Arnold Palmer Invitational Preview: How to watch and who to back
Six of the World’s top 10 head to Bay Hill for the Arnold Palmer Invitational as Rory McIlroy defends this week in Orlando.
It’s one of the PGA Tour’s most iconic venues, and the second stop in the West Coast swing boats a top class field that sees Phil Mickelson make his first start since 2013 and Francesco Molinari return for just his third event of 2019, having just signed an equipment deal with Callaway.
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Meanwhile, Justin Rose makes his first start since the Saudi International and Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler both hope to go one better after being pipped to the title by a single shot at The Honda Classic.
They’ll be joined by Bryson DeChambeau and an in-form Jason Day, who joins McIlroy and Marc Leishman as one of the many former champions teeing up this week.
Tiger Woods, who is an eight time winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, has pulled out of the tournament with a neck strain.
Course: Bay Hill Club & Lodge | Par 72, 7,419 yards
Date: March 7-10
Defending Champion: Rory McIlroy
FedEx Cup Points: 500
Prize Fund: $9,100,000
Past Champions in the field: Rory McIlroy (’18), Marc Leishman (’17), Jason Day (’16), Matt Every (’15, ’14), Martin Laird (’11), Ernie Els (’10, ’98), Vijay Singh (’07), Phil Mickelson (’97)
AP Invitational Preview: TV Times
On the range: Live PGA Tour, Sky Sports Main Event (20:00), Sky Sports Golf (20:00)
Thursday & Friday
Featured Groups: Live PGA Tour, Sky Sports Main Event (14:00), Sky Sports Golf (14:00)
Main Coverage: Live PGA Tour, Sky Sports Main Event (14:00), Sky Sports Golf (14:00)
Sky Sports Golf (17:30), Sky Sports Main Event (20:00)
Sky Sports Golf (16:30), Sky Sports Main Event (19:30)
AP Invitational Preview: Betting Tips
Rory McIlroy: 6/1
Last year, McIlroy birdied five of his last six holes to win his first title in 18 months, and heads to this year’s event on a great run of form. Four top fives in his last four starts include a runner-up finish at the WGC Mexico. He ranks 1st for boh SG: Tee to green and SG: Off the tee, 16th for scoring average and 21st for birdie average on Tour.
Justin Rose: 8/1
Rose skipped Mexico and hasn’t teed up since a MC at the Saudi International, but he has won on the PGA Tour this year already and has two top fives at the Arnold Palmer invitational in the last six years, including a 3rd place finish in 2018. Ranks 1st for birdie and scoring average, 4th for SG: Around the green and 5th for SG: Tee to green on the PGA Tour.
Brooks Koepka: 11/1
Koepka recorded his second top 10 in 2019 with a T2 at the Honda Classic last week, and ranks 10th for SG: Approach the green and 17th for birdie average on Tour. The only drawback with Koepka is a dubious record here, missing the cut last year and posting a best of T26 in 2014.
Rickie Fowler: 11/1
A runner-up finish at the Honda Classic was Fowler’s fourth top-five this season, which includes a win at the Phoenix Open. Fowler has finished inside the top 15 for the past two years at Bay Hill, with a best of T3 in 2013. He’s also ranked 4th for scoring average, 5th for birdie average and 8th for SG: Putting on the PGA Tour.
Jason Day: 12/1
The 2016 champion has gone T4-T5 in his last two starts, and hasn’t finished worst than 16th in six events this season. He currently ranks 4th for birdie average, 6th for SG: off the tee and 13th for SG: Putting
Bryson DeChambeau: 14/1
He might have finished T56 in Mexico, but DeChambeau has four wins and 7 top 20s in his last 12 starts on Tour – and also finished runner-up to McIlroy at Bay Hill last year. Ranks 9th for birdie average and 11th for scoring average.
Hideki Matsuyama: 22/1
Not one to be overlooked, Matsuyama has two top 10s and two top 20s in his last four starts and has a best of T6 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2016.
Marc Leishman: 25/1
Leishman claimed the CIMB Classic and has added four other top 5s this season, and with a victory (’17) and a T7 (’18) in his last two starts here, he’s definitely one to watch. Ranks 14th for birdie average, 12th for SG: Approach the green and 24th for scoring average.
Patrick Reed: 30/1
A T14 in Mexico was Reed’s third top 15 in five starts, and he also recorded a top 10 at Bay Hill last year. Ranks 6th for SG: Putting but has no real other stand out stats so far this season.
Ian Poulter: 33/1
Poulter has two T3s and two T6s in his last four starts worldwide, including a third-place at the WGC Mexico. He has a best result of 3rd here in 2012, and ranks 6th for GIR and 9th for SG: Around the green.
Charles Howell III: 40/1
Posted a T14 in Mexico and has two other top 10s this season aside from his victory at the RSM Classic, and was T14 last year at Bay Hill. He ranks 2nd for GIR and inside the top 20 on Tour for SG: Putting, SG: Around the green and birdie average.
Phil Mickelson: 40/1
Mickelson won here in 1997 and returns for the first time since 2013. Has a victory at Pebble Beach and a 2nd place finish at the Desert Classic under his belt already this year, though has since gone T37-T39. Ranks 11th for birdie average on Tour.
Lucas Glover: 50/1
Glover is on an impressive run of form that includes three top 10s and four top 17s in his last eight results. In his last three starts at Bay Hill has gone T27-T7-T49, and ranks 3rd for GIR, 5th for scoring average and 13th for SG: Tee to green this season.
Michael Thompson: 80/1
Three top 10s and two top 16s in his last five starts make Thompson one of the most in-form players heading to the APInv, although he hasn’t been here since a T36 in 2012. The World No. 123 ranks 18th on Tour for scoring average this season, 29th for SG: Putting and 36th for scoring average.
Matt Every: 100/1
Every might be flying under the radar a little, but he’s a two-time champion here (’14 and ’15) and heads to Bay Hill on the back of four consecutive top 20s on the PGA Tour. He’s at 100/1 because he’s gone MC-T62-MC in the last three years at the APinv, but had nowhere near the same form he has coming in this year. He ranks 20th on Tour for SG: Around the green, 21st for both scoring and birdie average and 27th for SG: Putting.