PGA Tour
PGA - Arnold Palmer Invitational Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, March 22nd through Sunday, March 25th
SITE: Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Florida
COURSE ARCHITECT: Dick Wilson and Joe Lee (1961),
         Arnold Palmer (re-design, 1989; renovation, 2009)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,419
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 461 Yds10 - Par 4 400 Yds
2 - Par 3 231 Yds11 - Par 4 438 Yds
3 - Par 4 434 Yds12 - Par 5 574 Yds
4 - Par 5 561 Yds13 - Par 4 370 Yds
5 - Par 4 390 Yds14 - Par 3 215 Yds
6 - Par 5 555 Yds15 - Par 4 467 Yds
7 - Par 3 199 Yds16 - Par 5 511 Yds
8 - Par 4 460 Yds17 - Par 3 221 Yds
9 - Par 4 474 Yds18 - Par 4 458 Yds
36 3,765 Yds36 3,654 Yds
Annual:  47th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 3-6 p.m. (et),
  - Thursday/Friday -- 8:30-11:30 p.m. (et) - replay,
  NBC - Saturday/Sunday -- 2:30-6 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Martin Laird
Runner-Up:  Steve Marino
Tournament Record:  264 (Payne Stewart, 1987)
54-Hole Record:  197 (Andy Bean, 1981)
36-Hole Record:  130 (Andy Bean, Tom Watson, 1981)
Course Record:  62 (Andy Bean, 1981; Greg Norman, 1984)
Total Purse:  $6,000,000
Shares:  1st Place - $1,080,000; 2nd Place - $648,000; 3rd Place - $408,000
2011 Finish
Martin Laird280K.J. Choi283
Steve Marino281Spencer Levin283
Marc Leishman282Sergio Garcia284
Justin Rose282Jim Furyk285
David Toms282Fredrik Jacobson285
Mark Wilson285
Past Arnold Palmer Invitational Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2011Martin Laird (280) -- Steve Marino
2010Ernie Els (277) -- Edoardo Molinari, Kevin Na
2009Tiger Woods (275) -- Sean O'Hair
2008Tiger Woods (270) -- Bart Bryant
2007Vijay Singh (272) -- Rocco Mediate
2006Rod Pampling (274) -- Greg Owen
2005Kenny Perry (276) -- Graeme McDowell, Vijay Singh
2004Chad Campbell (270) -- Stuart Appleby
2003Tiger Woods (269) -- Stewart Cink, Brad Faxon, Kenny Perry,
Kirk Triplett
2002Tiger Woods (275) -- Michael Campbell
2001Tiger Woods (273) -- Phil Mickelson
2000Tiger Woods (270) -- Davis Love III
1999*Tim Herron (274) -- Tom Lehman
1998Ernie Els (274) -- Bob Estes, Jeff Maggert
1997Phil Mickelson (272) -- Stuart Appleby
1996Paul Goydos (275) -- Jeff Maggert
1995Loren Roberts (272) -- Brad Faxon
1994Loren Roberts (275) -- Nick Price, Vijay Singh, Fuzzy Zoeller
1993Ben Crenshaw (280) -- Davis Love III, Rocco Mediate, Vijay Singh
1992Fred Couples (269) -- Gene Sauers
1991#Andrew Magee (203) -- Tom Sieckmann
1990Robert Gamez (274) -- Greg Norman
1989*Tom Kite (278) -- Davis Love III
1988Paul Azinger (271) -- Tom Kite
1987Payne Stewart (264) -- David Frost
1986#Dan Forsman (202) -- Ray Floyd, Mike Hulbert
1985Fuzzy Zoeller (275) -- Tom Watson
1984*Gary Koch (272) -- George Burns
1983*Mike Nicolette (283) -- Greg Norman
1982*Tom Kite (278) -- Jack Nicklaus, Denis Watson
1981Andy Bean (266) -- Tom Watson
1980Dave Eichelberger (279) -- Leonard Thompson
1979*Bob Byman (278) -- John Schroeder
1978Mac McLendon (271) -- David Graham
1977Gary Koch (274) -- Dale Hayes, Joe Inman
1976*Hale Irwin (270) -- Kermit Zarley
1975Lee Trevino (276) -- Hale Irwin
1974Jerry Heard (273) -- Homero Blancas, Jim Jamieson
1973Brian Allin (265) -- Charles Coody
1972Jerry Heard (276) -- Bobby Mitchell
1971Arnold Palmer (270) -- Julius Boros
1970Bob Lunn (271) -- Rives McBee
1969Ken Still (278) -- Miller Barber
1968Dan Sikes (274) -- Tom Weiskopf
1967Julius Boros (274) -- George Knudson, Arnold Palmer
1966Lionel Hebert (279) -- Charles Coody, Dick Lytle, Jack Nicklaus

* - Won in Playoff

# - Rain Shortened

Note:Formerly called Bay Hill Invitational (1996-2006), The Nestle
Invitational (1989-95), Hertz Bay Hill Classic (1985-88), Bay Hill Citrus (1980-84), Bay Hill Citrus Classic (1979), Florida Citrus Open Invitational (1966-78).

