(image courtesy of golfweek.com)
Arnold Palmer Invitational 2022
What a week… The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill was easily the toughest test we have seen this year on the PGA Tour. Scoring at Arnie’s track soared above par for many, creating a jam packed leaderboard coming down the stretch on Sunday. Our pre-tournament favorite Viktor Hovland found himself with an opportunity to win yesterday, however the Norwegian ended up falling one shot short after a two over par 74. Rory Mcilroy also found himself near the top of the leaderboard when he tee’d off Sunday afternoon. Bay Hill turned out to be too much of a test for the four time major champion finishing tied for 13th. After 71 starts on the PGA Tour Scottie Scheffler won his first event two weeks ago at the WM Phoenix Open. Entering the Arnold Palmer Invitational very few people were discussing Scheffler as a possible victor. An even par round on Sunday proved to be enough to capture his second victory in three weeks. The sky’s the limit for Scottie at this point. Many analysts predicted this moment to come in his career yet no one expected his second win to come so shortly after his first tour title.
Bay Hill: Was it a fair fight?
One of the biggest debates in golf circles right now is low scoring versus high scoring PGA Tour events and which is “better”. Several tour players mentioned Bay Hill was penal for off target shots but also far too often did not reward good shots either. While fans and players don’t want to see 24-under par winning every week there has to be a proper balance between difficulty and flat out dumb luck. We consistently see course conditions change throughout the day which may give players a better chance to perform given where they are slotted on the tee sheet. Yet this week at the AP Invitational time-of-day did not matter as much as luck of lie in the rough according to some. Golf is the only sport in which you are competing against the terrain more so than other players in the field. That, in essence, is the beauty of the game. Everyone went through the same experience and not one person was substantially better than another. Lucky bounces, lies, and wind are things players battle each and every week on tour. One bit of speculation that really caught our eye was the timing of such a difficult test. The Players Championship this week at TPC Sawgrass is deemed the 5th major of the year by many. Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Cantlay all elected to sit out at the AP Invitational. It will be interesting to see their performance is superior compared to those with the wear and tear of Bay Hill. At the end of the day the Arnold Palmer Invitational is truly an elite event on the PGA Tour. If it were positioned differently in the season’s schedule, the test would be better received and the spectacle of the event would only improve.
Glimpse Inside the Players Championship
With so much to take away from last week, there is even more to look forward to this week at The Players. Justin Thomas is easily one of the tournament favorites coming in as the reigning champion. After a “disappointing” performance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational T-17th, Jon Rahm will be looking for blood this week in order to secure his World No. 1 golf ranking. Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, and Viktor Hovland have been close since the beginning of the year and round out the dangerous top-5 players in the world this week, in which for the first time in history consists of all top 5 players in the world under the age of 30. After a collapse a couple weeks ago at the Honda Classic, Daniel Berger comes into The Players Championship hungry to win on his home turf and is one of our favorites this week. Given the stature of the field and venue the 2022 Players Championship is set to be yet another phenomenal event at Sawgrass.
Our 2022 Players Championship Predictions
Front-Runner Winner: Collin Morikawa (+1400)
Dark-Horse Winner: Si Woo Kim (+6600)