Rory McIlroy might not be the favourite at the Arnold Palmer Invitational but he is very much the man to beat at Bay Hill this week, writes GolfMagic Editor Andy Roberts.
The trio of PGA Tour stars are likely going to be switching places with each other all throughout the season, at least if this year already is anything to go by with all three players tasting at least one victory so far in 2023.
But while you have to respect the red-hot form of Rahm, who has now won five of his last nine starts, as too defending champion Scheffler, who recently defended the Phoenix Open, it’s World No.3 McIlroy who is my idea of the winner at late great Arnie’s place.
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McIlroy has an enviable record here at Bay Hill the past six renewals with a victory in 2018 in among three top-5s and five top-10s in that period.
Bay Hill is a course that just fits the Ulsterman’s eye, and McIlroy has already spoken about his admiration for performing well in this tournament, especially being under seven-time major champion Arnold Palmer’s name.
The King of course sadly passed away in 2016.
Rahm might be the short-priced jolly at 6/1 this week, but McIlroy is the one with form in the book here and that should count for something in Orlando this week.
Both Scheffler and McIlroy can replace Rahm as World No.1 this week should results fall their way, so they will both be determined to put in a strong performance, especially with $3.6 million on the line for the winner with this being yet another new elevated event on the PGA Tour.
McIlroy for me at 9/1 looks the play for the outright win as he looks to quickly bounce back from some fairly average displays at both the Phoenix Open (T32) and Genesis Invitational (T29).
You certainly have to respect Scheffler’s chances though, especially given he is 1/1 in title defences having backed things up in Phoenix last month.
Scheffler is available at 10/1.
At slightly bigger odds and some nice each-way value, I like Patrick Cantlay at 25/1 and Tyrrell Hatton at 35/1.
Cantlay has never played in this tournament before but arrives here in solid form after a third place finish in his last start at the Genesis Invitational.
At World No.4 now, having jumped in front of LIV Golf‘s Cameron Smith who remains shut out of ranking points, the American will want to quickly throw his hat into the ring for a shot at being World No.1 for the first time in his career.
Hatton, on the other hand, has an incredible recent record here with three top-five finishes the past six years including a victory in 2020.
Best Bets at the Arnold Palmer Invitational
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