Wednesday, March 6, 2019

What To Look For: 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational

Y'know what's cool?

Walking back to your car at 6:10 PM with your sore feet and it getting chilly out and seeing the grounds crew working at a fever pitch on the 8th green to prepare for tomorrow's event and one of the guys on the grounds crew...who has probably been there since 6 am when it was a brisk 39-degrees...driving by you with a big wave of a hello and a smile. 

This is such a great representation of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the man himself.  Where most people would be agitated, tired and looking to finish the long day...and deservedly get a big wave hello and a smile like you're the long lost friend that saved them from a house fire years ago.

And every year, like this one...I see great friends like Nick Starchuk, Jeff Haas, Charles Howell III, Denny Lucas, Nick Jones, Pat McCoy, Grant and Osten Waite...just to name a few.  And it's always a good time.  It's a relaxed atmosphere that is still the most fan friendly event I've ever been to on Tour.  It's fairly easy to walk, it's a beautiful layout, there's a grandstand right behind the players on the range and you can almost touch the players on the putting green.  I've been to quite a few Tour events and outside of The Masters (which isn't really an actual Tour event)...this is the best fan experience out there.  And with The PLAYERS Championship now scheduled the following week, this should provide a very strong field year-after-year.

Here's the deal on the tournament...the course is mostly about mid-to-long approach shots and the course goes from crusty to soft at odd times.  Generally, the course has a bias towards playing soft.  Mainly because holes 3-8 kinda sit in a bowl.  When it greatly favors the bombers.  When it plays starts to favor short, but accurate hitters of the ball.

Right now the course is fairly soft due to the rain on Tuesday.  My guess is that it will favor the bombers on Thursday and Friday and then it will be up to see who can hold on during the weekend.

#18 is the final Critical Hole on the course.  However, #4 could be a big factor this week.

This hole plays uphill and is a more difficult of a drive than it looks.  However, they extended the tee 50 yards back and there will be some golfers that will have difficulty reaching the fairway off the tee.

But, back to #18:

As we can see, it's so critical to find the fairway here (red dots = birdie, blue dots = par, black dots = bogey or worse).  The field will find the fairway about 50-55% of the time.  About 3-4% of the tee shots will actually find the water. 

From there, 40% of the players that find the left rough will find the green while only about 20% of the players that find the right rough will go on to hit the GIR.  Overall, 50% of the field will find the GIR in all 4 rounds.

Projected Winning Score: -13


Rory McIlroy +650
Brooks Koepka +1,100
Justin Rose +1,100
Rickie Fowler +1,200
Bryson DeChambeau +1,400


Tommy Fleetwood +3,300
Daniel Berger +6,600
Cameron Champ +8,000
Sung-Jae Im +12,500
Corey Conners +30,000


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