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Shotgun Start: Previewing the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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Bay Hill / Getty Images

It's tournament time! We finish up the Florida Swing at Bay Hill Club and Lodge for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  Here's a tournament primer to get you prepared for the week.

The course: There's not a whole lot you can say about Bay Hill that hasn't already been said before. Arnie's place is your typical Florida track with water in play on a number of the holes and the wind playing a big factor. There are also a number of risk-reward holes -- the third and sixth holes come to mind -- that allow golfers to cut off a large portion of the dogleg by taking driver over the lake. The shot seems enticing, but when the wind is up, the best option is to play it safe and keep a big number off the card. At 7,381 yards, the par 72 layout was ranked as the fifth toughest (non-major) course on the PGA Tour last season, and a big reason for the degree of difficulty is due in large part to the greens at Bay Hill. The course had the third lowest birdie or better percentage inside 125 yards, and was ranked inside the top five as one of the toughest courses on tour to make a putt in the 10 to 15 foot range. So yeah, good luck with the greens at Bay Hill, gentlemen.

The schedule: The tournament runs Thursday-Sunday. It'll be broadcast on the Golf Channel from 3 to 6 p.m. ET on Thursday and Friday, and 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday; and on NBC from 2:30 to 6 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.

The field: Having Arnold Palmer's name on the event has been a major plus for the tournament field over the years. Webb Simpson (7) and Justin Rose (8) are the only players currently in the OWGR top-10 in the field this week, but a host of other big names continue to make the tournament one of the marquee stops on the schedule. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Bill Haas, Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk are also in the field this week, so you may want to set aside some time to watch the tournament this weekend.

The video: Check out some of the memorable moments from the Arnold Palmer Invitational's history.

Your turn. Who are your picks for this week? Swing away!

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