After a week in Palm Beach Gardens, the PGA Tour train chugs up Florida’s east coast and stops in Orlando, where the Arnold Palmer Invitational will take place at Bay Hill. Last year’s winner Bryson DeChambeau returns to defend his crown.
Arnold Palmer General Information:
- Date: March 3 – March 6, 2022
- TV-Time: Golf Channel 2:00 p.m. ET
- Venue: Bay Hill
- Location: Orlando, Florida
- Prize Money: e.g. $6,000,000 ($1,125,000 1st Place)
- Winner last year: Bryson DeChambeau
Tournament, Conditions & Course Info
Since switching to an Invitational, one of only five tour events to gain such status, the Arnold Palmer comprises 120 players, only 70 of which were guaranteed a place in the field thanks to their position on the money list last season.
There was a notable absence of star quality in the field last week, but that won’t be the case at Bay Hill, where plenty of big names will join defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, including world number one Jon Rahm. The likes of Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and recent winner Scottie Scheffler, all of whom currently occupy a place in the world’s top ten, will tee it up too. World number 11 Hideki Matsuyama is another high-profile inclusion, as Sungjae Im.
The last few weeks have seen players tested in terms of accuracy, and that’s not going to change this week. Bay Hill demands measured play rather than all-out bombing. Every aspect of player’s game can be truly tested at this Florida track, so this isn’t a week for chinks in the armour.
Typically, those who do well in Orlando gain plenty of shots tee-to-green, with each of the last three winners finishing the week inside the top five for strokes gained: tee-to-green. The greens at Bay Hill also demand a lot from the putter. Players can’t afford to be loose with the flatstick. On average, the last five winners ranked eighth for strokes gained: putting.
Expert Pick #1 – Mathew Fitzpatrick Top 10 Finish @+275
Thanks to illness, we haven’t seen Mathew Fitzpatrick since the Phoenix Open, but if the Englishman can turn up in the same sort of form that saw him finish T10 in Phoenix, then he’s likely to do very well at Bay Hill.
Still without a win on the PGA Tour, Fitzpatrick has ticked along nicely this season, finishing T12, T6 and T10 in his last three events. Only five players on tour currently sit above Fitz in the scoring average table, while he’s currently the number two player in terms of strokes gained: total, which is not something to overlook. Moreover, the Arnold Palmer invitational has been a happy hunting ground for the Brit in recent seasons, with him posting finishes of second, ninth and tenth in the last three seasons. More of the same is expected from this steady player, who knows how to handle tough courses.
Fedex Cup Rank: 94 | Fedex Cup Points: 189 | OWGR: 25
Expert Pick #2 – Christian Bezuidenhout Top 20 Finish @+250
After impressing when going head-to-head with some of the best in the business in last season’s PGA Championship, Christian Bezuidenhout has gone slightly off the boil, but he quietly played himself into some solid form last week, which bodes well ahead of a similar test.
Finishing at -2 in a tie for T25 was no mean feat at PGA National last week, and we saw that the South African relishes the tougher test, so it’s easy to feel that he’ll have conditions to suit at Bay Hill this week. What’s more, he’s played well at this venue in recent times, finishing T18 on debut, before building on that to finish seventh here last season. Those efforts make him the fourth best player in this field in terms of average strokes gained: total on this track in the last five seasons.
There’s no shortage of quality in the field, but this is just the sort of test that a player like Bezuidenhout needs, and after playing well last week, and proving himself here in the last two seasons, the 27-year-old is fancied to do well.
Fedex Cup Rank: 77 | Fedex Cup Points: 212 | OWGR: 58
Expert Pick #3 – Matt Wallace Top 20 Finish @+550
After a T14 and T4 finishes in October, Matt Wallace has struggled to find form of late, though he’s now returning to a place that he’s shown a clear fondness for in the past.
In the last five seasons, only seven players have gained more strokes in total at Bay Hill than the Englishman, who ranks as the number two player in this field for strokes gained: around-the-green here. Three visits to this venue have produced finishes of sith, 24th and 18th, and I’m betting that he can add another top 20 to his record this week.
Fedex Cup Rank: 108 | Fedex Cup Points: 170 | OWGR: 98
2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds
*Odds as of Monday at 2:00 p.m. ET
The Florida swing of the PGA Tour means that tough courses just keep coming. Another week where accuracy and plotting will be the focus, players must take a measured approach to succeed. On top of this, experience is key, so those getting their first look at Bay Hill may struggle to keep up with the pace. If you’re looking for betting success, look to those players who’ve proven themselves at this venue, such as Mathew Fitzpatrick, who has shaped as if this course could be a winning one for him in recent seasons.