DFS Dish: Arnold Palmer Invitational

It's time for another designated event and this week's big tournament is the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

This event already attracted a strong field on a yearly basis but the increased purse size will draw in a few more big names than usual.

That is particularly interesting because some of those big names are golfers that don't traditionally play a heavy Florida schedule. We will find out if their past avoidance of the Sunshine State was due to the lack of comfort on Florida-style tracks or if they just avoided it due to scheduling in the past.

One way to take an educated guess on that is by looking at past performance on courses with bermudagrass greens. So let's hop right in and take a look.

Bring on the Bermuda

We saw bermudagrass greens last week at PGA National but many of the starts were sitting that week out. They will be returning to bermuda after a long stretch out on the West Coast.

Golfers that grew up or reside in the Southeast are often more comfortable when playing on bermuda.

Not many state it better than Kis.

"I love getting here to get on the Bermudagrass, it's what I grew up on, I feel like I can read the greens very good here and I use it to my advantage. That's, I just try to get through that West Coast and get over here to start making some money." -Kevin Kisner in 2017

Here are the top performers in adjusted strokes gained per round when playing courses with bermuda greens, over the last two years:

Rory McIlroy
Jon Rahm
Viktor Hovland
Tom Kim
Collin Morikawa
Justin Thomas
Scottie Scheffler
Tyrrell Hatton
Matt Fitzpatrick
Will Zalatoris
Tony Finau
Hideki Matsuyama
Xander Schauffele
Corey Conners
Patrick Cantlay

We can also look at performance versus baseline to see who shows the largest increase in performance compared to their typical scores:

Ben Taylor
Ben Griffin
Tom Kim
Emiliano Grillo
Thomas Detry
Chris Kirk
Viktor Hovland
Lee Hodges
Rory McIlroy
Tyrrell Hatton
Collin Morikawa
Aaron Baddeley
Will Gordon
Alex Smalley
Sepp Straka

Overlap List: names that show up on both lists include Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Tom Kim, Collin Morikawa, and Tyrrell Hatton.

Hovland get the hang of Bermuda

He didn't grow up on grainy bermuda but he continues to improve with each passing season, getting more and more reps. He is a two-time champ at Albany, posted a runner-up at Concession in 2021 and finished runner-up here last year. It's sneaky good play on bermuda in recent years. That big-finish upside makes him worth a look in all weekly formats.

Young Kim a quick study

You're not supposed to stroll into Bay Hill and contend right away. There is often a learning curve for first-timers but Tom Kim isn't a normal first-timer. He has two wins since August, seeing courses for the first time. Kim has solid iron production with his strength being the ability to limit poor shots. That is crucial at a risk-reward course like Bay Hill with plenty of water to swerve. Kim proved that bermudagrass greens cause him no issue last August when he gained 12.5 strokes putting at Sedgefield.