Tournament host excited about changes to Championship Course for upcoming Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard
ORLANDO, Fla. (February 16, 2016) - The excitement never wears off for Arnold Palmer this time of year, when another edition of the tournament that bears his name draws near. This year is no exception as preparations kick into high gear for the 38th Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard.
"Of course, it's something I always look forward to; it's one of the highlights of my year," said Palmer, 86, winner of seven professional major titles and nearly 100 tournament wins around the world. "I think about a lot of things when it comes to the tournament, putting on a great event, the work we do with the hospital [the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies] and with charities in general. We've had a great run for so many years, but the best is yet to come."
Scheduled for March 14-20 at Palmer's renowned Bay Hill Club & Lodge, the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard is one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR. Palmer has spent nearly half of his life making sure the tournament is one of the best run for players and fans alike. To that end, more improvements have been made to the Championship Course since Matt Every successfully defended his title in 2015.
Players will find new grasses on the Palmer-designed layout, with TifEagle bermudagrass on the greens and Celebration bermudagrass on the tees and fairways. Both strains of grass are thicker and sturdier and will ensure improved playability.
"We've redone the entire golf course with new grasses that have taken very well and, I think, will be accepted very well by the players when they get here and see what we've done," Palmer said. "Especially on the greens, we think the greens are going to be very good. We didn't have to overseed this winter. They are going to be especially good... and fast."
Chris Flynn, the director of grounds for Bay Hill Club's 27 holes, oversaw completion of the re-grassing project over the summer. An additional improvement to the course was made by adding another layer of the new G-Angle sand in the bunkers that was applied prior to the 2015 event.
"Everything is setting up well," Flynn said. "The new grasses should be a huge difference. The fact that we didn't have to overseed the greens should make for a great surface. The project was successful and over the winter so far the golf course has already shown to have held up really well."
Some Orlando-area PGA TOUR players have seen the results of the changes and approved of the upgrade.
"The greens were running really pure and in fantastic condition," said Graeme McDowell, the former U.S. Open champion, who played at Bay Hill on New Year's Eve. "The course continues to evolve beautifully with the new run-off areas we have seen the last few years, bringing a lot of character to Bay Hill. I imagine it's only going to get better in the coming weeks and be great for the tournament week."
Added D.A. Points: "I have played Bay Hill several times in the last few months, and the course is in great shape. The new greens are rolling smooth and true, with the perfect amount of firmness. The course should be a great test for this year's API."
About the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard
The Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard takes place March 14-20, 2016 at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge. In its 38th year, the tournament has become Central Florida's signature sporting event and a highlight of the PGA TOUR. The event attracts the greatest names in golf and is overseen and directed by one of the game's all-time greats, Arnold Palmer. Hertz is an associate sponsor of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard. Proceeds from the tournament benefit Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation, which supports Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. For tickets and more information, please visit arnoldpalmerinvitational.com and to learn more about Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation and its mission, please visit arniesarmy.org.