Arnold Palmer Invitational 2021: Course and current form stats ahead of Bay Hill

Bay Hill: Week two of the PGA Tour's Florida Swing
Plenty of water at Bay Hill, as the PGA Tour moves to Orlando

Week two of the Florida Swing brings the PGA Tour to Bay Hill, a venue synonymous with one of golf's all-time greats. Words and stats supplied by Andy Swales...

From the tee, Bay Hill is certainly not the most feared course on the rota, with recent stats showing the venue becomes a lot more treacherous when approaching the green. Between 2016 and 2020, it was 9th (out of 29) for most fairways hit, but became 28th most difficult for greens located in regulation.

It's another big week on the PGA Tour, as the players travel to Orlando for the prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Many of golf's most sought after titles take place at this time of year, with the Players Championship next on the agenda, followed by The Masters in a month's time.

And following on from last week's opening WGC event of 2021, the pros are teeing-up at Bay Hill, another high-ranking invitational event with a selective and limited-size field.

Bay Hill was designed by one of golf's most famous architects, Dick Wilson. Among his other high-profile creations are the Blue Monster course at Doral and the highly-acclaimed Laurel Valley in Pennsylvania.

On the tee

In what is a particularly busy period of golf for the game's leading pros, nine of the world's top 20 have made their way to Orlando for the second of four events on the PGA Tour's Florida Swing.

'Top seed' is world No 6 and defending champion Tyrrell Hatton, the UK's highest-ranked golfer right now.

In recent years, Bay Hill has ushered in plenty of overseas champions, including each of the last five.

Two of these are Rory McIlroy (2018) and Francesco Molinari (2019), both of whom had strong course histories anyway.

Check out the latest betting ahead of this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational

World No 8 McIlroy, who certainly seems to prefer the eastern states of America more than those in the west, has not finished lower than sixth in any of his last four visits to Bay Hill.

He tied for sixth in Florida on Sunday, and should head to Orlando feeling more confident than he did when he arrived in the Sunshine State.

Returning to form

When Covid-struck last year, Molinari opted to remain with his family in Italy for over seven months which meant the former world No 5 had dropped to 112 in the World Ranking by the end of 2020.

But he has started the New Year positively with three top-10 finishes from four outings on the PGA Tour.

He also tends to play his best golf at tough venues which require good course management skills - and Bay Hill is definitely one of these.

And with previous course form seemingly important around here, then world No 17 Korean Sung Jae Im and the ever-improving Jason Kokrak should be given serious consideration this week.

Check out the latest betting ahead of April's US Masters

From the tee, Bay Hill is certainly not the most feared course on the rota, with recent stats showing the venue becomes a lot more treacherous when approaching the green.

Between 2016 and 2020, it was 9th (out of 29) for most fairways hit, but became 28th most difficult for greens located in regulation.

Bay Hill background

Opening for business 60 years ago, Bay Hill is neither short of sand, nor lacking in water, and used to be a layout which favoured the big hitters.

The late Arnold Palmer, who purchased the venue in 1975, made a number of changes to the course 12 years ago with the aim of encouraging attacking golf.

During the four-month renovation, he increased the number of potential pin positions by more than 40, after redesigning all 18 putting surfaces.

Palmer, who died in 2016, was one of the most attacking golfers of his generation and the purpose of making these changes was to create more risk/reward opportunities.

During this upgrade he moved fairway bunkers further from tees, while extending greenside sand closer to the edges of putting surfaces.

He also made the sand more visible from tees and fairways, in order to encourage the bold and the brave.

Large water hazards come into play on nine holes, while there are a handful of dog legs too.

'Creative scrambling'

Regarding these alterations, Palmer explained: "I've introduced firm, fast playing conditions on slopes around greens that run away from the pins.

"This will take the ball further away from the intended target instead of stopping it, like the previous heavy rough did. With these new conditions we hope to add creativity to recovery shots."

And while these changes certainly heaped more pressure on players to hone their scrambling skills before arriving at Bay Hill, Palmer also added a little more yardage to the course which upped the total par from 71 to 72.

Six years ago, the Bermuda grass greens were re-surfaced once again, while a number of fairways were widened with the intention of making attacking golf look even more attractive.

Bay Hill joined the PGA Tour schedule in 1979, and has been part of the rota every year since.

In 2020, it was the final tournament to be completed before Tour officials announced a shutdown of top-level professional golf - for almost three months - because of the emerging Covid-19 crisis.

