The PGA Tour’s Florida Swing continues this weekend with one of the most popular stops on Tour, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando.
Arnold Palmer Invitational History
While Jack Nicklaus might be the greatest golfer of all-time, an argument certainly can be made that the late, great Arnold Palmer was the most popular in the history of the sport, and the PGA Tour certainly isn’t close to what it is today without the “King.” Thus, Arnie’s Tour stop, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, is one of the most popular on Tour as player want to pay their respects. Palmer, who owned Bay Hill in Orlando, died in September 2016.
Because this is an invitational, the field is a bit smaller (no open qualifying) than a run-of-the-mill Tour event, and the winner gets a few extra perks. A three-year Tour exemption, for example, instead of two. The winner also gets a red cardigan sweater in honor of Palmer.
Bay Hill Club & Lodge is a par 72 measuring 7,419 yards and was built in 1961. Palmer first got a look at the course in 1965 and fell in love with it. The course record is a 61 by three players and the 72-hole tournament record is a 264 by the late Payne Stewart in 1987.
There are a few big names skipping this week because the Players Championship is next week. That tournament was moved to March this year from May.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Betting Favourites
World No. 1 Justin Rose tees it up on the PGA Tour for the first time since winning the Farmers Insurance Open in late January. He’s +1200 to win this tournament (never has) and is serving as a co-host. Rose was T3 in the 2018 event.
The defending champion and Sports Interaction favourite at +800 is Rory McIlroy. He shot a final-round 64 a year ago to finish at 18 under and three ahead of Bryson DeChambeau (+1800). McIlroy hasn’t won since but carries in a streak of four straight Top 5 finishes.
Tiger Woods has won this tournament an astonishing eight times and was +900 on the opening odds, but he withdrew on Monday in a crushing blow to the event. Woods blamed a neck injury — no player has ever won a tournament nine times. Woods also won the 1991 U.S. Junior Amateur at Bay Hill. He was T5 last year.
Brooks Koepka (+1200) and Rickie Fowler (+1200) round of the favourites. Neither has won here. Koepka is yet to have a Top 10 at Bay Hill. Fowler missed a playoff Sunday at the Honda Classic by a shot. He has one Top 10 at Bay Hill in his career.
Canadian Golfer Odds
Adam Hadwin is +8000. He hasn’t played since a 75th-place finish last month at the Genesis Open outside Los Angeles. It’s his third visit to Bay Hill, with a best result of sixth two years ago. Corey Conners is +25000. He’s having a rough season with just three made cuts in nine tournaments. It’s his debut at Bay Hill.
No Canadian has won Arnie’s tournament. George Knudson was a co-runner-up with Palmer behind Julius Boras in 1967.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Predictions
Bet Rory and Tiger for Top 10s, but the winning choice at +5000 is Henrik Stenson. No, the Swede isn’t having a good season, but he has finished no worse than eighth in five of his past six trips to Bay Hill. He’s overdue a win.