2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational: Field Preview

By Ryan Watson


The PGA Tour heads to the greater Orlando area and the Bay Hill Club and Lodge for the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational. The event dates back to the Florida Citrus Open Invitational of 1966, though it has used the Arnold Palmer name since 2007. The tournament is played at the course Palmer bought in 1974 and is one of only 5 tournaments on the PGA Tour that are an invitational. The field contains 120 players, including defending champion Francesco Molinari. 


2019 Champion Francesco Molinari


Italian golfer Francesco Molinari was in the middle of a career year when he teed off at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Still, Molinari needed a tremendous final round to secure the victory. Molinari hit the lowest round of the tournament with an -8 to claim victory over Matthew Fitzpatrick by 2 strokes. The win was remarkably Molinari’s 3rd win in 12 PGA Tour events, a tremendous winning ratio for the European Tour star. 


Invitational Criteria

Invitations are handed out in this order until all slots are filled. 

  1. Arnold Palmer Invitational winners from the last 5 years and all those prior to 2000 
  2. The Players Championship and all major championship winners from the last five years
  3. The Tour Championship, World Golf Championships, and Memorial Tournament winners from the past three years
  4. All PGA Tour tournament winners in the past year
  5. Playing members of last named U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams
  6. All current PGA Tour members who played on the last U.S. Presidents Cup and International Presidents Cup teams
  7. Last year’s U.S. Amateur winner (if still an amateur)
  8. Top 50 Official World Golf Ranking 
  9. PGA Tour life members
  10. 18 sponsors exemptions, with 2 coming from Web.com Tour finals, 8 for Tour members not otherwise exempt, and 8 open to any golfer
  11. Up to two foreign players chosen by the commissioner
  12. Top 70 from prior year's FedEx Cup points list
  13. Members in the top 125 non-member category whose prior year non-WGC points equal or exceed the 70th position on the prior year FedEx Cup points list
  14. Top 70 from current year's FedEx Cup points list
  15. Remaining positions filled from current year's FedEx Cup points list


Field Preview

Molinari is looking to defend his title against a packed field. The most high profile competitor is Northern Irishman and world number 1 Rory McIlroy. McIlroy is also a former champion, having won at Bay Hill in 2018. WGC-Mexico Championship winner PAtrick Reed will also tee off as he looks to keep momentum going in his season. Orlando local Henrik Stenson will be one of several golfers competing with homes in the region. Other competitors will be Viktor Hovland, Phil Mickelson, and Jason Day. 


Media Coverage

Television coverage of the event is provided by NBC and Golf Channel, with coverage beginning on the Golf Channel Thursday and Friday from 2-6pm ET. Saturday and Sunday’s coverage begins on Golf Channel from 12:30-2:30pm ET before switching to NBC from 2:30-6pm ET. Streaming coverage is provided by PGA Tour Live and will follow featured groups and featured holes throughout each round. Radio coverage is from PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM satellite radio and streaming online at PGATour.com/liveaudio





About The Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.


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