This parkland course is located around eight miles south-west of downtown Orlando, close to Florida's Butler Lake.

Course Comparisons (1.1.16 - 31.12.20)


Driving Accuracy (%)
73.88: Sea Island (RSM Classic) (1/29)
64.68: Bay Hill (Palmer Invitational) (9/29)
52.24: Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance) (29/29)

Greens in Regulation (%)
75.98: Sedgefield (Wyndham) (1/29)
59.95: Bay Hill (Palmer Invitational) (28/29)
58.99: Innisbrook (Valspar) (29/29)

Putting (GiR)
1.664: PGA West (host) (American Express) (1/29)
1.767: Bay Hill (Palmer Invitational) (24/29)
2.668: Augusta National (Masters) (29/29)

Key: Above stats are for all 29 courses which staged four or more PGA Tour events between January 1st, 2016 and December 31st, 2020. To qualify for a ranking (between 1 & 29), tournaments must have a minimum of 50 players competing over the final two rounds of the event. Averages do not include players who failed to complete at least 54 holes.

Bay Hill Data (2016-20)
DA: (T10 - 67.69%); (Cat10 - 76.40%)
GiR: (T10 - 63.94%); (Cat10 - 69.34%)
Putts: (T10 - 1.719); (Cat10 - 1.643)
Key: T10 (Average for Top-10 finishers); Cat10 (Average for Top-10 in Category)

Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive

Note: List Contains Leading Reserves

Last Nine Weeks / Bay Hill Form (2011-20)

