2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Following Paul Casey’s emotional win last week at the Valspar Championship, the PGA Tour stays within The Sunshine State and heads just a bit eastward to the Orlando area for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

The Bay Hill course is a juicy 7,400+ yard par 72 track, with water hazards and deep bunkering galore.  The bombers definitely have an advantage this week, but with several of the par 4s require laying well back off the tee (similar to the Valspar last week), it does take drivers out of the hands for several holes of the bomb and gouge crew.  Oh yeah, and the 12.5-ish stimped greens are no cake walk either.

No picks last week, was too busy welcoming this little guy into the world. 🙂

Now, onto some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLA

Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler
– Don’t let that MC a few weeks ago at the Honda Classic fool you- Rickie is still poised for a big season.  He was in contention just a few weeks prior at the Phoenix Open before a poor final round saw him fade to a t-11th finish (he played much better all week than what the final numbers shows) and opened the season with a t-4th finish at Kapalua, which shows he is not too far removed from good form.  The masses will be all over El Tigre, Jason Day and Justin Rose, while I’m calling for Rickie as a perfect pivot as my Lockzilla of the week.

SEMI-FLIER

Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen
– 3/3 in his career in made cuts here at Bay Hill, including a t-9th in 2015.  Also arrives in good form on the heels of 3 straight weeks of finishes in the top 30, capped with a t-16th last week at the Valspar.  That t-16th was better than it looked, as Louis was hovering inside the top 10 all weekend and leaked oil down the stretch with a few closing bogies.  Look for a top 15 finish this week again, with top 5 upside.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
– Everyone else will hop back aboard the Tiger bandwagon this week.  Let them.  While he clearly has already exceeded expectations and has been highly impressive in his return, not for a moment am I going to fall into the Tiger trap.  Not saying that he’s going to miss the cut this week, but A) it’s his first appearance at Bay Hill in 5 years (yes, I do realize he’s won here an incredible 8 times, but that was a lifetime ago), B) he’s still struggling to find fairways off the tee particularly with his driver (not that you need too many drivers at Bay Hill) C) he’s clearly still struggling with his iron game, particularly distance control (which is crucial at Bay Hill) as his distances have changed and D) it’s the second of back-to-back weeks for him.  Just being realistic, folks– he’s 42-years-old and just contended in a PGA Tour event for the first time in ages.  No way that he does that in back-to-back weeks after all that he’s gone through.  He’s an incredible story and unquestionably moves the needle more than any player ever, but stay away this week and thank me later.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK

Kevin Chappell
Kevin Chappell
– A bit of a feast or famine record here at Bay Hill, with a runner-up finish two years ago to Jason Day, a t-14th two years prior, along with a t-24th two years before that, coupled with a pair of missed cuts and a t-49th in between.  Whether you’re just riding the every-other-year showcase or the fact that the 31-year-old enters in solid form, with two top 10s and no missed cuts so far this season, either pave the way towards a sneaky solid finish this week with huge upside.  Kevin Chappell is your Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week!

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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