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Risk and Reward - Arnold Palmer Invitational

I get it, I really do. Downton Abbey is a fine show and an interesting artistic effort to portray England's historical class system. But $40,000 to redecorate your office in a theme that matches the show? Using taxpayer dollars, no less! Look, I love golf and fantasy golf probably as much, if not more, than Mr. Aaron Schock of the Illinois legislature, but I don't know if I could spend forty large on sprucing up my digs. Who am I kidding, of course I could. Just a handful of rare Scotty Cameron's and I'd be there. 

In less schocking news, the weather is shaping up to be sunny and mostly calm at Bay Hill this weekend. Any difficult weather should be taken as a negative for Rory McIlroy until he proves he can win in any conditions other than calm and receptive. If the weather stays perfect, he'll have half his battle won, the other half is whether he shows up with his best stuff. Even if he doesn't, the Arnold Palmer Invitational features a reduced field of 120 players but still carries a standard cut at the Top 70 and ties.

My Power Rankings draw on statistics only, while Risk and Reward draws more on gut feel and intuition about players who missed my Top 15. In this column, you'll find "Lay-Up", "Going For It", and "Hazard". Look for more subjective analysis here, as opposed to the Power Rankings, where I rely strictly on data. Lay-Up may contain players who, barring a Great Flood, will bank you some points. Going For It is where I'll have players that may have missed the Power Rankings or who I feel present an excellent opportunity to pick up a win, but carry some considerable risk. Lastly, Hazards, where I often find myself on any given Sunday, should be avoided.


Keegan Bradley - TA: 38.125, CHG: (+2) - He seems to be having a sympathetic slump with his good friend Jason Dufner. Bradley's T4 at the Northern Trust Open is his only Top 10 this season and he only has one other Top 25 in seven starts. The last two years, though, he's been exceptional at Bay Hill, logging second and third place finishes. He's long and backs it up with decent ball-striking, but his putting has suffered since moving to a traditional putter. With a smaller field and normal cut, he'll play the weekend for sure.

Adam Scott - TA: 39.5, CHG: (-17.6) - There's no way Adam Scott misses two cuts in a row. I mean, his show was just cancelled, so its not like they can cancel it again. Seriously though, Pawnee doesn't exist, and until he dropped this last one, I wasn't sure MC's did for Adam Scott anymore. Like Keegan Bradley, the putter change has caused a regression on that front, but Scott's Tee-to-Green game is why he's still the top-ranked Aussie in the world.

Rickie Fowler - TA: 44.88, CHG: (-1.2) - He's been slow to warm up since the start of 2015, but he's still yet to miss a cut this season. Fowler's weakness thus far this year seems to be his approach accuracy, hitting just a smidge over 60 percent of his greens. Still, with a pretty good opportunity to play four rounds and a T12 at the WGC-Cadillac, he should be coming out of his dip just in time for Bay Hill, where he finished third in 2013.


Shawn Stefani - TA: 46, CHG: (-2.2) - He's slid a little bit since a run of strong finishes between November and February. His lows have been better this season than previous seasons, and he's shown that he can contend occasionally. His T17 at Innisbrook is a move in the right direction and Bay Hill should suit his sharp ball-striking and above-average length off the tee. Why is he risky? He's never played here before, so your guess is as good as mine.

Brandt Snedeker - TA: 41.88, CHG: (-8.6) - He's been trending down since his win at Pebble Beach, which proves that victory hangover happen to even the top guys. His results haven't been great, with one Top 25 in three starts and the other two going 53rd and 74th. His T8 last year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational gives some confidence as does the greater chance for making the cut.

Graham DeLaet - TA: 34, CHG: (0) - It's official, my brain is fried from studying. I'm not entirely sure how he slipped my Power Rankings with a Total Aggregate of 34, but he did, and I have no one to blame but the gnomes that live under my bed. He's a mixed bag right now, with two missed cuts, two Top 10s, and two mediocre finishes in his last six starts. He finished second here last year, and given his preeminent status on tour as a proven ball striker with serious length, he should be able to replicate that success.


Angel Cabrera - TA: 74.75, CHG: (-14.2) - Cabrera is having a decent year thus far, but he could be having an incredible one and I would still suggest avoiding him this week. He hasn't made the cut at Arnie's Place in his last three tries, one of only two players in the field to have such an ignominious stat. Avoid him just as I'll suggest avoiding the other player in that pair.

D.A. Points - TA: 84.625, CHG: (+3.6) - While Angel Cabrera may have been somewhat of a surprise, D.A. Points is low hanging fruit for your list titled "girls your mother was right about not taking to prom". Points owns just one Top 25 this season and has missed his last three cuts at Bay Hill. He might be cheap in DFS games, but there are better punts.

My Picks

PGA Tour - 98th of 807 - Experts League - 5528 points
  • Henrik Stenson
  • Bubba Watson
  • J.B. Holmes
  • Kevin Na
Yahoo! - 3rd of 50 - Reddit/r/Golf League - 91st percentile, 5446th overall
  • Henrik Stenson (S)
  • Bubba Watson
  • Rickie Fowler (S)
  • Ian Poulter (S)
  • Jason Day
  • Charles Howell III
  • Kevin Na (S)
  • Shane Lowry
Golf Channel - 13th of 100 - Reddit/r/Golf League - 4471st overall
  • Henrik Stenson
  • J.B. Holmes
  • Camilo Villegas
  • Sean O'Hair

Thanks for Reading!

Kyle Donovan