Position

  • 1–5
  • 6–15
  • 16–25
Player W9 W8 W7 W6 W5 W4 W3 W2 W1
Tyrrell Hatton 22 6 22 1
Rory McIlroy 6 MC 13 16 3
Bryson DeChambeau 22 MC 18 7
Patrick Reed 9 66 1 MC 21
Viktor Hovland 2 5 6 2 31
Matthew Fitzpatrick 11 5 17 MC
Sung Jae Im 28 17 32 12 56 5
Paul Casey 5 12 1 8
Harris English 66 MC MC 32 1
Tommy Fleetwood 44 26 17 7
Hideki Matsuyama 15 MC 42 53 19 41
Kevin Na 11 38 21 MC 1 38
Louis Oosthuizen 6 11 29
Victor Perez 52 4 MC 46
Marc Leishman 39 32 18 4 24
Jason Kokrak 9 32 41 29 56 35
Kevin Kisner 41 32 24
Justin Rose 54 2 35 57
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 32 53 22 12
Lee Westwood 61 50 17 62
Max Homa 22 1 7 42 18 21
Shane Lowry 48 29 27 MC
Billy Horschel 2 53 MC 7 24
Bernd Wiesberger 59 53 6 25
Robert MacIntyre 61 29 3 16
Jason Day 18 7 MC MC
Will Zalatoris 22 15 55 17 7
Brendon Todd 18 MC 22 41 13
Lanto Griffin 22 26 7 MC 41 13
Si Woo Kim MC MC 50 MC 1 25
Matt Wallace MC MC 51 7
Ian Poulter 35 18 MC MC
Corey Conners MC 17 37
Jordan Spieth 15 3 4 MC
Sebastian Munoz 22 43 MC 65 17
Erik van Rooyen 37 MC MC 56 MC
Adam Long MC MC MC 69
Rickie Fowler 20 MC MC 53 21
JT Poston 43 11 18 MC MC
Dylan Frittelli MC MC 53
Chez Reavie MC 16 MC MC 67
Danny Willett 63 44 16
Joel Dahmen MC 60 MC MC MC
Cameron Champ 48 MC MC MC 31
Byeong Hun An 35 53 75 8
Sam Burns 3 39 22 18 MC
Matt Jones 8 34 30 48 21 11
Branden Grace 1 20 34 MC
Henrik Stenson MC MC 46
Francesco Molinari 8 59 10 8
Talor Gooch 12 MC 48 21 MC
Adam Hadwin 26 50 18 32
Brendan Steele 43 34 30 21 4
Cameron Tringale 26 7 17 18 56
Brian Harman 43 39 36 8 56
Martin Laird MC MC MC 47 17
Alexander Noren 12 MC 37 40
Henrik Norlander MC 26 22 2 12 MC
Graeme McDowell 66 MC MC
Rory Sabbatini MC MC 10 12 MC
Jazz Janewattananond 72 25
Tom Hoge 52 12 MC MC MC MC
Chris Kirk 16 MC 16 2
Jim Herman MC MC MC 32
Zach Johnson 42 62 62
Robert Streb MC MC MC 67 38
Sung Kang 67 63 MC MC MC
Nate Lashley 57 5 17 MC MC
Nick Taylor 20 39 MC 47 11 29
Wyndham Clark 8 36 32 54
Doc Redman MC MC MC 70
Brandt Snedeker MC MC 32 MC MC
Maverick McNealy MC 2 MC 71
Cameron Davis 43 14 32 3 31
Lucas Glover 39 MC 58 42 MC
Aaron Wise 66 MC
Harold Varner 62 MC 13 MC
Charles Howell MC MC MC 19
Richy Werenski 57 22 60 21 MC 24
Charley Hoffman 52 7 MC Wd Wd 14
Matthew NeSmith 20 16 7 48 MC MC
Sepp Straka 43 MC 32 MC 25
Kyoung-Hoon Lee 66 2 MC 32 19
Keegan Bradley 60 22 MC MC
Peter Malnati MC MC 10 MC 14
Mark Hubbard MC 55 30 MC 32
Tyler Duncan 38 MC MC MC 56
Emiliano Grillo 11 MC 22 MC 37 47
Luke List MC 30 10 21 MC
CT Pan 20 65 MC MC MC
Danny Lee 52 MC 65 MC MC
Robby Shelton MC 53 16 MC 25
Andrew Putnam 5 32 55 7 21 MC
Hudson Swafford MC MC 25 35
Brian Stuard MC 16 58 MC 47 47
Austin Cook MC MC MC 32 47
Brian Gay 60 34 MC MC 72 29
Patton Kizzire 39 50 53 7
Charl Schwartzel 62 MC 18 54
Keith Mitchell MC MC MC 14
Patrick Rodgers 30 12 MC MC MC MC
Kyle Stanley 32 39 36 18 32 MC
Russell Knox MC 7 53 MC 16 MC
Will Gordon 27 21 MC 42 64 MC
Kristoffer Ventura 49 MC MC MC
Denny McCarthy MC MC MC 73 MC
Ryan Armour MC 47 MC 16 32
Pat Perez MC 26 MC 69 MC 32
Bo Hoag 32 MC 36 18 16 MC
Padraig Harrington 58 MC MC 6 62
Scott Stallings 30 36 MC MC
Steve Stricker 4 60 MC
Doug Ghim MC 21 37 5 MC
Chesson Hadley MC MC MC
Tyler McCumber 52 MC 75 40 MC
Kramer Hickok MC MC MC 21 19
Cameron Percy 7 21 48 MC
John Huh MC 65 21
Hank Lebioda 39 MC 62 MC
Jason Dufner 26 MC 77 MC
Camilo Villegas MC MC Wd MC
Anirban Lahiri 39 MC MC 62
Michael Gligic 63 MC MC MC MC
David Hearn MC MC MC 64 MC
Matt Every MC 34 Wd MC MC MC
John Augenstein MC MC MC
Davis Love MC
