|Arnold Palmer Invitational - March 22, 2010
ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL
PRESENTED BY MASTERCARD
Bay Hill Club and Lodge
Par: 36-36—72 Yards: 7,353
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,000,000 Winner: $1,080,000
2009 Champion: Tiger Woods (275, -5)
Strong Field Ready to Challenge Bay Hill
for Arnold Palmer Invitational
A star-studded field descends on Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. Playing at the venerable course in Orlando, FL, is FedExCup leader and the world’s No. 2-ranked player, Steve Stricker, who is coming off an eighth-place finish last week at the Transitions Championship. Also playing this week is No. 3 Phil Mickelson and No. 6 Jim Furyk, who won for the first time since 2007 when he captured the Transitions Championship outside Tampa, FL.
A year ago, Tiger Woods came from five strokes off the pace on the final day to overtake Sean O’Hair and win his sixth Arnold Palmer Invitational. Woods is not playing this week.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Notes
Since 1993, the year he played in his first Arnold Palmer Invitational, Vijay Singh has made the cut 17 consecutive times, with three runner-up finishes and a victory. He tied for second in his first two years, losing to Ben Crenshaw in 1993 and Loren Roberts a year later and then finished second to Kenny Perry in 2005. Last year, Singh had his lowest finish at the event, tying for 59th.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational traditionally invites champions of the previous year's U.S. Amateur and the Southern Amateur to play. In 2009, at age 17, Korean Byeong-Hun An became the youngest winner of the U.S. Amateur and in the process earned a spot in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Both of An’s parents won Olympic medals in table tennis at the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. An’s father, Jae-Hyung An, won bronze in doubles for Korea, while his mother, Zhi Min-Jiao, won bronze in singles and silver in doubles while representing China.
Ben Crane has played in and made the cut four times at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with two top 25s. Crane won the 2010 Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year for his third TOUR win.
Camilo Villegas will be making his fourth appearance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Earlier this month, Villegas won The Honda Classic, making him the fourth player under age 30 with three or more PGA TOUR wins. The others are six-time winner Adam Scott and three-time champions Dustin Johnson and Sean O’Hair.
The Bay Hill Club and Lodge will return to a par-72 layout for this week’s tournament, with holes No. 4 and No. 16 returning to par 5s. The course last played as a par 72 in 2006, the year Rod Pampling edged Greg Owen.
Since this tournament began in 1966 as the Florida Citrus Open, only three non-Americans have managed to win, including Ernie Els of South Africa in 1998, Australian Rod Pampling in 2006 and Vijay Singh of Fiji in 2007. Since 1990, numerous international players have come close without being able to secure the win. The second-place finishers in that period are Singh (1993-94 and 2005), Australia’s Greg Norman (1990) and Stuart Appleby (1997), South Africa’s Nick Price (1994), New Zealand’s Michael Campbell (2002) and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell (2005).
Seven players in the field have at least 13 PGA TOUR wins, led by Phil Mickelson'’ 37. Vijay Singh is next, with 34, followed by Davis Love III (20), Ernie Els (17), Jim Furyk and Kenny Perry (14) and David Duval (13).
The top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after the Arnold Palmer Invitational will earn invitations to this year’s Masters Tournament.