Top Contenders in the Field
Martin Laird------------------------74thWon
Justin Rose---T-56T-2468thT-8------T-30mcT-3
David Toms---------------------T-48mcT-3
K.J. ChoimcT-31mcT-8T-34wd------T-17T-6
Sergio GarciaT-9mcT-31T-8T-10T-5T-31------8th
Jim Furyk------------T-20---T-31mcT-11T-9
Rod PamplingT-15T-42T-24mcWonmcmcmcT-40T-12
Stewart CinkT-15T-2T-46T-8mcT-32---T-30T-59T-12
Trevor Immelman---mcT-46mcmcT-9T-48T-40T-71T-12
Ian Poulter------mcmcmc---T-48mc---T-12
Phil MickelsonT-3------------T-36T-21---T-30T-24
Bubba Watson------------T-34mcT-8mcmcT-24
Tiger WoodsWonWonT-46T-23T-20T-22WonWon---T-24
Kevin Na---------mcmc------T-11T-2T-30
Robert AllenbyT-25mcmc---4thT-32---T-11T-14T-38
Charles Howell IIIT-69T-42T-15T-8T-48T-56mcT-22T-21T-38
Hunter Mahan------T-62mcT-59mcT-6T-22T-25T-38
Pat PerezT-9T-10---T-44T-34T-28T-31T-4T-40T-38
J.B. Holmes------------T-48T-77T-59T-40T-21T-47
Henrik Stenson---------------T-22------T-52T-47
Daniel Chopra------------T-59mcmcT-8T-66T-47
Zach Johnson------T-6T-8T-43T-42T-543rdmcT-47
Chad CampbellT-31T-74WonT-8T-17T-22T-21T-22---T-54
Robert Garrigus---------------------------T-56
Ernie ElsT-9T-39mcT-23T-54T-18------WonT-70
Bill Haas------------------mcT-59T-17mc
Brandt Snedeker---------------T-22T-14T-17T-30mc
Webb Simpson------------mc---T-31T-11mcmc
Graeme McDowell---------T-2---------T-40mcmc
Vijay SinghT-15T-20T-31T-27thWonT-3T-59---mc
Nick Watney------------T-48mcT-21T-4T-64---
Sang-Moon Bae------------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Bo Van Pelt
Darkhorse - Jeff Overton
Last Week's Pick to Win (Charl Schwartzel) - Missed the cut
Last Week's Darkhorse (Peter Hanson) - Finished tied for 55th
Nine of the top-20 players in the world are competing this week at Arnold Palmer's home, Bay Hill Club & Lodge, in preparation for The Masters in two weeks. The highest-ranked player in the field is world No. 7 Webb Simpson. He is joined by Justin Rose (8), Hunter Mahan (12), 1997 champion Phil Mickelson (13), Bill Haas (15), Bubba Watson (16), Graeme McDowell (17), six- time champion Tiger Woods (18) and Nick Watney (19).

Bay Hill Club and Lodge has hosted for the last 33 years. Prior to Bay Hill, Rio Pinar Country Club hosted from 1966-78. Bay Hill is owned by Arnold Palmer and has everything Palmer admires in a golf course: wide open fairways that provide plenty of room to swing the driver; risk/reward options that will tempt the go-for-broke player; and multiple rows of bunkers protecting spacious and well-defined greens. The breathtaking course sweeps across 270 acres along the shores of the Butler Chain of Lakes.

Proceeds from this tournament benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. The two hospitals create the Arnold Palmer Medical Center, a high-tech facility that has been serving patients since 1989 by providing quality health care, serving as a teaching campus and touching the lives and hearts of people throughout the state of Florida and beyond.

