The 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By Mastercard
Walt Disney World® Golf, operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management, is pleased to welcome golf fans from around the world to the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, a short distance from the Walt Disney World® Resort.
First held in 1979 as the Bay Hill Citrus Classic, the event is the successor to the Florida Citrus Open Invitational, which began in 1966 and was played at the Rio Pinar Country Club, just east of Orlando. Mr. Palmer won the Florida Citrus Open in 1971 and after taking up winter residence at Bay Hill in 1974 and then acquiring full ownership of the property in 1975, expressed interest in moving the event to Bay Hill.
The event began as a full field open event and then in 1984, was elevated to the elite “Invitational” status, which enhanced the quality of the field to include only the best professional players on Tour. As an Invitational event, it is one of the treasured jewels of the annual PGA Tour schedule and it holds a special status shared by only four other PGA Tour events: the RBC Heritage, the Crowne Plaza Invitational, the Memorial Tournament and the Quicken Loans National.
In 2007, the Bay Hill Invitational presented by Mastercard was renamed the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard to honor the event’s patriarch.
In 2016, Jason Day won the event, with a 17 under par 271, beating Kevin Chappell by 1 stroke. The history of the event is filled with some interesting facts:
Lowest winning score: 20 under par, 264 in 1987, by the late Payne Stewart, who lived at Bay Hill.
Most wins: Tiger Woods with eight, including four consecutive years and twice, back-to-back (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013).
Largest margin of victory: Tiger Woods by 11 strokes in 2003, with a 19 under par, 269.
Players with two wins, two of whom were back-to-back winners: Jerry Heard (1972 and 1974), Gary Koch (1977 and 1984), Tom Kite (1982 and 1989), Loren Roberts (1994 and 1995), Ernie Els (1998 and 2010) and Matt Every (2014 and 2015).
Traditionally, Mr. Palmer, as the host of the event, would be present around the course during the week and would greet the winner just off the 18th green on Sunday. This year will, of course, sadly be the first event held since Mr. Palmer passed last September 25. The event organizers have indicated that there are plans to honor Mr. Palmer this year and have recommended watching their Facebook page for more details when announced. His presence will be missed by all who have played, watched or have in any way been a part of this special event.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard consists of a weeklong series of events, culminating in the four competition rounds of the PGA Tour event itself, beginning on Thursday, March 16 and ending with the final round on Sunday, March 19. Practice rounds for the pros begin on Tuesday, March 14 and the Pro-Am Tournament will be held on Wednesday, March 15.
The event has a strong history of charitable giving, supporting Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation, which includes the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, both in Orlando.
Earlier in the week, prior to the competition, there will be other scheduled events that include the Champions for Arnold’s Kids Pro-Am on Monday, March 13 and Arnie’s March Against Children’s Cancer, on Tuesday, March 14, which will raise funds to support pediatric cancer clinical trials at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
If you plan to visit the event as a spectator, there is detailed information, including maps and frequently asked questions on the official event web site. There is also a list of policies and security related topics, which includes a list of prohibited items.
We look forward to this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and welcome all who will attend or watch!