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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Arnold Palmer Invitational - Preview

Next up on the PGA TOUR schedule is the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which returns to Bay Hill Club and Lodge as it has every year since 1979. The major story this week will be Tiger Woods, as he attempts to win this event for the ninth time. Thus, this tournament is also jokingly known as the Tiger Woods Invitational.

Bay Hill is expected to play as a 7,419 par 72, featuring the full bevy of four par 5s. Woods feasted on the par 5s last year, playing them in 14-under (13-under was his winning total).

Here are the champs and runners-up since 2005. Note that the course played as a par 70 from 2007 to 2009.

  • 2005 - Winner: Kenny Perry (12-under), with Graeme McDowell and Vijay Singh at (-10)
  • 2006 - Winner: Rod Pampling (-14), with Greg Owen (-13)
  • 2007 - Winner: Vijay Singh (-8), with Rocco Mediate (-6)
  • 2008 - Winner: Tiger Woods (-10), with Bart Bryant (-9)
  • 2009 - Winner: Tiger Woods (-5), with Sean O'Hair (-4)
  • 2010 - Winner: Ernie Els (-11), with Eduardo Molinari and Kevin Na (-9)
  • 2011 - Winner: Martin Laird (-8), with Steve Marino (-7)
  • 2012 - Winner: Tiger Woods (-13), with GMac (-8)
  • 2013 - Winner: Tiger Woods (-13), with Justin Rose (-11)
With very few exceptions, this list screams elite ball-strikers with above-average length. Given the Woods formula of par 5 scoring, that is probably where the length is showing up on the scorecard. 

Looking back, there isn't a clear statistical formula for showing up near the top of this leaderboard. Smooth putting is certainly a plus, and some guys use GIR as clincher. Driving accuracy doesn't seem to really matter. 

I'm going to lean on current form, since we are now entering our fourth event in Florida, as well as par 5 scoring. As always course history will be a factor, perhaps this week more than others. 

We'll be back tomorrow with our power rankings. Until then, happy research!

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