More top players commit to Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard
ORLANDO, Fla. (March 4, 2016) - A third straight victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard would place Matt Every in some highly exclusive company. His path to a three-peat continues to get more difficult, however, with world No. 2 Jason Day and No. 7 Justin Rose joining a stellar field that already includes No. 3 Rory McIlroy, No. 8 Bubba Watson and a bevy of other top players.
Every, from Daytona Beach, Fla., has won two PGA TOUR victories - both at Bay Hill and both in come-from-behind fashion. With an 18-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole in 2015, Every capped a closing 6-under-par 66 to rally from a three-shot deficit and win by one stroke over Sweden's Henrik Stenson. The year before, Every rallied from a four-shot deficit to burst by Adam Scott in the final round.
With his second straight victory and handshake from Palmer, Every became just the third man to win back-to-back at Bay Hill, after Loren Roberts and Tiger Woods. If he wins again, he'll join Tiger Woods, who is the only player to win it three times in a row. Woods has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational eight times, including four in a row from 2000-2003.
"I'd love to have that chance," said Every, 32. "I've done pretty well so far when I've put myself in position, so that is always the first thing to do, just be somewhere around the lead."
Last year, Every was three behind Stenson when he shot what was tied for the lowest score in the final round. He was never close to making a bogey in finishing at 19-under 269. He became the first player since Payne Stewart in 1987 to win at Bay Hill with all four rounds in the 60s. It was an impressive display.
"It seemed like I was replaying the same round I played the year before," said Every, who in 2013, closed with a 70. "Some of the places I hit the ball were very similar. In 2014, I looked up at 13 and I had a three-shot lead. In 2014, it was tougher, but after 13 I was tied. I thought 'Oh, there you go.' It just felt very similar."
Thus he got a similar result.
"I don't know what it is about Bay Hill," Every, ranked 141st in the world, mused. "But it just seems to work out for me."
In addition to the names Day and Rose, add that of Darren Clarke, a past British Open winner and current European Ryder Cup captain. He joins U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, who committed a few weeks ago. Golf fans will be watching how these two captains match up for the week.
"We are looking at a good field shaping up, and we are very pleased that the top players continue to support the tournament," Arnold Palmer, the tournament host, said enthusiastically. "Everything looks good, and we are expecting a great week."