The PGA Tour continues its Florida Swing at Bay Hill Club and Lodge to play this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. This event has been a mainstay on Tour, appearing on the schedule every year since 1979.
Bay Hill Club & Lodge is a par 72 measuring 7,454 yards and features Bermuda-grass greens. Interestingly, the past five editions of the Arnold Palmer Invitational have yielded an international champion. Bay Hill can play extremely difficult if the wind picks up, but the course certainly has teeth whether there is wind or not.
There are 120 golfers in the field this week at Bay Hill. This event usually attracts a very strong field but being that The PLAYERS Championship (March 10-13) is next week, some top players have chosen to sit this week out.
Even so, the field this week will feature some of the world’s best including: Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Hideki Matsuyama Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Sungjae Im, Matt Fitzpatrick, Scottie Scheffler, Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood.
2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational Outright Bets
Viktor Hovland (+1800) (DraftKings):
Viktor Hovland comes into the week with scorching hot irons, which is the most important aspect of taming Bay Hill. In his most recent start at Riviera, the 24-year-old gained 6.1 strokes on approach. The dialed-in performance trailed only Tony Finau and winner Joaquin Niemann in the category, and it led Hovland to a 4th place finish.
Last season, Hovland was also very good at Riviera. He gained 4.1 strokes on approach (5th place finish) and rode his hot form into the following week. His next start came at WGC Concession where finished in second place and gained 8.7 strokes on approach; which was a career best. Hovland now heads to Florida once again after a strong showing at Riviera and I expect another ceiling performance from him.
The OWGR number 4 ranked golfer in the world has become one of the best players in the world, and recently won the Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour (January 2022). Despite the worldwide success, Hovland still is in search of a signature win on the PGA Tour. Bay Hill would be a logical spot for that to happen.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+3000) (Bet365):
It’s no secret that Matt Fitzpatrick absolutely loves Bay Hill. Fitz has finished in the top ten in his past three starts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with his best finish (2nd) coming in 2019.
While he clearly has the course history on his side, the Englishman also rates out perfectly for Bay Hill. In the field, Fitzpatrick ranks 1st in par 5 scoring, 7th in Strokes Gained: Putting on lightning fast bermudagrass greens, and 12th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. With a game that was built for this course, it’s no surprise that he has exceled around here throughout his career.
The 27-year-old gained 4.2 strokes on approach in his most recent start at the WM Phoenix Open and 7.2 strokes from tee to green. His game is rounding into form at the proper time to finally get his first PGA Tour victory.
Paul Casey (+4000) (DraftKings):
Among Paul Casey’s three PGA Tour victories, two of them have come in the state of Florida (Valspar Championship 2018, 2019). Like Copperhead, Bay Hill is a course that is a great fit for Casey, considering the difficult conditions and the potentially higher-than-normal winning score.
Looking at the history of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of the first things that are worthy of mentioning is the amount of elite European players who have had success at Bay Hill. Prior to Bryson Dechambeau’s dominant victory last season, the past three winners were Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, and Tyrrell Hatton. Casey is a European of a similar mold who has tons of Ryder Cup experience (like the other three) and excels in difficult conditions.
In addition to the ideal course fit, the 44-year-old is playing some excellent golf. At the Genesis Invitational, Casey gained 5.6 strokes on approach and finished in 15th place. With four par 3’s on the course of 200+ yards, Casey should have an advantage as he gains an average of 2.4 strokes on the field per event on par 3’s of that length.
With two top ten finishes in his past three tries at Bay Hill, Casey has proven he has what it takes to contend at the course.
Danny Willett (+20000) (DraftKings):
Willett is a golfer that offers pure win equity. You won’t find many golfers in the field this week in their mid 30’s with nine professional wins in the triple digits on the odds board, but that’s where we find Willett this week.
Considering he has won as recently as October (Alfred Dunhill Links Championship) in a relatively strong field, it is safe to say that his game is in fine shape. He emphasized that last week at the Honda Classic, despite not finishing very high on the leader board. He was solid across the board statistically and gained 5.6 strokes from tee to green on the week. His troubles came with the putter, where he lost an abysmal 4.4 strokes. Willett has shown in the past he is capable of handling firm and fast greens in the past, as he has won The Masters at Augusta National. Although the surface is different, the speed of the greens at Bay Hill is one of the few that can rival Augusta.
Willett has some solid course history, with finishes of 18th and 31 in his past to trips to Bay Hill. If it plays difficult this week, the 34-year-old Englishman has the grinder’s mentality to contend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
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Wedge Stamping Caviar: Have More Fun Edition
Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers… In all seriousness, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour.
In this initial serving, we’re mining photos from October and November at PGA Tour stops, including the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the Cadence Bank Houston Open, and the RSM Classic.
So grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please.
The traditional K.I.S.S. stamping on a BV proto: first and last initial, demonstrated here by Andrew Landry. Bonus points for the bounce angle (8) stamp.
