While it has been a while since we’ve seen him stroll down the fairways, Arnie’s Army is still going strong. There is always so much excitement heading into the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and it’s because this is the place that Arnie built. This is his course, his tournament, and we are excited, because excitement is exactly what Arnold Palmer has always brought to the game of golf.
Adding to the anticipation are some intriguing storylines for the week. Adam Scott is seeking to become the first player since Rory McIlroy in 2014 to win three consecutive starts. Last year’s defending champion, Matt Every, seeks to become the first player since 2011 to win the same event in three consecutive years.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the players I expect to see make a run in this year’s version of Arnie’s event.
Adam Scott - Hottest player on the planet right now. Seeking third win in as many events. And don’t forget that he finished one shot out of a playoff at Riviera in the week leading up to his first win.
Rory McIlroy - Posting some good numbers, but has been in the habit of finding a stretch of holes in each tournament that take him out of contention. I don’t think it will be long before we see the Rory we have been accustomed to.
Justin Rose - A player with tremendous poise who seems to play well in big events. While this is in no way a major, it is still an event that everyone wants on their resume.
Henrik Stenson - Runner-up last year, he keeps a residence in the area. While his recent postings have not been turning many heads, he is still playing very solid golf, and is always a threat to climb any leaderboard.
Jason Day - Has had a couple weeks off to sort out his thoughts and get his game back in order. The phone call he placed toTiger Woods to seek his advice for steps moving forward seems to reveal that he is trying to sort out exactly how to get back to the place his game was in last summer where he reached the number one ranking in the world. A terrific competitor, and well-respected man, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him enjoy a big week at Bay Hill.
Charles Howell III - Enjoyed a great week at the Valspar. As always, I don’t expect him to win, but look for him to have another great week.
Zach Johnson - Coming off a week of rest which he may have needed after a missed cut and a T47 finish in his last two events. He is not far removed from some very solid play in January and February. Finished T9 at this event last year.
Kevin Kisner - Becoming a very consistent performer. In his last 9 events, dating back to October, he has only missed one cut, and finished outside the top-25 just three times.
Jason Kokrak - After making a serious run at the title a few weeks ago at Riviera, Kokrak returns to Bay Hill where he has finished T6 & 4th over the last two years.
Hideki Matsuyama - This year’s Phoenix Open champion is one of the most consistent performers on Tour, having posted rounds in the sixties 53% of the time this season. An impressive stat.
Sam Saunders - He’s playing in his grandfather’s tournament on a course he has played numerous times. I don’t think he is mentally prepared to win yet, as he hasn’t been in serious contention often in his career, but he is developing a greater level of comfort on Tour. If there is ever a place for him to break through and have a big week, I would think this would be the ideal circumstance.
Matt Jones - Finished solo 3rd last year, and T14 in 2014. This could be a very good week for the Australian, who showed at the PGA Championship last summer that he has more game than many people realize.
Here are my DraftKings lineups for the week.
I’ve been making money lately, so I’m going to stick with what’s been working. I’m going with high percentage players despite the high price-tags, and then making “reasoned hypotheses” on players I think are due for a big week. My biggest risks are at the bottom of my Team B lineup. Morgan Hoffmann’s $7,000 is fair because his play has been inconsistent of late. He’s played well enough to have a big week, and did so at this event last year, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him miss the cut either. Top-ranked amateur Maverick McNealy is also a risky pick, but I’m hoping that Lee McCoy’s memorable week at Innisbrook will inspire McNealy to put on his own show.
Adam Scott - $11,700
Justin Rose - $10,500
Jonas Blixt - $7,400
Jamie Lovemark - $7,300
Sam Saunders - $6,900
Jim Herman - $6,100
Henrik Stenson - $11,100
Kevin Kisner - $8,900
Jason Kokrak - $7,900
Matt Jones - $7,900
Morgan Hoffmann - $7,000
Maverick McNealy - $6,200
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family.
Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.