Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill preview, picks + predictions, plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #TheKing

Back when I was in college, the PGA Tour’s Bay Hill event was always the same week of my spring break, meaning that I looked forward to it much more than just any other week.  But, I never really got to watch much of the tourney since I was always on a golf trip somewhere during that week (tough, I know- oh to be young again!).  It seemed like it didn’t matter that I wasn’t watching, as Tiger gobbled up pretty much all of those trophies anyway (he won every year from ’00-’03, also won ’08-’09 and ’12-’13).

Bay Hill also has always signaled NCAA March Madness time, as it coincides with the big dance.  The tournament is also a final big scale tune-up for many for the Masters (are we seriously just 3 weeks away from Augusta?!).  Without a doubt, this is the best time of the year.

Another stacked field this week with defending champion Tiger Woods, last year’s runner-up Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Harris English, Gary Woodland, Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan, Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler and more teeing it up.

A salty good week of picks last week at the Valspar Championship as my two LOCKZILLAS- Luke Donald and Will MacKenzie- both finished t-4th, my SEMI-FLIER Gary Woodland finished t-8th and my BUST pick of the week Louis Oosthuizen missed the cut, as predicted.  My only miss of the week was Luke Guthrie, who was -2 and sitting pretty at t-6th through two rounds, only to balloon to an 80 on Saturday and not even get to tee it up on Sunday (MDF).  Alas, it’s golf and one bad round happens to everyone.  Rest assured, Guthrie will be back for blood again soon.

Now, let’s hop into some picks.

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Donald t-4th, MacKenzie t-4th)

Justin Rose
Justin Rose
– I’m mostly in fade mode this season on Justin Rose after his U.S. Open victory last year, but with his shoulder injury healed up (according to him), his game looked in sharp form last week at the Valspar on his way to a t-8th finish.  He was t-3rd at Bay Hill in ’11 and solo 2nd last year.  Don’t expect a win from Rosey this week, but don’t expect anything worse than a top 10 either.

Gary Woodland
Gary Woodland
– I was on Gary as my SEMI-FLIER pick last week and he produced to the tune of a t-8th finish.  Has been rock solid all year on Tour with four top 16s and with his worst stroke play finish being a t-38th at the birdie-fest Humana Challenge.  Made the cut in his last two showings here and fits the steadfast, brauny Bay Hill mold perfectly.  Expecting another top 10 from Gary this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: Woodland t-8th)

Chris Stroud
Chris Stroud
– Amazingly good at quietly lurking on leaderboards, Stroud is on the trend up with t-19th, t-12th and t-9th finishes in his past 3 starts and finished t-34th and t-15th here each of the past two years = yes, please.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last Week: Oosthuizen MC)

Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed
– Whoa, wait a minute Mr 4 Deep, you’re picking the hottest player on the PGA Tour to be a bust this week?  Yes, yes I am.  Reed missed the cut last year in his only prior appearance at Bay Hill (79-71) and is due for the most ultimate of letdowns coming off of his bold proclamation that he’s a top 5 player in the world.  Not only that, but he’s undoubtedly looking overly forward to his first Masters appearance in his college hometown of Augusta, GA just three weeks from now.  Bay Hill is a bad place to be on a letdown and not fully focused.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last Week: Guthrie MDF)

William McGirt
William McGirt
– This short curly cue has mighty solid game that consistently flies under the radar.  Finished t-6th at Riviera a few weeks back on a tough track and was t-8th here last year (also with two made cuts in both prior Bay Hill appearances).  His MC at the Valspar Championship last week was an aberration, expect him to be near the lead the first two rounds and hang on tight in contention through the weekend.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

Comments

  1. Bet that Reed does make the cut!!

    • He very likely will make the cut, but I didn’t necessarily predict a missed cut, just that he won’t be anywhere near contention (35th or worse I’m predicting) and therefore not worthy of a fantasy pick this week.

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