The Florida Swing kicks into high gear this week as a world-class field steps foot onto Bay Hill Club & Lodge for the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational. In fact, not since the 2022 Open at St. Andrews has such a collection of names competed together as 44 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings will participate in the first designated event on the East Coast.
World No. 1 Jon Rahm headlines the action. seeking his fourth victory of 2023. Raising the trophy in five of his last nine worldwide starts, the Spaniard will attempt to keep up with his winning ways in only his second career start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele are among the game's elite to make a rare showing at Bay Hill. With only two appearances between them, this trio of Americans will try to mirror the success of their Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teammate, Scottie Scheffler.
Scheffler, the defending Arnold Palmer Invitational champion, tracked down Viktor Hovland and Billy Horschel over the final few holes to claim his second career title last year. With his win, Scheffler joined other big names such as Bryson DeChambeau, Tyrrell Hatton, Francesco Molinari, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tiger Woods (8x) to don the iconic red cardigan.
Event: 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational | Dates: Mar. 2-5
Location: Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge -- Orlando, FL
Par: 72 | Yardage: 7,466 | Purse: $20,000,000
2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational field, odds
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
- Jon Rahm (6-1)
- Rory McIlroy (17/2): If there is a horse for the course it is the world No. 3. In eight appearances, McIlroy has six top-15 finishes, a victory in 2018 and has finished no worse than T27. He arrives off a middling West Coast Swing that failed to produce a top-20 result and saw him relinquish the world No. 1 ranking. Given the runs made by Rahm and Scheffler, it is easy to forget how consistently good McIlroy has been with four victories in his last 15 worldwide starts.
- Scottie Scheffler (9-1)
- Max Homa (16-1)
- Viktor Hovland (18-1): A final-round 74 was Hovland's undoing a season ago as he appeared prime to enter the winner's circle at Arnie's place. His short-game shortcomings came through at the worst of times as his bunker play allowed Scheffler to zip past him down the stretch. There was a moment towards the end of 2022 where Hovland looked to have figured out these inconsistencies, but his performance on the West Coast suggests otherwise.
- Will Zalatoris (18-1)
- Collin Morikawa (20-1): Morikawa's last win in the United States came in Florida roughly two years ago. He is on the cusp of breaking this drought with his iron play trending to new heights. The two-time major champion nabbed a top-10 result here in 2020 in his first appearance as a professional, but forecasted winds may throw his chances for a loop.
- Justin Thomas (20-1)
- Tony Finau (22-1): He has notched seven straight top-20 finishes and will try to carry this early season momentum into preparations for the 2023 Masters. Unfortunately for the 33-year-old, he only has two career top-20 finishes in Florida as he tends to struggle with these grass types. But Finau arrives this year with a new-found confidence, so it wouldn't come as a surprise if he successfully navigates this portion of schedule.
- Xander Schauffele (22-1)
- Patrick Cantlay (22-1): The 30-year-old will be making his tournament debut. The state of Florida has not been a fixture on Cantlay's playing schedule; this marks his first non-Players Championship start in the Sunshine State since the 2017 Valspar Championship. He arrives off a podium finish at the Genesis Invitational where he ranked first in strokes gained tee to green.
2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational expert picks
|Winner (18-1): The Wake Forest product rode a sizzling final-round 64 at Riviera to his first top-five finish since returning from a back injury. Players will face a hefty dose of approach shots from over 150 yards, which is good news for an iron player of Zalatoris' quality. Over the last 12 months, he ranks fourth in strokes gained in approach shots from 150-200 yards and sixth from 200+ yards. He has also quietly figured out the flat stick as he comes in 25th in this field in strokes gained putting since the beginning of the new year.
|Contender (28-1): There have certainly been hints of a sophomore slump for the reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, but he looks to have found something at Riviera. Capturing a T20 result, Young's elite off-the-tee presence and sturdy iron play was on full display. His short game has regressed, mainly the putter, but let's not forget about the pair of podium finishes he possesses in his last six worldwide starts. He finished T13 in his Arnold Palmer Invitational debut a season ago and should build from it.
|Sleeper (70-1): Fowler checks in behind only Schauffele, Tom Hoge and Rahm in strokes gained approach since the start of 2023. During this span, he has contended at the Farmers Insurance Open and the WM Phoenix Open. He now shifts his focus to Bay Hill where he is 10-for-11 making it through to the weekend. His chances to win will come down to the putter, which has been hit-or-miss of late.
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