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February 24, 2017

World No. 2 and Defending Champ Jason Day, No. 3 Rory McIlroy Lead Early Commits

Four of the top five players in the Official World Golf Ranking, including No. 2 Jason Day, the defending champion, and No. 3 Rory McIlroy, are among the early commitments for the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Day and McIlroy will be joined by No. 4 Henrik Stenson, the reigning British Open champion, and No. 5 Hideki Matsuyama, one of the hottest players in the game.

McIlroy, 27, will be making his second start of the year on the PGA TOUR after being sidelined since early January with a rib injury.

The premier invitational tournament that bears the name of golf legend Arnold Palmer is scheduled for March 13-19 at Palmer’s renowned Bay Hill Club & Lodge.

Other notable players who have committed to this year’s $8.5 million tournament include No. 13 Danny Willett of England, the reigning Masters champion, and two-time Masters winner and Orlando resident Bubba Watson, who is No. 15 in the world. In all, 10 of the top 25 in the world rankings have committed.

Last year, Jason Day won in wire-to-wire fashion, finishing at 17-under 271 to defeat Kevin Chappell by one stroke. Stenson, 40, registered his fourth straight top-10 finish on the Championship Course at Bay Hill when he tied for third with Troy Merritt. Matsuyama, 24, of Japan, who has five world-wide wins since last fall, tied for sixth a year ago. After winning his second straight Waste Management Phoenix Open, Matsuyama leads the current FedExCup Standings on the PGA TOUR.

Day, who also is the reigning PLAYERS champion, said he was honored to be the last player to be presented the trophy by Mr. Palmer, who died in September at age 87.

“It’s obviously a memory that is very special, that I’ll always carry with me, to think I was the last player to sit down and have that celebratory drink with him after winning,” said Day, 28, of Australia, who began the year as the No. 1 player in the world. “I look forward to going back simply because it holds so many good memories for me.”


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