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19th Hole

Goat caddies (yes, goat caddies) are coming to Silvies Valley Ranch



Move over Steve Williams, the real G.O.A.T. caddie is here. More specifically: the caddying goats are here. That’s right, folks, In 2018, The Retreat & Links at Silvies Valley Ranch will offer guests goats at the resort’s 7-hole challenge course, McVeigh’s Gauntlet, this summer. Take that, Bandon Dunes!

This is

  • Not an Onion story
  • Fantastic

The professionally trained American Range Goats were born and bred at Silvies Valley Ranch. Seamus Golf has been tapped to design the custom got pack that will carry drinks, balls, tees, and a few clubs (players won’t need anything close to a full set on the Gauntlet).

“We’re taking the golf experience at Silvies Valley Ranch to a new level in 2018,” says Dr. Scott Campbell, veterinarian and owner of The Retreat & Links at Silvies Valley Ranch. “We’ve been developing an unprecedented caddie training program with our head caddie, Bruce LeGoat, to ensure that he and his team are ready for the opening of The Gauntlet this summer.”

“We’re truly redefining both goat and golf operations at the ranch. Can you think of another course where its caddies were literally born, raised and fully educated on-property? We will get you a caddie who really knows the course and won’t give you any bad advice – and they work for peanuts!”

Bruce LeGoat! Peanuts! This sounds like the greatest innovation in caddying since the rangefinder. If you’re not excited for the debut of the Gauntlet Goats, well, check your chest for a beating heart.

Of course this good boy/girl is training hard through the winter for the important job ahead!

The 7-hole short course was conceived so golfers and play a quick, care-free round, settle bets, and marvel at the scenery across a series of short par 3s and par 4s (with goats). The Retreat & Links at Silvies Valley Ranch opened for a preview in the summer of 2017. It features a 34-room, Western-inspired, eco-resort, the expected range of top-notch dining and spa facilities, as well as two reversible Dan Hixson-designed 18-hole courses. In addition to the 7-hole McVeigh’s Gauntlet, the property includes Chief Egan, a mountain meadow 9-hole par-3 course.

April marks the official opening season for The Retreat & Links at Silvies Valley Ranch (although is doesn’t sound like the goats will be in action until later in the year). We’ll look forward to reports of four-hooved caddies’ first loops.

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19th Hole

Vincenzi’s 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational betting preview: Big names ready to pounce at Bay Hill



The PGA Tour continues its Florida Swing at Bay Hill Club & Lodge to play the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational this week. The event has been a mainstay on Tour, appearing on the schedule every year since 1979. However, this year the tournament will be the fourth of eight “signature events” this season, which offer a $20 million prize pool.

Bay Hill Club & Lodge is a par-72 measuring 7,454 yards featuring Bermudagrass greens. Bay Hill can play extremely difficult if the wind picks up, but the course certainly has teeth whether there is wind or not.

The event being “signature” just about guarantees that all of the top players on TOUR will be in attendance this week. Of the 55 players eligible entering last week, only Tony Finau will not be in the field. 

Past Winners at Bay Hill

  • 2023: Kurt Kitayama (-9)
  • 2022: Scottie Scheffler (-5)
  • 2021: Bryson DeChambeau (-11)
  • 2020: Tyrrell Hatton (-4)
  • 2019: Francesco Molinari (-12)
  • 2018: Rory McIlroy (-18)
  • 2017: Marc Leishman (-11)
  • 2016: Jason Day (-17)

In this article and going forward, I’ll be using the Rabbit Hole by Betsperts Golf data engine to develop my custom model. If you want to build your own model or check out all of the detailed stats, you can sign up using promo code: MATTVIN for 25% off any subscription package (yearly is best value). 

5 Key Stats For Bay Hill

Let’s take a look at five metrics key for Bay Hill to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.

1. Strokes Gained: Approach

Approach is often the most important statistic, and this week will be no different. This is a difficult golf course, and players will be penalized for missing greens in regulation.

Total SG: Approach Over Past 24 Rounds (per round)

  1. Matthieu Pavon (+1.61)
  2. Scottie Scheffler (+1.31)
  3. Tom Hoge (+1.18)
  4. Adam Scott (+0.93)
  5. Tom Kim (+0.78)

2. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee

To compete at Bay Hill, golfers will need an excellent performance off the tee. Distance is important due to the length of the course and its layout, but accuracy is just as important.

We have seen recent events in which golfers can get away with bad tee shots, but Bay Hill isn’t one of those courses. The rough is extremely thick and penal, so saving par after a poor tee shot isn’t likely.

SG: OTT Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Rory McIlroy (+1.12) 
  2. Scottie Scheffler (+0.69)
  3. Sam Burns (+0.69)
  4. Xander Schauffele (+0.67)
  5. Min Woo Lee (+0.66)

3. Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermuda and Fast)

A major reason Bay Hill plays as one of the most difficult courses on TOUR is the incredibly fast greens. The Bermuda putting surfaces will be some of the fastest players see all season long.

SG: Putting (Bermuda and Fast) over past 24 rounds:

  1. Mackenzie Hughes (+1.08)
  2. Xander Schauffele (+0.93) 
  3. Harris English (+0.82) 
  4. Eric Cole (+0.77)
  5. Adam Svensson (+0.69)

4. Strokes Gained: Ball Striking

While ball-striking is in part off the tee and approach, I want the total tee-to-green package built into the model this week as it will take a well-rounded effort from tee to green to get it done at Bay Hill.

