every went back-to-back in 2014 and 2015. There have been a number of European and Australian players who have had long runs of success at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and they will make up much of the talk this week.
Bay Hill Club & Lodge – Orlando, FL
7,454 yard Par 72
- 4 Par 5s, 4 Par 3s, 12 Par 4s
- Average Green Size: 7,500 ft (larger than average for PGA Tour)
- Bermudagrass Greens rolling at a 12 on the stimp
- 3-inch bermuda rough
- Sand Bunkers: 84
- Water Hazards: 8 (In play on 9 holes)
Course Horses (Last 5 years)
Rory McIlroy T5-T6-1-T4-T27
It’s hard to do much better than four top-six finishes and a win in your last four trips to any event. McIlroy always seems to play well at Bay Hill, and this may be the week he finally gets back on the winning track.
Marc Leishman 2-T23-T7-1-T17
Last year’s API was a fantastic battle down the stretch as Leishman and Hatton went toe-to-toe for the red cardigan. The Australian would fall one shot short of his second title at Bay Hill, but showed once again his affinity for this track.
Francesco Molinari DNP-1-T26-T7-T9
Two years ago at Bay Hill was the last win of Molinari’s career, and it was the final peak before his collapse just a month later at the Masters. He now returns to the site, seemingly ready for a resurgence after he’s shown flashes of his former game in recent events.
Bryson DeChambeau 4-T46-2-DNP-T27
The old DeChambeau has some great results around Bay Hill, and it will certainly be interesting to see how the new one plays the course off the tee. One thing that is unlikely to change is how well he putts on the greens at this course. DeChambeau has never gained fewer than a full stroke on the greens during the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and he’s gained more than three strokes putting three times.
Matthew Fitzpatrick T9-2-MC-T13-T27
One player quietly playing great golf is Fitzpatrick. He comes into the API with back-to-back Top-11 finishes and he certainly could threaten for his first TOUR win this week. He has run well at Bay Hill in his career with consecutive Top 10s, including a runner-up to Francesco Molinari in 2019.
Top photo: Bryson DeChambeau.
Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images