|Arnold Palmer Invitational - March 12, 2007
ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL
PRESENTED BY MASTERCARDBay Hill Club and LodgeOrlando, FLPar: 35-35—70Yards: 7,137FedExCup Points: 25,000 Winner: 4,500Purse: $5,500,000Winner: $990,0002006 Champion: Rod Pampling (274, -14)
Arnold Palmer Invitational Notes
Since this tournament began in 1966 as the Florida Citrus Open, only two non-Americans have managed to win—Ernie Els of South Africa in 1998 and Australian Rod Pampling last year. Pampling won his second TOUR title when Greg Owen finished the final round with a double-bogey on No. 17 and a bogey on the closing hole. Owen was at 16-under and held a one-shot advantage through 16 holes before he three-putted at the par-3 17th and dropped into a tie for the lead with Pampling, who also bogeyed No. 17. Owen then missed a 13-foot par putt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff with Pampling.
South Africa’s Ernie Els, a former winner at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, has made 44 consecutive cuts on the PGA TOUR to lead the TOUR in that category. Els’ last missed cut came at the 2004 Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he posted rounds of 73-72 to miss playing on the weekend by one stroke.
Australian Rod Pampling captured the 2006 Arnold Palmer Invitational, earning his second PGA TOUR victory in his 121st career TOUR start. The victory came in his fifth start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. His previous best was a tie for 15th in 2002.
The two closing holes at Bay Hill have proven to be among the toughest on the PGA TOUR. Last year the stroke average on the par-3 17th was 3.211 (second-toughest for the week), while the par-4 18th played as the most difficult at 4.319. Bay Hill’s closing hole also was among the PGA TOUR’s 50 Toughest Holes, coming in at No. 48.
Tiger Woods won four consecutive Bay Hill events, starting in 2000, and had a scoring average of 67.93 for those four years. Since his last win there in 2003, he has only one sub-70 score—an opening-round 67 in 2004. Woods has tied for 20th, tied for 23rd and tied for 46th in his last three starts at Bay Hill. His scoring average for those 12 rounds is 71.58.
With his 11-stroke victory in 2003, Tiger Woods became the first player in 73 years to win the same event four consecutive times. Gene Sarazen was the last to pull it off, winning the Miami Open in 1926, 1928-30. Tom Morris, Jr. (1868-70, 1872 British Open) and Walter Hagen (1924-27 PGA Championship) also accomplished the feat.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
- For the second consecutive week, tiny Milton, FL (population 7,740), produced a PGA TOUR runner-up. First it was Boo Weekley at the Honda Classic and last week it was Heath Slocum at the PODS Championship.
- With his victory at the PODS Championship, Mark Calcavecchia earned enough FedExCup points to move into the Top-10 in the standings and earn a spot in next week’s World Golf Championships-CA Championship.
- Vijay Singh has a very enviable record at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but he’ll still be looking for his first win at the event this week. In 14 starts at Bay Hill, Singh has made 14 cuts and has three runner-up (1994-94-05) finishes. He’s a collective 84-under at the tournament and was T7 last year.
- Ernie Els has the current longest consecutive cuts made streak entering this week’s stop on TOUR. The South African has made 44 consecutive cuts with his last miss coming at the 2004 Arnold Palmer Invitational. He has a long way to go, though, to match the 142 in a row made by Tiger Woods.
- The T6 for Charles Howell III last week at the PODS Championship was his fifth Top-10 finish of the season and boosted his lead in the FedExCup standings to 3,509 points over Phil Mickelson.
- A strong field has assembled this week at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge with eight of the Top-10 in the world on hand. In addition, 10 of the 11 tournament winners from this season are entered. Only Fred Funk, who is nursing a bad back, is missing.
- Jose Coceres has already been in two playoffs this season. Only two players in the last 15 years have been in three in one year—Steve Elkington in 1992 and Vijay Singh in 2005.
- Three players have won the Los Angeles stop on the PGA TOUR and the L.A. stop on the Champions Tour. Gil Morgan won the Nissan Open in 1978 and 1983 and has won the AT&T Champions Classic in 1996, 1997 and 2004. Tom Kite won on the PGA TOUR in 1993 and twice on the Champions Tour (2002, 2006) while Tom Purtzer won on the TOUR in 1979 and the Champions Tour in 2003.
- More on Morgan: He has an amazing record at the AT&T Champions Classic. In 11 starts in the event, Morgan has racked up seven Top-3 finishes and eight Top-10 finishes. In six starts at Valencia CC, Morgan has a win, two seconds and a third.
- Loren Roberts posted three more par-or-better rounds last week to run his streak of consecutive par-or-better scores to 32. That ties the all-time Champions Tour mark first set by Larry Nelson in 2000. He goes for the record this week at the demanding Valencia CC north of Los Angeles.
- Dave Stockton shot a second-round 65 last week at the Toshiba Classic to equal his age for the first time in his Champions Tour career.
- Ben Crenshaw’s T3 last week in California was his best finish to date on the Champions Tour.
- Forty of the Top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are former players on the Nationwide Tour.
- The U.S. Presidents Cup team standings display a distinct Nationwide Tour feel with alumni holding down 14 of the Top 20 spots, including five of the Top 10.
- At least one former Nationwide Tour player has finished in the Top-10 in 525 of the last 528 PGA TOUR events.
- After a break from the two events held Down Under, the Nationwide Tour will open its domestic portion of the schedule next week just outside Lafayette, LA, at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.