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

DATES: Thursday, March 25th through Sunday, March 28th
SITE: Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Orlando, Florida
COURSE ARCHITECT: Dick Wilson and Joe Lee (1961),
         Arnold Palmer (re-design, 1989; renovation, 2009)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,353
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 441 Yds10 - Par 4 400 Yds
2 - Par 3 218 Yds11 - Par 4 438 Yds
3 - Par 4 425 Yds12 - Par 5 580 Yds
4 - Par 5 561 Yds13 - Par 4 364 Yds
5 - Par 4 384 Yds14 - Par 3 206 Yds
6 - Par 5 558 Yds15 - Par 4 467 Yds
7 - Par 3 197 Yds16 - Par 5 511 Yds
8 - Par 4 459 Yds17 - Par 3 219 Yds
9 - Par 4 467 Yds18 - Par 4 458 Yds
36 3,710 Yds36 3,643 Yds
Annual:  45th
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:  Tiger Woods (Not defending)
Runner-Up:  Sean O'Hair
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
2009 Finish
Tiger Woods275Scott Verplank279
Sean O'Hair276Nick Watney279
Zach Johnson278Daniel Chopra280
Pat Perez279Jason Gore280
John Senden279Kenny Perry280
Past Arnold Palmer Invitational Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
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
Sean O'Hair------------------wdT-14T-32nd
Zach Johnson------------T-6T-8T-43T-42T-543rd
Nick Watney------------------T-48mcT-21T-4
Pat Perez------T-9T-10---T-44T-34T-28T-31T-4
John Senden------mc------T-50mc---T-48T-4
Scott Verplank---------T-18T-3wdT-10T-18mcT-4
Kenny Perry---T-43T-22T-2T-15Won---mcT-48T-8
Jason Gore------------------T-26---mcT-8
Daniel Chopra------------------T-59mcmcT-8
Robert AllenbyT-29T-34T-25mcmc---4thT-32---T-11
Vaughn Taylor---------------T-58mc3rdT-31T-17
Hunter Mahan------------T-62mcT-59mcT-6T-22
Charles Howell III---mcT-69T-42T-15T-8T-48T-56mcT-22
Tim HerronT-10T-40T-49T-56T-24mcmcT-63mcT-30
Stewart Cink6th---T-15T-2T-46T-8mcT-32---T-30
Retief GoosenmcT-34T-15---mc4thT-48T-18T-14T-36
Trevor Immelman---------mcT-46mcmcT-9T-48T-40
J.B. Holmes------------------T-48T-77T-59T-40
Mike WeirT-7------------T-63T-17T-72---T-40
Rocco MediateT-38T-23T-3T-56------mc2ndmcT-48
Stuart ApplebyT-64mcmcT-652ndT-36T-54T-45mcT-52
Jim Furyk------------------T-20---T-31mc
Rod Pampling------T-15T-42T-24mcWonmcmcmc
Phil MickelsonT-462ndT-3------------T-36T-21---
Camilo Villegas------------------T-5961stT-44---
Arnold PalmerT-14T-62T-9T-38mcT-23T-54T-18------
Henrik Stenson---------------------T-22------
K.J. Choi---T-51mcT-31mcT-8T-34wd------
Steve Stricker---T-66mcmcmcmc------------
Charl Schwartzel------------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Charl Schwartzel
Darkhorse - K.J. Choi
Last Week's Pick to Win (Padraig Harrington) - Finished tied for 8th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Vijay Singh) - Not in final field
Ten of the top-20 players in the world are competing this week at Arnold Palmer's home, Bay Hill Club and Lodge, in preparation for The Masters in two weeks. The field is led by world No. 2 and FedExCup leader Steve Stricker, world No. 3 and 1997 champion Phil Mickelson, world No. 6 and last week's winner at the Transitions Championship Jim Furyk and world No. 9 and 1998 champion Ernie Els, who won the WGC-CA Championship two weeks ago. Bay Hill returns to a par-72 this year for the first time since 2006. The fourth and 16th holes will play as par-five's this year instead of par-four's.

Last year, Tiger Woods came from five strokes back in the final round to win this event for the sixth time. Woods fired a final-round, three-under 67 to defeat Sean O'Hair by one shot. He finished the event at five-under-par 275. Woods made a 15-foot birdie on the final hole to win his first tournament since returning from knee surgery. 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. 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 will not be on hand to defend his title. He is scheduled to make his much anticipated season debut at The Masters in two weeks.

In 2008, Woods rolled in a 24-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole 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 withdrew from this year's event due to a sore back.

Singh became the fifth player over the age of 40 to win this event in 2007, joining Julius Boros (1967), Palmer (1971), Ben Crenshaw (1993) and Kenny Perry (2005). Singh tied for 59th last year, which kept his cuts made streak alive at this event, as he has made the cut in all 17 appearances.

In 2006, Rod Pampling captured the title thanks in large part to a costly mistake by Greg Owen on the 17th green. Pampling was one behind Owen as they reached the par-three 17th. Pampling missed the green left while Owen went right at the flagstick, but came up short. His ball rolled back into the rough, but was dry and with a decent lie. Pampling's chip came up 10 feet short and Owen pitched to five feet. Pampling missed his par putt and if Owen could convert his par save, he would own a two-shot lead with one to play. What happened next was almost too amazing to believe. Owen pushed the par putt right and the ball ran about three feet past the hole. He did not mark his ball or line up the putt. He took less than 10 seconds for his three-footer and his bogey putt lipped out. Instead of heading to Bay Hill's difficult closing hole with a two-shot lead, Owen was now tied for the lead with Pampling at minus-14. Owen's approach on 18 landed in a bunker left of the green and Pampling played his second 50 feet left of the hole. Owen blasted 13 feet past the cup, while Pampling lagged his birdie try inside two feet. Owen hit a beautiful putt that headed toward the center of the hole. It moved right at the last second and once again, Owen saw a putt lip out completely around the hole. Pampling tapped in and earned his second PGA Tour victory after winning The International in 2004.

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 at this event 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 $5,074,759 in earnings, is 82-under par in his last nine appearances with 28 sub-par rounds. He has posted par-or-better scores in 40 of 52 rounds as a professional at Bay Hill, including 34 of his last 42 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, Koch and Tom Kite are the only multiple winners of this event. 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 event was held, Lionel Hebert pocketed $21,000 for the victory. This year's winner will receive $1,080,000.

Bay Hill Club and Lodge has hosted this event for the last 32 years. Prior to Bay Hill, Rio Pinar Country Club hosted this event 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.

Five players have made the Bay Hill Invitational 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 this event on his first try (1990). There have been seven playoffs in tournament history, the last coming in 1999 when Herron defeated Tom Lehman. Over the years, Bay Hill has attracted the world's best players, however, in the 44-year history, only three non-Americans have won -- Els from South Africa (1998), Pampling from Australia (2006) and Singh from Fiji (2007).

Proceeds from the Bay Hill Invitational 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.

This event will be followed on the schedule next week with the Shell Houston Open at Redstone Golf Club, where Paul Casey captured his first PGA Tour title last year.

03/23 14:05:08 ET

As of March 23, 2010, at 02:05 PM ET