4 Fun Facts About the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hillby Dave Nastalski
1. The tournament technically started out as the Florida Citrus Open held at Rio Pinar Country Club (starting in 1966). It wasn’t long before Arnold Palmer, who’d taken up residence in Bay Hill nearby, expressed an interest in moving the Florida Citrus Open to his own club across town. For Palmer, Bay Hill was love at first sight. “It was near perfect, a golfer’s paradise,” Arnold remarked. The official transition was made in 1979. The tournament would soon become known as the Bay Hill Invitational, then finally and fittingly, the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2007.
2. The very first winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 1979 was Bob Byman, who just so happened to be one of Arnie’s fellow Wake Forest University alumni. This would mark Bob’s sole PGA Tour win.
3. The record lowest final round belongs to Gary Koch with a 63 in his 1984 victory. Koch is the only player to have won the tournament at both Rio Pinar and Bay Hill.
4. We know there are gonna be a heckuvalotta eyes on Tiger this week, so here goes… Leading up to the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational, El Tigre has already clawed his way to EIGHT wins here. In fact, he started off with a winning streak that was unheard of on Tour since 1930 with not one, not two, not even three, but four in a row at Bay Hill. By rules of numbers, his 80th win here in 2018 sounds pretty fitting, doesn’t it?
*BONUS fun fact: Phil Mickelson’s win drought lasted 1,687 days. Sunday at Bay Hill marks 1,687 days since Tiger Woods’ last victory… Not that anyone’s counting or anything…
Live coverage of the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational begins Thursday, March 15th at 7:30 AM ET on PGA Tour Live. Radio listeners can tune in to PGA Tour Radio at noon ET. And Golf Channel will begin streaming at 2:00 PM ET.