photo courtesy Arnold Palmer Invitational
The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard is scheduled to take place March 15-18 at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, located in the Orlando metro area. Palmer, who sadly passed away in 2016, had bought the golf resort in 1974 and first brought a PGA tournament to his course in 1979. The tournament has gone by several names, but took on the Arnold Palmer name in 2007. The tournament is one of the few PGA Tour events to remain an “invitational” and has a selective field of 120 battling out for 500 FedEx Cup points. This is a particularly strong field featuring 5 of the top 10 ranked golfers in the world. It will be a tough task for 2017 champion Marc Leishman to defend his title against the likes of Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy. In addition, Hideki Matsuyama plays his first tournament since a February wrist injury saw him withdraw from the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Undoubtedly the most interesting storyline of the week is that of Tiger Woods. Woods enters the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the back of a second place finish in last week’s Valspar Championship. Wood last competed at Bay Hill in 2013 when he won the event for a remarkable 8th time. Many will be watching to see if Valspar was a flash in the pan or if Woods really is back to the top of his game.
Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Bay Hill Club & Lodge was long known as the winter home of Arnold Palmer, and the course reflects Palmer’s touch as he re-designed the original Dick Wilson course upon buying the property. The course is known for its tree-lined fairways and abundant water, as lakes feature on 12 of the holes. Golfers’ course management will come into play as numerous risk/reward situations face them, particularly on some of the longer holes. When not hosting the tournament, the course features a luxury resort available to fans who want to play one of Palmer’s treasured courses.
The tournament properly starts on Thursday, March 15, but events occur throughout the week. Spectators can watch practice rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday, including Wednesday’s Pro-Am tournament. The Arnold Palmer Invitational will play four rounds, with each round occurring on one day starting with the first round on Thursday and ending with the final round on Sunday. Each day’s opening tee-time is 7:30 am ET.
Tickets and Information
A link with the full list of ticket options is provided under Resources at the end of the article. There are many options for fans looking to watch the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Daily tickets are available with a variety of options, including various food and viewing options, such as the MasterCard Palmer Patio or Club 8. Daily tickets without amenities are still available at $62, while a Weekly Grounds Badge offering access to the grounds for the entire week will cost $125. As the tournament is sponsored by MasterCard, fans can enjoy discounts by purchasing tickets with their MasterCard. In addition, youth 12 and under are free while youth (age 12-17) tickets for individual days are available for $25. All active duty and retired military are able to get a free one day ticket good for themselves and a guest.
For spectators unable to make the journey to sunny Florida, the Arnold Palmer Invitational will feature extensive media coverage. Television coverage is provided by the Golf Channel and NBC. The first two rounds will air on Golf Channel 2-6 pm ET on Thursday and Friday. The Golf Channel will also carry coverage on Saturday and Sunday 12:30-2:30 pm ET while primetime coverage of the final two rounds will be provided on NBC from 2:30-6 pm ET on Saturday and Sunday. Radio coverage will be available from PGATOUR.com and PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM Thursday and Friday 12-6 pm ET and Saturday and Sunday 1-6 pm ET.