When your last name is something imposing/interesting, you’re definitely stamping it on your wedge as Cole Hammer has done here in a “University of Texas” colorway.
Simple, perfect stamping for Xuewen Luo.
Patrick Cantlay is still rolling with a SM7. Ultimate K.I.S.S. to stick with a previous generation wedge with stamped initials. Bent loft (47 degrees) is a classy touch.
Excellent #perspective on Kevin Roy’s 54-degree Vokey.
Anytime a custom grind wears off the loft number, it’s caviar. Lovely patina on Woodland’s Wilson, too.
Another favorite motif: Tiny initials pattern (as demonstrated by Palmer Jackson).
The Webb Simpson traditional. Maybe the longest-serving stamping on Tour.
Not a stamping on Akshay Bhatia’s Jaws Raw, but we’ll serve it up anyway for reasons immediately discernible to the seasoned palate.
WOTW: Lydia Ko’s Rolex Yacht-Master 40 in Rose Gold
Lydia Ko won twice this weekend with her victory at the CME Group Tour Championship that also earned her the 2022 Rolex Player of The Year award. The CME win was her 19th LPGA Tour victory and her third this year. While collecting all of her trophies, Ko was wearing a Rolex Yacht-Master 40 in rose gold.
Name: Rolex Yacht-Master 40
Date: 2019 – Present
Case: Everose Gold
Bezel: Black Cerachrom Ceramic
Dial: Intense Black
Movement: Rolex 3235, 31 Jewels
Power Reserve: 70 hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal Cyclops Lens
Waterproof: 100 Meters
Bracelet: Black Oysterflex Rubber Strap
Price: $28,050 (~$32,000)
The Rolex Yacht-Master was introduced in 1992, and it was the first new model in the Rolex line since the Daytona was launched in 1964. The unconfirmed story of the Yacht-Master was that it was originally intended to be an updated Submariner. Rolex couldn’t make such a large change to the most iconic watch that had ever been produced, so the Yacht-Master was born. Yacht-Masters have always embodied luxury and included a precious metal in the watch. The first Yacht-Masters in 1992 were made from solid yellow gold and a few dial options. The Yacht-Master saw a lot of success, but it really took off in 2012 when the Rolesium, platinum and steel, model with the silver dial was released. Since then the Yacht-Master has been one of the most underrated watches in the Rolex lineup.
Lydia has been wearing this Yacht-Master 40 in Everose gold for a little while now as we saw it on her wrist back in April of 2021. The case is 40mm wide and is made from Rolex’s own 18k Everose gold. Rolex created their own rose gold alloy to ensure that the precious metal could meet their strict quality and durability requirements. Rolex stopped outsourcing and created their own foundry in the early 2000s to make its own gold, rose gold, and platinum for its watches.
The caseback on Ko’s watch is matching Everose gold and screws into the case giving the watch a 100 meter water resistance rating. On the side of the case is a screw down crown that is made from Everose gold and features a Triplock seal waterproof system. On tope of the case is the Yacht-Master’s legendary chunky bidirectional bezel. The bezel itself is made from Everose gold and contains a matte black Cerachrom ceramic insert. The ceramic insert is extremely scratch resistant and won’t fade from long term exposure to saltwater and UV rays.
The raised numerals on the bezel are polished for a contrasting look that is easier to read. A sapphire crystal covers the Intense Black dial and there is a magnifying Cyclops lens covering the date at 3 o’clock. Large Everose gold hour markers surround the dial and are filled with Rolex’s Chromalight luminescent material that glows with more of a blue light. The hour, minute, and second hands are all made from polished Everose gold and filled with the same Chromalight material.
The heart and brain of the Yacht-Master 40 is Rolex’s Calibre 3235 movement that is found in a few other Rolex models. The 3235 is a self-winding movement that uses the blue Parachrom hairspring that keeps accurate time regardless of the temperature and is very shock resistant. Rolex’s designed the Parachrom hairspring in house so they can control the quality and the acceptable tolerance is 0.1 microns, or about 1/1000 of a human hair. The 3235 has up to 70 hours of power reserve and is COSC certified to ensure its accuracy in all conditions.
A black Oysterflex strap holds the watch on the wrist and is far more than just a strip of rubber. Rolex encases flexible titanium and nickel “blades” in a high-performance elastomer. This metal spine adds durability while maintaining the soft comfort you expect from a rubber strap. The underside of the Oysterflex strap has a cushioning system molded into it that can also add stability on the wrist. An Everose gold Oysterlock safety clasp brings the strap together and contains Rolex’s Glidelock extension system to fine tune the fit without the use of any tools.
The Yacht-Master 40 in Everose has become a very popular model and is now hard to find at any Rolex dealer. Many didn’t think that a rose gold watch on a rubber strap would ever be something in high demand but that theory has been proven incorrect. If you can get one of these Yacht-Masters at the $28,050 retail price, then consider yourself lucky. Most will pay around $32,000 on the secondary market to get one on their wrist.
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