With all the focus on the bookies at Cheltenham this week, who could forget Bay Hill and the Doc’s cute eye for a gamble.
Anyone who was worried that the popularity of the Arnold Palmer Invitational would wane following the passing of The King need not have and this 40th Anniversary field welcomes back Tiger Woods for the first time since 2013. Arnold was there on the 18th green that day when Woods won for the eighth time and it will be intriguing to see how the fit again legend will fare.
Well no surprise with his Bay Hill record that Tiger is 13/2 with the bookies, but you have to take into account he’s coming off a demanding week at The Valspar and there’s still a fragility there given the physical demands of these two weeks on a player still in the early stages of his comeback. For me the real value in this category is Jason Day at 12/1. He won here in 2016 and looks back to his booming best this season with a win at The Farmers and T2 at Pebble. One caveat, he may be rusty after time off.
Doc’s Top Five Each Way Bets
Justin Rose 14/1
I know I know I know, it kills me to tip a guy with odds as low as 14/1 but Justin Rose putted so well last week at The Valspar that he simply cannot be left off your Bay Hill shortlist. Rosey was T5 at Innisbrook and can look forward to the same TifEagle Bermuda grass on the greens this week. Four top 10’s from a dozen starts in this event, I think he can go one better and win this week.
Tyrrell Hatton 25/1
Backed-up early season promise in Abu Dhabi (T15) and Dubai (T3) with a strong T3 at the WGC Mexico and his stats there looked super strong across the board. T4 on his debut here last year and looks a happy man on the course right now.
Kevin Na 66/1
With Bay Hill a much tougher prospect now than years ago (-11 won last year) I’m bringing in Kevin Na at a generous 66/1. Na sits top of the stats on 0.933 for strokes gained around the green and his expertise will be needed here. Not a regular at this event but with 3 top-10’s on his last six visits and coming off a T2 last time out at Riviera he can pay out each way.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 50/1
Didn’t play in the event last year but Kiradech putted his way to a pair of T6 finishes here in 2016 and 2015. Coming in full of confidence after his win in Perth and T5 last time out at WGC Mexico. Way overpriced at 50/1 and a super each way bet.
Adam Scott 33/1
It’s really hard to believe how Adam Scott is as long as 33/1 but as excellent a ball striker as he is, he really has struggled to get the ball into the hole on the greens. A T13 at The Honda and T16 at The Valspar where he hit 50 greens in regulation indicate he’s simmering and just needs one good week with the flat-stick to contend. Solo third here in 2014.
Long Odds Glory Shots
Louis Oosthuizen 60/1 is trending upwards and looks to be timing his form just right for The Masters. He’s looking to back up a T16 at The Valspar with another solid showing this week. Conditions are forecast warm and sunny for Bay Hill; I’m sure Louis will be hoping for some wind to blow.
Emiliano Grillo 66/1 had a brain fart on Saturday in India last week (78) but a solo 6th there to go along with a T8 at The Honda and T12 at The Farmers say he’s in good form. T7 at Bay Hill last year and T17 on his debut in 2016. Definitely worth your consideration.