SG: BS Over Past 24 Rounds

  1. Matthieu Pavon (+2.01)
  2. Scottie Scheffler (+2.00)
  3. Xander Schauffele (+1.38)
  4. Adam Scott (+1.28)
  5. Corey Conners (+1.21)

5. Strokes Gained: Florida

With certain players favoring different regions of the country, I’m once again going to incorporate Strokes Gained: Total in the state of Florida.

SG: Florida Over Past 36 Rounds

  1. Scottie Scheffler (+2.10)
  2. Viktor Hovland (+1.87)
  3. Rory McIlroy (+1.82) 
  4. Justin Thomas (+1.68)
  5. Matt Fitzpatrick (+1.62)

Arnold Palmer Invitational Model Rankings

Below, I’ve compiled overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories discussed above — SG: Approach (25%), SG: Off the Tee (25%), SG: Putting Bermudagrass/Lightning (18%), SG: Ball Striking (20%) and SG: Florida (12%).

  1. Xander Schauffele 
  2. Scottie Scheffler
  3. Adam Svensson 
  4. Sam Burns 
  5. Kurt Kitayama
  6. Corey Conners
  7. Justin Thomas
  8. Cameron Young
  9. Wyndham Clark
  10. Tom Kim

2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational Picks

Rory McIlroy +900 (DraftKings)

Rory McIlroy is coming off a T22 finish at the Cognizant Classic where he led the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (+6.44) and also gained 1.6 strokes on approach. Rory has played sparingly so far this season, so the solid finish last week in Florida was a good way for the Northern Irishman to gain some momentum heading into the signature event at Bay Hill.

Rory has been absolutely spectacular at Bay Hill throughout his career. In his last seven trips to the course, the four-time major champion is yet to finish worse than 13th. He won the event in 2018 and has finished 4th in 2017, 5th in 2020, and runner-up last season.

In his past 24 rounds, Rory ranks 1st in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (by a significant margin), 3rd in Strokes Gained: Total in Florida and 6th in Strokes Gained: Putting on firm and fast Bermudgrass greens.

Thus far in 2024, the big names haven’t been winning on the PGA Tour. I believe that changes with a Rory McIlroy victory at one of the world’s most iconic courses.

Tommy Fleetwood +2800 (FanDuel)

Tommy Fleetwood has played great golf in the state of Florida throughout his career. The Englishman has eight career top-10 finishes in the Sunshine State, including three of them at Bay Hill (2017, 2019 and 2021). 

Although Tommy hasn’t been known as a “winner” in the United States throughout his career, it seems as if the 33-year-old turned a last season. He had ten top-ten’s worldwide including some encouraging results in big events such as T5’s at the Wells Fargo Championship and the U.S. Open. He’s also started 2024 similarly to how he played in 2023, winning the Dubai Invitational back in January. In his most recent start, Fleetwood finished 10th at the Genesis Invitational. 

Tommy may have never won on American soil, but he’s taken his game to another level. He’s now one of the best players on the PGA Tour and a tough scoring, windy event in Florida would be a perfect scenario for Fleetwood to finally get that first victory in the United States. 

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19th Hole

Joaquin Niemann names 3 PGA Tour events he’d love to play each year ‘in a perfect world’



While speaking with GolfWRX, Joaquin Niemann said he’s happy with his current schedule, but there are a few events that he misses on the PGA Tour.

Vincenzi: “In a hypothetical where the whole golf world was together, what would your ideal schedule be? How many events would you play and what would they be”.

Niemann: “There’s a lot of talk about people on the PGA Tour that they don’t want any players from LIV to go over and play on the PGA Tour. For me, I’m really happy where I am right now. I mean, there’s a lot of tournaments that I miss on the PGA Tour for sure, but yeah, right now playing 14 events on LIV for my team and the four majors, right?

But, in my perfect world, it would be playing those 14 events on LIV, four majors, and probably three of four tournaments that were my favorites. Riviera, The PLAYERS and Honda (now the Cognizant Classic) was one of my favorites too).

There’s a lot of tournaments that I miss for sure but that’s in a perfect world.”

That seems like a long shot for now, but if the world of golf unifies down the road, it would be fantastic to see Niemann playing on some of the PGA Tour’s classic golf courses again.

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19th Hole

Joaquin Niemann reveals the second major championship to give him an invite for 2024



Joaquin Niemann is one of the hottest golfers on the planet. After winning the Australian Open this fall, the Chilean has gone on to win two of the first three LIV events including LIV Mayakoba and LIV Jeddah.

His excellent play has resulted in a well-deserved Masters invite, although ANGC didn’t mention LIV in their statement announcing his invitation.

“The Masters Tournament has a long-standing tradition of inviting leading international players who are not otherwise qualified. Today’s announcement represents the Tournament’s continued commitment towards developing interest in the game of golf across the world. We look forward to welcoming each player to Augusta National this spring.”

While speaking to GolfWRX, Niemann revealed that the Masters wasn’t the only major he’s received an invitation to.

Vincenzi: “So, you’re now in the Masters. You’re in the Open via your win at the Australian Open. PGA Championship, you’ll probably be in?”

Niemann: “Yeah, I got an invite for the PGA Championship as well. So I’m in that one.”

Niemann also added that he intends to qualify for the U.S. Open.

“I’m going to try and qualify for the U.S. Open. Hopefully I have a good finish at the Masters and I won’t need to.”

The top 60-point leaders and ties as of May 22, 2023, in the Official World Golf Ranking will receive an invite. Joaco currently sits at 72nd in the OWGR. Therefore, a strong finish at the Masters could certainly get him in.

If Niemann is successful in qualifying for the U.S. Open, the 25-year-old will be in all four majors in 2024.

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