Table of Contents

    By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast


    As we inch closer to the major championship season, the Florida swing takes a drive up north on 95 to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Bay Hill and Arnie go hand in hand, as The King’s footprints, vibe, and energy still resonate through the challenging Florida layout. His umbrella and bag sit at the end of the range as we honor everything Arnie gave us, from his endless wins to creating the golf channel and even a badass drink that will live on forever.

    To kick off the Florida swing at PGA National, we paid tribute to Arnie’s winning ways with another W of our own. It might sound like old news by now, but again we filled your bankroll and hit Chris Kirk at 24/1 odds as he clutched up in the playoff for his first win in eight years. Our clairvoyance continues on into March and there’s nobody stopping us now.


    Week two of the PGA Tour’s Florida should present yet another challenge, mainly referring to another hazard-filled track with Florida heat and humidity fully in play. We FINALLY got some adversity and the course came closer to winning the week, but these guys are good so -14 got it done. This week, Bay Hill checks in at about 7400 yards of flat Central Florida land, and the field is an Invitational meaning it’s slightly trimmed in size to 120 players. 

    The pro golf world is basically located all within driving distance of the Orlando area and Bay Hill, and now that this is a “designated” aka big money event…what do we have here? Are all of the greatest stars of the PGA Tour suddenly playing a tournament they normally skip every year? I can’t begin to imagine why. The Rahm-Rory-Scheffler trio is back in the field here (Scheffler defends his title), plus new additions like Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, and Jordan Spieth. While this is exciting for drama and viewing purposes, I’m not sure I’m rushing to the betting window to bet on any of these guys who wouldn’t be playing the API under any other circumstances. 

    AP Photo/John Raoux


    Bay Hill’s main defenses are icky weather (which is NOT in the forecast), but it will be hot and humid so maybe the vets can’t hang. The course’s other defense is its bountiful presence of water hazards. It’s a classic Florida test where hazards need to be known and identified at every turn. The finishing 18th hole and the track overall have me looking towards a steely-eyed competitor to thrive here, and one with a good short game and recovery game to trump the adversity Bay Hill presents. 

    1. Who’s hot and trending – recent high finishes, top-10 streaks, and consistent play are never a bad thing.

    2. Horses for courses – players love certain courses and course familiarity and experience are invaluable in a field of the world’s best.

    3. What the numbers tell you this week – while I’m far from analytical, there’s always a tournament darling or two scattered across the golf talk stratosphere that stuns on paper.

    4. Intangibles – while this allows for theater of the mind, there’s a mysterious optimism surrounding that feels “due” or if the price looks just right for buying.

    At The Honda Classic, WE DID IT AGAIN. We had Chris Kirk tailed from the word go and his history at PGA National could not be denied. The other picks were all playing the weekend with two in the top 20. A week where we all made money in multiple ways – I’ll give it a straight A for picks.


    (Wanna start a Pick-X pool with your friends? Learn more here! Or, if you’re looking to start your own PGA One-and-Done pool, check those out here) (Hint: the main difference between the two is how many players you’ll pick each week)

    1: Scottie Scheffler – In the weekly game of Rory/Rahm or Scheffler, we’re sticking with the defending champ. He persevered here in 2022 under windy conditions, and with a tamer forecast and improved short game recently he’s again the perfect fit.

    2: Will Zalatoris – I’ve been shouting from the rooftops, but Willy Z is on the mend, he’s due for a big week, so why not here? The toughened tracks seem to fit his game better long term.

    3: Matthew Fitzpatrick – The 2022 US Open champ lives in the area, knows the track well, and finished 9th here last year. As he slowly builds his 2023 campaign this is a good spot for him.

    4: Corey Conners – Another guy who tends to show up on trickier tracks that require precision. If his short game is up for the challenge he’ll top 10 here just like last year.

    5: Billy Horschel – Sort of an auspicious start to his 2023 campaign, so let’s grab him now at a low number – he tends to find his peak in the springtime events.

    6: Sepp Straka – Two weeks in a row, back to the well here. Straka delivered an impressive 5th in his title defense, and recent Florida momentum should carry over.

    RYP One and Done Pick: Scottie Scheffler


    Where to watch: Golf Channel and NBC all week. I’m just hoping my buddy Matt Every gets his annual shoutout for taking this event down TWICE.

    Why to watch: Bay Hill is a classic PGA Tour stop that has presented some incredible finishes. Add in that it’s the home of The King and a great weekend is in store.

    What to eat: As I make my way down to the Sunshine State, I’ve got cheeseburgers in paradise on my mind. Fire up the grill!

    Purse: $20 million

    Winner’s Share: $3.6 million


    RunYourPool College Basketball Rankings


    Punching Tickets: Weekend One Conference Tourney Preview

    About Author

    Alex Lauzon

    Lauzon is a podcast host, live broadcaster, analyst and betting extraordinaire for the Course of Life brand. After earning a degree in broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University, he worked in ESPN and ESPN radio newsrooms. He has interviewed athletes and celebrities from all walks of life who often love to play golf. When he's not playing golf or talking about the game on Course of Life, Lauzon enjoys time with his wife and dog, checking off the next island vacation destination or counting down the days to the next Dell Match Play in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

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