Last week my preview was as minimal as possible. I was in Cabo honeymooning but I’m back now and feeling refreshed after a great week in Mexico. Oh yeah, Jordan Spieth won the Valspar, that made it an even better week.
This week course is Bay Hill Club and Lodge for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It’s a par 72 that plays over 7,400 yards, a bit lengthy. The fairways are easy to hit, while the bermudagrass greens are average in both size and speed. More tournament details can be found in the Fantasy Golfanac.
One thing that jumps out to me this week is the location. Bay Hill is in Orlando, Florida. Seven of the last eight winners have lived within three hours of the venue. Martin Laird is the lone outsider from Arizona. That’s a little distorted by Tiger winning four times and the large PGA TOUR population that lives in Orlando and it’s surrounding communities. Interesting to note, nonetheless.
Golfers that live within three hours of Bay Hill include: Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, G-Mac, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Brian Davis, Freddie Jacobson, Ian Poulter, Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, Russell Knox, Matt Every, Vijay Singh, Charles Howell III, GFC, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger, David Lingmerth, Camilo Villegas, George McNeill, and I’m sure I’m missing some others. The importance of local knowledge has been key over the past decade, so try to focus in on this group this week.
Players to Watch
Bubba Watson… Watson famously withdrew after the first round last year due to “allergies.” Very similar to Rory’s wisdom tooth incident a few years ago. The excuses are quite funny sometimes. Bubba lost 11 strokes to the field in that round of 81, but his other rounds here have been just fine. He’s not my favorite play this week but he should remain in contention most of the week. UPDATE: Bubba was withdrawn from the field this week due to personal reasons.
Kevin Na… My One-and-Done pick this week thanks to his B2B top 10s entering the week combined with him gaining the most strokes on the field at Bay Hill since 2008, despite playing just four of the five years. He’s gained 34.032 strokes:total in that time, with 14-of-16 rounds being above field average.
Rory McIlroy… This “slump” is not really much of a slump. Look for him to get back on top of the leaderboard this week. Maybe not the very top since he’s making his API debut, but a top 15 is a good bet.
Henrik Stenson… Enters this week with the deadly combination of course history and great form. He will be highly owned in all formats, and for good reason. His local knowledge adds fuel to the fire. Don’t be shy with the Swede this week.
Sean O’Hair… His form was trending great before last week and now it’s exploded after losing in a playoff. His course history is solid this week but it’s been hit or miss for him here. He looks good on paper but don’t be surprised if he duds in one or two rounds. Just hope they come after the cut.
Adam Scott… He’s getting a lot of flack for his lack of putting after switching to short stick. The fact remains that putting was never one of his strong suits. There aren’t many weeks where you get to pick Scott when he’s under the radar. This is one of those weeks.
Lucas Glover… Trending well ahead of this week and he’s posted three top 20s here in five tries. Could be this week’s Sean O’Hair.
Vijay Singh… I refuse to believe he’s win again now that he’s 50+ years old but he’s playing great again. Glover, O’Hair, and Vijay? WHAT YEAR IS IT!?
Brian Davis… Has gained 23+ strokes on the field over his last 18 Bay Hill rounds. You won’t find another course that fits him better than that. It helps that he lives nearby. He comes in off a top 10 finish, throw him back in the mix this week!
Chris Stroud… One of my favorite guys to back in anticipation of his first TOUR win. He’s finished top 35 each of the past three years here at Bay Hill. It’s also worth noting that he and Freddie Jacobson are closely linked again in their course history here which means scrambling is important this week.
Top 25 for the 2015 WGC Cadillac Championship
1. Henrik Stenson
2. Kevin Na
3. Rory Mcilroy
4. Adam Scott
Bubba Watson W/D
6. Keegan Bradley
7. Jason Day
8. Hideki Matsuyama
9. Rickie Fowler
10. Ian Poulter
11. Graeme Mcdowell
12. Francesco Molinari
13. Zach Johnson
14. Brooks Koepka
15. Brandt Snedeker
16. Hunter Mahan
17. Chris Kirk
18. J.B. Holmes
19. Charles Howell III
20. Sean O’Hair
21. Harris English
22. Gary Woodland
23. John Senden
24. Freddie Jacobson
25. Graham DeLaet