Last year, Martin Laird fired rounds of 70-65-70-75 to win by one stroke over Steve Marino. Laird finished his second PGA Tour win at eight-under-par 280 and became the first European to win this event. He held onto the 54-hole lead for the first time in three tries on the PGA Tour. Laird's final-round 75 was the highest finish by a winner in tournament history. There were three non- American winners at Bay Hill prior to Laird, but none were from Europe (South African Ernie Els (1998, 2010), Australian Rod Pampling (2006) and Vijay Singh of Fiji (2007).

In 2010, Els shot rounds of 68-69-69-71 to win by two strokes over Edoardo Molinari and Kevin Na. Els finished the tournament at 11-under-par 277. It was the second consecutive win on tour for Els. Two weeks prior, he hoisted the trophy at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. Els won at Bay Hill for the second time, having also won in 1998.

In 2009, Woods came from five strokes back in the final round to win this tournament for the sixth time. Woods fired a final-round, three-under 67 to defeat Sean O'Hair by one shot. He finished at five-under-par 275. The five- shot comeback matched the largest final round comeback of his career. He also came from five back when he won the 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro- Am. Woods made a 15-foot birdie on the final hole for the win. It was the third time that Woods has won this event with a birdie on the 72nd hole, having previously done it in 2001 and 2008.

Woods rolled in a 24-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole in 2008 to beat Bart Bryant by a stroke. Woods collected his fifth straight PGA Tour title and seventh worldwide. Woods shot weekend rounds of 66-66 and finished at 10-under 270.

In 2007, Vijay Singh got up-and-down through a tree to make birdie at the 12th hole in the final round on his way to winning the title by two strokes. Singh made seven birdies on the final day and survived back-to-back bogeys from No. 16 to shoot his second consecutive three-under 67, coming from three strokes down to win. He finished at eight-under-par 272, two shots better than Rocco Mediate. The victory in 2007 was Singh's 31st PGA Tour victory, which tied the Fijian with Harry Cooper of England for most PGA Tour wins by an international player. Singh has since passed Cooper with three more victories for 34 PGA Tour wins. Singh became the fifth player over the age of 40 to win this event, joining Julius Boros (1967), Palmer (1971), Ben Crenshaw (1993) and Kenny Perry (2005).

Woods became the first player in 73 years to win a PGA Tour event four consecutive years in 2003. With the win, Woods equaled the feat of Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and Tom Morris, Jr. Hagen won four straight PGA Championships from 1924-27, Sarazen won four in a row at the Miami Open from 1926-30 (the event was not held in 1927) and Tom Morris, Jr. captured the British Open from 1868-72 (the event was not held in 1871). Other records of note by Woods in 2003 at Bay Hill were his 11-stroke win, breaking the previous nine-shot margin of victory set by Fred Couples in 1992; and his 72- hole score of 269, the lowest since Couples won in 1992 with 269 and only the fifth in event history in the 260s. During the four wins, Woods' scoring average was 67.93.

Woods is a 12-time winner in the state of Florida, with six Bay Hill titles, three wins at Doral, two Walt Disney World victories and the 2001 PLAYERS Championship. Woods has actually won seven times at Bay Hill, as he also captured the 1991 U.S. Junior title, one of his six consecutive USGA Championships. Woods, the all-time money leader at this event with $5,123,359 in earnings, is 83-under par in his last nine appearances with 29 sub-par rounds. He has posted par-or-better scores in 42 of 56 rounds as a professional at Bay Hill, including 36 of his last 44 rounds.

When Couples captured the 1992 event, he became the only player in Bay Hill history to win wire-to-wire without being tied. Tim Herron (1999) and Woods (2002) led in the same fashion, but were tied -- Herron after the second and third rounds and Woods after round one. Woods, Loren Roberts, Jerry Heard, Gary Koch and Tom Kite are the only multiple winners. Heard, Koch and Kite are two-time winners.

The late Payne Stewart holds the tournament scoring record of 264, which he set in 1987. Stewart donated his check to the Florida Hospital Circle of Friends in memory of his father. The first year this tournament was held, Lionel Hebert pocketed $21,000 for the victory. This year's winner will receive $1,080,000.

Five players have made this tournament their first PGA Tour win: Ken Still (1969); Bob Byman (1979); Mike Nicolette (1983); Roberts (1994); and Paul Goydos (1996). Robert Gamez was the last player to win on his first try (1990). There have been seven playoffs in tournament history, the last coming in 1999 when Herron defeated Tom Lehman.

This tournament will be followed on the schedule next week with the Shell Houston Open at Redstone Golf Club, where Mickelson captured the title last year. The Houston Open will serve as the final tune-up for The Masters.

03/20 14:30:08 ET

As of March 20, 2012, at 02:30 PM ET