With just over a week to go until the 2019 Players Championship, the best golfers in the world will be in full preparation mode, many of them decsending on this weekend's Arnold Palmer Invitational in Bay Hill, Florida.
We take a look at the upcoming event and give our betting tips here.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational, formely known as the Bay Hill Open and the Bay Hill Invitational is one of the longest running single course tourmanets on the PGA Tour. The Bay Hill Club & Lounge, owned by the Arnold Palmer estate, will host the event for the 41st consecutive year this season and offer it's highest ever purse, $9,100,000 in total.
The course plays as a fairly long, 7,419 yard, par 72 and has been renowned for many years as one of the ebst golf courses in all of Florida. Driving stats will be one to look out for this weekend. The Bay Hill course demands length off the tee and the tough green locations become almost impossible to hit if you are wayward off the tee or don't have that extra length in the bag.
Rory McIlroy claimed the title last year, finishing first in driving distance across the weekend but was also red hot with the putter, finishing first in total shots gained on the green. The Bay Hill course is certainly one that will give players a complete test, but to narrow it down, we'll be looking for strong players off the tee this weekend.
After the Honda Classic served up a fairly light field in terms of star power last weekend, the big boys are back on the course at Bay Hill vying the tidy $9,100,000 purse. Last year's wiunner, Rory McIlroy, will start as favourite for the title and will be joined in the field by previous winners Marc Leishman Jason Day, Matt Every and Martin Laird. Eight time winner and back to back winner in 2012-13, Tiger Woods, will unfortunately miss the tournament through a neck injury.
Even without Woods, the field is still jam packed with talent. Headlining the rest of the starters is World No.2 Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau, Hideki Matsuyama, Francesco Molinari, Phil Mickelson and Tommy Fleetwood.
Both Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka are hard to look past here given their sheer length and dominance off the tee, however, it's Justin Rose we'll be looking at for our best bet this week. Rose combines good distance and accuracy off the tee with arguably the best mid-long iron play in all of golf at the moment. The Englishman ranks 23rd in total driving, 48th in shots gained off the tee but most importantly, 5th overall in shots gained from tee to green.
Rose has been splitting his time between the US PGA Tour and the European Tour, but has already racked up some impressive performances in the States. He has played just two PGA Tour events in 2019, finishing T34 at the Desert Classic in January and following it up a week later by winning the Farmers Insurance Open with a socre of -21. Arguably should be the favourite for any golf tournament he enters which doesnt include Dustin Johnson so we are happy to take the $11 on offer for him here.
Our value bet this weekend comes in the form of Keegan Bradley. The American is fairly high ranked in all the key stats we are looking for this weekend, sitting in 57th in shots gained from tee to green, 28th in shots gained off the tee and 14th in total driving. Bradley has played in eight PGA Tour events this season and is yet to miss a single cut. He was starved of high placings until a fantastic perfmrance at the WGC Mexico a few weeks back saw him finish T10.
He has decent pedigree at Bay Hill, having competed in the Arnold Palmer Invitational on seven seperate occassions and having only missed the cut once, all the way back in 2011, the first time he competed. He boasts a T3 finish in 2013 and a 2nd place finish in 2014.
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