Rickie Fowler to serve as one of three hosts for the 2018 tournament
ORLANDO, Fla. (February 27, 2018) – World No. 7 Rickie Fowler leads an impressive list of early commitments for the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Fowler returns to not only compete on the Championship Course at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge for a seventh time, but also to serve as one of the tournament hosts along with Peter Jacobsen and World Golf Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez.
Joining Fowler March 12-18 is Orlando resident Justin Rose, the No. 5 player in the Official World Golf Ranking; No. 6 Hideki Matsuyama of Japan; Jason Day of Australia, No. 8 in the world and the tournament’s 2016 champion; and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, No. 10 in the world. Also committing early is defending champion Marc Leishman, who is currently No. 15 in the world. The golfers will compete for a share of an $8.9 million purse.
Leishman and Day are among nine past champions of the Arnold Palmer Invitational who already have signed up to return. Other former winners committed are Matt Every, Paul Goydos, Martin Laird, Vijay Singh, Tim Herron, Ernie Els and Robert Gamez. Other notables include 2017 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele and major winners Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson, who won the Genesis Open February 18.
Jacobsen and Lopez, friends and proteges of the late golfing legend, join Fowler in stepping into traditional roles Mr. Palmer served annually throughout tournament week – greeting players and guests, hosting Pro-Am parties and helping to present the trophy to the winner.
“He was a role model for so many of us,” said Lopez, who met and played with Palmer in a practice round at Pebble Beach when she was just 15 years old. “He taught us how to conduct ourselves and treat our fans. He really believed the fans made him who he was, and he made sure we understood that too. And, of course, everyone stood at attention when Arnold spoke.”
This year marks the 40th edition of the premier invitational tournament at Bay Hill. Golf’s King brought the former Florida Citrus Open to his Bay Hill Club in 1979.