The Florida Swing concludes in style as the tour heads to Arnold Palmer’s event at Bay Hill. Palmer has hosted a PGA Tour event for the past 37 years and draws a top field year in and year out due to his stature. This year is no different with 5 of the world’s top 10 in the field: Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose.
Sad news came out of Orlando on Tuesday with the announcement that the 86-year-old Palmer would not be hitting the ceremonial first tee shot at April’s Masters Tournament. Palmer has been battling a shoulder injury that is limiting his golf swing, but he still plans to participate in the other celebratory events of the week.
Looking for a 3-peat
Two very different players head to Bay Hill with a 3-peat in mind.
162nd-ranked Matt Every has been the surprising winner of the past two Arnold Palmer Invitationals. Though he has not recorded a top-10 finish since last year’s win at Bay Hill, this year could be no different.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is red hot Adam Scott who has seen his world ranking soar from 13th to 6th because of his wins at the Honda and Doral. Scott is looking to become the first player since Rory McIlroy in 2014 to win in 3 consecutive starts.
A couple amateurs to watch
Last week, University of Georgia star Lee McCoy stole the show at the Valspar Championship finishing 4th, the highest finish by an amateur since Phil Mickelson’s win in 1990.
This week, keep an eye on last year’s NCAA Player of the Year, Maverick McNealy (Stanford), and NCAA & U.S. Amateur Champion Bryson DeChambeau.
Hardboiled Picks to Click
Stat of the week:
Driving distance. For the 2015 tournament, Bay Hill turned over 5 acres of rough to fairway, leading to players hitting over 70% of fairways. This coupled with the 7,400+ yard setup means advantage: bombers.
Stud: Henrik Stenson
DraftKings Salary: $11,100
The 7th ranked player in the world is coming off a solid week at the Valspar that saw him finish t11th. The Orlando native is one of the Tour’s best ball-strikers and has finished no worse than 15th in the past 4 Arnold Palmer Invitationals.
Value: Tony Finau
DraftKings Salary: $5,900
The second-year pro is one of the longest players on tour, averaging 317 yards off the tee. Finau’s length gives him a propensity to make birdies and eagles (a big plus for DFS leagues).
Long Shot: Maverick McNeely
DraftKings Salary: $6,200
After fellow amateur McCoy’s finish last week, look for McNealy (the number 2 ranked amateur in the world) to come out firing. The Stanford standout made the cut in the two PGA Tour events he played in 2015 and also won the Nicklaus Award for the nation’s top collegiate golfer.
A look at Kooch’s Putter
We got our hands on a Bettinardi Kuchar Series Model 1 arm lock putter and took it for a test drive. Check out what we thought of the putting method and putter that is described as the “loophole to the anchor ban” here.
Countdown to Augusta: 21 Days
Contender: Jason Day
Odds to win: 18 to 1
Masters Record: t28th (‘15), t20th (‘14) 3rd (‘13) WD (‘12) t2nd (‘11)
2015 PGA Champion and world number 3 Jason Day has experienced heartbreak at Augusta. In 2013, Day held the lead on the 70th hole only to finish bogey-bogey-par to lose the championship to fellow Australian, Adam Scott. Day has struggled thus far in 2016, but his game is tailormade for Augusta due to his deft putting and ability to hit bombs off the tee.
Lee McCoy celebrated his 4th place finish at the Valspar by heading back to Athens, Georgia to compete in Monday’s 36 hole Southern Intercollegiate. McCoy shot rounds of 70-71 to help his 7th-ranked University of Georgia Bulldogs to the championship over rival Arkansas.
South Florida captured the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular over Texas Tech. The 18th ranked Bulls win was fueled by Chase Koepka’s (younger brother of PGA Tour star Brooks Koepka) individual title.
University of Texas standout Beau Hossler won the individual title at the Lamkin Grips SD Classic, helping the Longhorns to the team title over New Mexico, SDSU and ASU.
It’s time to work on those glutes and your stability with this kettlebell exercise from Premier Fitness Services. We can’t stress enough how important it is to build up strength in your lower body, which will lead to more consistent and powerful swings.
Bubba Watson’s bagman, Ted Scott, recalls the day he beat his boss. #prayfortedscott
Day worries Spieth may be burned out.
Web.com tour makes its 2016 U.S. debut in Louisana.
Spieth gives Late Night host Colbert a few tips.
the fried egg made an appearance on the Golf on the Mind podcast yesterday, listen here.