The tournament will be called the Arnold Palmer Invitational starting in 2007, making Palmer only the second player to have a PGA Tour event named after him. The other is the Byron Nelson Championship outside Dallas.
Palmer owns the Bay Hill Club, where the tournament has been played since 1979. It dates to 1966, when it was called the Florida Citrus Open Invitational and was played at Rio Pinar Country Club. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, which has been serving patients since 1989.
'There was a strong sentiment to do this, and in the end, we determined that it might as well occur sooner than later, particularly now that Arnold has consciously reduced his competitive playing schedule,' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. 'Arnold has been the face of the tournament for a number of years, and it makes sense that it bears his name to honor his countless contributions to the tournament and to the PGA Tour.'
Palmer never won the Bay Hill Invitational and stopped playing in 2004. His 18-year-old grandson, Sam Saunders, will be playing next week on an exemption.