By Dave Shedloski
Andrew Magee doesn’t compete often on the PGA TOUR these days, but the four-time winner seldom misses out on a visit to the Bay Hill Club & Lodge for the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard.
Magee, 47, is making his season debut this week at Bay Hill and his 20th start in the tournament he won in 1991. Other than for health reasons, he’s never missed Palmer’s tournament since he won the rain-shortened 1991 title by two strokes over Tom Sieckmann with a 13-under 203 total.
“It’s always great to be here at Bay Hill and get a chance to play a little,” said Magee, who mainly plays on the Nationwide Tour these days but still keeps his schedule to just a handful of tournaments. “I have to say I don’t have huge expectations. I come out here and watch guys hit balls, and I think ‘wow.’ A lot of good swing out there, good players, and I get kind of reluctant to hit range balls.”
Magee, who lives in Phoenix, plays out of Whisper Rock Golf Club, where many fellow TOUR players hang out, and he gets a taste of top-tier golf there. He’s been working hard on his putting with former TOUR player Howard Twitty in an effort to improve his scoring.
“I made the cut a few years ago, been close a couple of other times in recent years. I don’t have any barometer of where I’m going to be until I get out there, swing the club, hit a few fairways and see about how I go about getting the ball into the hole,” Magee said.
Despite his limited exposure to competition in recent years, Magee does have one thing going for him when he tees off at 12:20 p.m. today.
“What’s kind of fun is that I step on this range, and I start to get those great old feelings from ‘91, and something kind of radiates out of the ground,” Magee said. “I feel this power from Bay Hill, and I start magically hitting the ball better. I guess I get a little bit inspired being here and seeing Arnold. I’m hoping that I find that feeling again and that it carries out to the golf course this week.”