The Arnold Palmer Invitational is the second event of the PGA Tour’s Florida swing, coming off a phenomenal week at PGA National’s Honda Classic, the world’s best are ready to take on the ever-exciting Bay Hill Club and Lodge. Last year’s contest at Bay Hill was highlighted by the driving performance of eventual champion Bryson DeChambeau. Unfortunately, history will not repeat itself this year as the past champion withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational due to injury. DeChambeau has been nursing a wrist injury since January and says he will be back in time for the Masters, however his game is not back to 100% at this point in time. Although Bryson DeChambeau will not be in the field this week, the Arnold Palmer Invitational seems to be the first portion of the Florida swing in which the top players in the world compete. Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, and world number one, Jon Rahm, lead as favorites heading into this week’s contest. Another player who will not be in the field this week at Bay Hill due to recent controversy is Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson has been compared to the great Arnold Palmer for nearly his entire career when it comes to passion for the game and fandom. Comments made by Phil Mickelson have come to the surface recently regarding his thoughts of a Saudi Super League and criticism of the PGA Tour. Mickelson has been dropped by longtime sponsor KPMG and suspended by Callaway due to the backlash. Whether this is an overreaction to “Phil being Phil” remains to be seen, however at this time Mickelson has decided to take a step back from the game of golf. It will be interesting to see the progression of Phil’s reputation prior to defending at the PGA Championship in May of 2022.
Battle For World No. 1 Golf Ranking
Jon Rahm has been in contention in nearly every tournament he has played in 2022, this week could be a breakthrough victory and would come at the perfect time. Rahm’s number one world ranking is in jeopardy each week second ranked Collin Morikawa plays. Collin Morikawa will be absent this week in preparation for the Players Championship giving Rahm the perfect opportunity to gain the necessary points to maintain world number one. Rahm is a determined competitor and this most certainly is one of the reasons he added the AP Invitational to his schedule this season. Viktor Hovland is a walking top-10 this season, so it seems and also finds himself in the race for world number one. While Rahm does not have to worry about Collin Morikawa at Bay Hill, Hovland will pose just as much of a challenge.
Our Arnold Palmer Invitational Picks:
Front-Runner Winner: Viktor Hovland (+1600)
Dark Horse Winner: Cameron Young (+7000)