Tim Herron
Paul Goydos
Rod Perry
Kamaiu Johnson MC
Robert Gamez
Matthias Schmid
Player `20 `19 `18 `17 `16 `15 `14 `13 `12 `11
Tyrrell Hatton 1 29 69 4
Rory McIlroy 5 6 1 4 27 11
Bryson DeChambeau 4 46 2 27
Patrick Reed 15 50 7 52 MC
Viktor Hovland 42 40
Matthew Fitzpatrick 9 2 MC 13 27 MC
Sung Jae Im 3 3
Paul Casey 41 9 MC 60
Harris English 9 68 22 MC MC 29 14 57 MC
Tommy Fleetwood MC 3 26 10
Hideki Matsuyama 56 33 49 45 6 21
Kevin Na 36 MC 36 MC 6 14 4 30
Louis Oosthuizen MC MC 28 9
Victor Perez
Marc Leishman 2 23 7 1 17 MC 31 MC 48 3
Jason Kokrak 18 10 MC 56 20 6 4 MC
Kevin Kisner MC 23 MC 2 MC 49
Justin Rose MC 63 3 13 9 MC 2 15 3
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 18
Lee Westwood MC MC 63
Max Homa 24
Shane Lowry MC MC MC
Billy Horschel 36 50 54 13 20 43 43 75
Bernd Wiesberger MC
Robert MacIntyre
Jason Day Wd Wd 22 23 1 17 45
Will Zalatoris
Brendon Todd 18 MC MC MC
Lanto Griffin 36
Si Woo Kim MC MC MC 49 63
Matt Wallace 24 6
Ian Poulter 32 23 41 41 46 21 20 21 3 12
Corey Conners MC MC
Jordan Spieth
Sebastian Munoz MC
Erik van Rooyen
Adam Long 24 10
Rickie Fowler 18 40 14 12 29 MC 3 30
JT Poston MC 66
Dylan Frittelli 18
Chez Reavie MC 60 70
Danny Willett 18 MC Wd 29
Joel Dahmen 5 MC
Cameron Champ MC MC
Byeong Hun An 56 10 14 49 36
Sam Burns 36 54 49
Matt Jones 47 MC 3 14 50
Branden Grace MC 62 MC
Henrik Stenson MC 17 4 MC 3 2 5 8 15 47
Francesco Molinari 1 26 7 9 17 5 34
Talor Gooch 13 26
Adam Hadwin 33 6 36
Brendan Steele MC 17 46 35 20 MC MC 38
Cameron Tringale 27 56 27 MC
Brian Harman MC MC 54 13 17 MC MC MC 15
Martin Laird MC 26 49 43 43 76 34 36 1
Alexander Noren MC 36 49
Henrik Norlander MC
Graeme McDowell 32 54 22 28 MC MC 10 45 2 MC
Rory Sabbatini 47 60 MC Wd MC
Jazz Janewattananond MC
Tom Hoge 15 26
Chris Kirk 15 13 MC 12 MC 60 16 MC
Jim Herman MC 45 63 MC
Zach Johnson 32 40 26 66 5 9 43 34 11 47
Robert Streb MC MC MC MC MC
Sung Kang 9 6 58 MC
Nate Lashley MC MC
Nick Taylor 56 MC 35
Wyndham Clark 68
Doc Redman 62 71
Brandt Snedeker 50 MC 28 36 13 8 MC 63 MC
Maverick McNealy MC 46
Cameron Davis
Lucas Glover MC 10 49 7 27 MC 14 MC
Aaron Wise 40 41
Harold Varner 36 MC 34 MC
Charles Howell MC 15 14 56 46 21 35 45 20 38
Richy Werenski MC
Charley Hoffman 13 MC 14 2 MC 59
Matthew NeSmith MC
Sepp Straka MC
Kyoung-Hoon Lee 42
Keegan Bradley 42 46 26 34 36 49 2 3 MC
Peter Malnati MC
Mark Hubbard MC MC
Tyler Duncan MC MC
Emiliano Grillo Dq 26 7 17
Luke List 10 7 17
CT Pan MC MC 41 56
Danny Lee 5 MC MC 17 MC 17 31
Robby Shelton 56 MC
Andrew Putnam MC
Hudson Swafford 29 75 10 36 11 MC
Brian Stuard MC 36 MC MC 60 16
Austin Cook MC 36
Brian Gay 62 MC 22 MC MC 42 24
Patton Kizzire MC MC
Charl Schwartzel MC MC 45 47
Keith Mitchell 5 6
Patrick Rodgers 24 46 7 MC 20
Kyle Stanley MC 14 17 MC 12
Russell Knox MC 73 29 43
Will Gordon
Kristoffer Ventura
Denny McCarthy MC
Ryan Armour MC 77
Pat Perez MC 50 17 MC 67 50 MC 38
Bo Hoag
Padraig Harrington MC MC 49 67
Scott Stallings 40 MC MC MC MC 48
Steve Stricker 42 58
Doug Ghim
Chesson Hadley 17 49 67 26
Tyler McCumber
Kramer Hickok
Cameron Percy
John Huh 26 66 68 55 27 73
Hank Lebioda MC
Jason Dufner MC MC 15 66
Camilo Villegas MC MC 55 21 20 16 42 MC
Anirban Lahiri MC 69 75 MC
Michael Gligic
David Hearn 34 20 43 52 45
Matt Every MC MC MC 62 MC 1 1 34 24 MC
John Augenstein
Davis Love 66 58 68 65 26 Wd
Tim Herron 69 MC 62 MC MC MC MC 11 MC
Paul Goydos 69 MC 73
Rod Perry 62 MC MC MC 76 MC
Kamaiu Johnson
Robert Gamez MC MC MC MC MC MC MC MC MC MC
Matthias Schmid

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