Palmers Party Long on Big Names

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 13, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Arnold Palmer InvitationalThe PGA TOUR remains in Florida for the third of four straight events in the Sunshine State for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
 
Formerly known as the Bay Hill Invitational, this event was renamed after TOUR legend Arnold Palmer. Palmer owns the fourth most PGA TOUR wins with 62, including seven major championship crowns.
 
Palmer played in this event for 35 straight years from 1970-2004. He won the title just once, 1971, and last made the cut in 1993 at the age of 64.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods would like nothing more than getting back into the winner's circle at Bay Hill. (WireImage)
Rod Pampling walked away with the title last year, thanks in large part to Greg Owen's gaffe. The two were playing together and at the 17th, Pampling stumbled to a bogey, seemingly to fall two behind.
 
However, Owen pushed his par putt. Then without lining up his bogey try, that putt lipped out. Owen tapped in for double-bogey as he and Pampling headed to the last tied for the lead.
 
Pampling two-putted for par at the last to earn the win as Owen could not save par from a greenside bunker. Pampling, who hails from Australia, became the second international player to win this crown. Ernie Els was the first in 1998.
 
A strong field is on hand this week with seven of the top 10 and 15 of the top 20 players from the latest world rankings teeing it up at Bay Hill. Jim Furyk, the second-ranked player in the world, is the highest ranked player not playing this week. He is taking the week off with a sore wrist.
 
The GOLF CHANNEL has coverage of the first two rounds, while NBC will cover the final two rounds.
 
Next week the TOUR plays the last of four straight events in Florida with the World Golf Championships - CA Championship, which will be played at Doral.
 
This replaced the Ford Championship at Doral and fell under the World Golf Championships umbrella. Tiger Woods fended off Camilo Villegas and David Toms to win the Ford Championship by one stroke in 2006.
 
But, as for this week, big names rule at the Arnie Invitational. Here are five not-so-surprising names to watch for:
 
Tiger Woods
Hey, the streak isn't dead yet. Well, at least the one that states he has won seven straight PGA TOUR stroke-play events. At one time Mr. Woods owned this event, racking up four straight wins from 2000-03. But the last three years Tiger has been anything but, well, Tiger. He's gone T-46, T-23, T-20 and has only broken 70 once in that span. It's a good bet, however, that he'll get his mojo back this week at his hometown event.
 
Phil Mickelson
Despite not playing at Bay Hill for the past four years, Lefty has built quite a resume in Arnies event, winning once and having three other top-5 showings. But in true Mickelson form, he has also missed the cut in three other starts. And so it goes for Phil, like always. Which Phil will show up ' miss-the-cut Phil or battling-for-the-lead Phil? Hes gone 1-2 in his last two starts, but with Augusta just around the corner, his mind might be elsewhere.
 
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia is hoping to be in the hunt come Sunday. (WireImage)
Sergio Garcia
Much has been made about the 26-year-old Spaniards inability to score well in final rounds of events and here at this event is no different. In his seven starts at Bay Hill, Garcia has four top-10 finishes, including a T-10 last year. But, as stated above, his fourth-round scoring average is a glaring problem. He was tied for sixth heading into Sunday in 06 but posted a 1-over 73 and never threatened. He trailed Tiger by one in 2001 and closing 74 dropped him to fourth.
 
Geoff Ogilvy
It will be interesting to see how the new and improved Ogilvy will play at Arnies event this year. He has teed it up five times previously at Bay Hill with his best showing a T-26 that came last season. He has since won the U.S. Open and has now climbed to seventh in the world. Ogilvy played well at the Sony Open in Hawaii at the start of the season and made it to his second straight WGC-Match Play final before falling to Henrik Stenson.
 
Vijay Singh
Mostly, Vijay is about winning. But in his 14 starts at Bay Hill he has yet to visit the winners circle. He has come close, though, several times ' three to be exact ' with runner-up finishes. The most recent was two years ago when he fell to champion Kenny Perry by two strokes. Singh is having a curious year thus far in 2007; he opened with a victory in Maui, but has since dropped to ninth in the world rankings.
 
But beware big dogs, as the past three weeks the PGA TOUR has seen winners come from outside the top-50 in the world rankings. Here's four others, inside and outside the top 50, to keep an eye on:
 
Charles Howell III
Howell looks to be simply coming into his own - finally. Standing atop the FedEx Cup point standings, Chucky 3-Sticks closed with a 65 on a tough course at Innisbrook Resort to finish sixth last week. Add a win and two other runner-ups in '07, and the Augusta native is licking his chops on his way to the Masters.
 
Lucas Glover
The star-in-the-making Glover held the 36-hole lead last year in Orlando before an awful weekend left in a tie for 17th. His back-to-back 67s in the first two rounds shows promise. Better yet? He finished fourth last week in Tampa, just two back of Calcavecchia.
 
Zach Johnson
Johnson had a decent result at the PODS Championship with a 14th-place finish and could parlay that new found confidence coming back to Arnie's place. In three starts, Johnson has two top-10s - a T-6 and a T-8 in '04 and '05, respectively.
 
Greg Owen
We all know what happened to Owen last year on the 17th green - two-shot lead vanished following a sickening three-putt double bogey. How will he try to cope with those demons upon his return to Bay Hill? So far this season, in six starts he has five missed cuts. But the ray of hope? A T-4 at Pebble Beach.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

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    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

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    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry