It’s going to be an emotional week with the parting of Arnold late last year and I would like to say here that if it wasn’t for him I may not of taken up the game of golf. Arnold was my dad’s hero and the reason he took up the game which lead to me running along side him at the age of seven with a cut down club. So thank you Mr Palmer for that swashbuckling style that made my dad pick up a golf club, I hope this week will be a fitting tribute for what you gave to the game.
In 1954 Dr Phillips sold his holdings to Granada Groves, a subsidiary of the Minute Maid Corporation, and retained only the raw land. Tom Barnes, a native of Minnesota, who had always wanted to build a championship golf course, took an option out on the land with his partner, Tom Dore, a Michigan businessman who surveyed the land and saw an immediate vision of what this land could become.
They broke ground on the golf course in 1960 and christened the area “Bay Hill” The original golf course architect was Dick Wilson, Bay Hill was the first golf course planted with Tifway (Tifton 419) Bermuda grass. Wildlife still inhabited the land including a family of bobcats that resided around the 17th green. In 1965,
Walt Disney announced the purchase of over 27,000 acres of land nearby, where the Walt Disney World Resort would soon emerge.
The same year, Arnold Palmer played in and won a charity exhibition tournament at Bay Hill, Arnold fell in love with the course and the area, so much so he wanted to own it.
In the summer of 2009 Arnold decided to redesign the course with his design company. He redesigned all 18 greens, reworked of all the bunkering and made major changes to four holes. The yardage went up from 7,103 to 7,196.
For another trusted Bay Hill course review click here
My tips to win:
Having to pull out of the WGC Mexico Championship Henrik Stenson 9/1 – with Bet365 – will be looking to get his preparations for The Masters back on track this week and playing in Florida a state that he has made home, I can see the Swede dominating the event this week. Henrik’s opening round of 64 at last weeks Valspar Championship showed that he is not far from putting it all together and playing a course where he has not been outside the Top 5 in the last three years shows he loves the Bay Hill track.
Another player that will be in confident mood this week will be Rickie Fowler 18/1 – with BetVictor – who has a win and a Top 5 from his first four starts this year. Watching Rickie win at the Honda Classic a couple of weeks ago he certainly seems to have that winning mentality about him now. Fowler has only challenged here once when he had a Top 3 finish in 2013 when opening and closing rounds of 73 that let him down, but I think with his new metal toughness Richie will be in the thick of it again come Sunday.
Justin Rose 20/1 – with SportingBet – is another player that seems to enjoy teeing it up at Bay Hill with four Top 10s one of which was a runner up finish back in 2013 when he opened with a round of 65. Justin has had a bit of a rollercoaster start to 2017 with two Top 5 from four starts – the other two finishes have been just inside the Top 40. Going by the pattern this week should be a good week for the Englishman.
My each-way tips
I must admit I am waiting for Paul Casey 40/1 – with BoyleSport – to step up and take a tournament by the scruff of its neck, the Englishman certainly has the skills to do it, but as I have stated before it's the mental side of the game that he has problems with. Casey has struggled at Bay Hill but he did make the Top 10 last year and with a couple of Top 20s in the last couple of weeks and if he keeps that progression going I feel he could be challenging this week.
Francesco Molinari 50/1 – with Bwin – seems to have taken to the fairways of Bay Hill and has two Top 10s from four starts here – with one of the other finishes being a seventeenth place. Francesco has had a solid start to 2017 and has only been outside the Top 20 once in five starts, but he is still waiting to challenge in an event this year, but when he gets the flat stick rolling he is normally right in the thick of it Sunday afternoon.
My outside tips:
There are some great outside bets this week first up is Keegan Bradley 100/1 – with Bet365 – who has two Top 5 finishes here from five starts. As I said about SSP last week in the Hero Indian Open, write off someone who has won on a course twice at your peril and Matt Every 300/1 – with BetVictor – has done exactly that and has to be worth a 50p each-way at these odds. So too is Rod Pampling 500/1 – with SportingBet – who’s form is terrible coming into this week but has also won here and already has a win on this years wraparound season.
As always good luck