Tournament: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, March 7-10, 2019
Course: Bay Hill Club & Lodge, 7,419 yards, par 72
Defending Champion: Rory McIlroy. Tiger got to within 1 of the lead late Sunday, though an untimely double-cross on 16 put his ball OB and the he faltered down the stretch after giving everyone false hope of a patented Sunday charge. But none could match the onslaught that was Rory McIlroy. The wee lad from N. Ireland had no bogeys Sunday, birdied 6,7, and 9, then birdied 5 of his last 6 holes (including a chip in on 15) to card a crazy 64 and win by 3 shots going away.
Fun Fact: Arnold Palmer bought the entire country club - Al Czervik style. Back in the 60’s, Palmer saw the course and apparently fell in love with it. Bought it, renovated it, and lived there most of the year. There are stories about his card games in the men’s locker room and being sighted there in various states of joviality.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 12:30-2:30 p.m. (GC), 2:30-6 p.m. (NBC). Paul Azinger is growing on me, folks. And he did correctly pick Keith Mitchell to win last week’s Honda Classic.
Former ‘Dawgs in the Field (Seven): Brian Harman, Harris English, Hudson Swafford, Keith Mitchell, Chris Kirk, Bubba Watson, Kevin Kisner.
Let’s take a moment and revisit the last installment of ‘Dawgs on Tour, specifically this bit:
So not a lot going on in the winner’s circle of late, but with 8 Bulldogs in the field, chances are one of these talented fellows is going to break through soon.
Not exactly Nostradamus, but we were due. And Keith Mitchell was due, even though he was coming off a bad stretch. He’s confident, he’s got game, and now he’s a PGA Tour winner. Congrats K-Mitch, you done good. He joins Russell Henley as the other UGA product to win that particular tournament.
On to this week, and the Tour continues it’s “Florida Swing” by heading northwest into Orlando, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It’s a pretty good course... not as tough as next week’s TPC Sawgrass nor last week’s PGA National, but is an older style course with just enough rework through the years to keep it current.
The field will be fairly stacked, including Rory, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, and Phil Mickelson. It also has a few amateurs including the top 2 collegiate golfers in the country - both of whom play for Oklahoma State. And Sam Saunders is entered (Sam being the grandson of Arnold Palmer).
There hasn’t been too much success for former Athenians in Orlando, but Kevin Kisner did come in 2nd place two years ago. He’s been quiet so far this season, but steady. And Bubba is returning from having some time off, and I think the doglegs and wind play into his strengths. I am particularly interested to see if Brian Harman can get in contention, and I’d like to see Swafford play through the weekend.
Let me know in the comments if you have questions about the tourney or our ‘Dawgs. And as always...