Twenty players including four past major champions have been extended sponsor exemptions for the 2006 Bay Hill Invitational Presented by MasterCard, which is scheduled for the week of March 13-19 at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Florida.
Among those given invitations today were Bernhard Langer (1985 and 1993 Masters champion), Mark O'Meara (1998 Masters and British Open champion), Corey Pavin (1993 U. S. Open champion), and Paul Lawrie (1999 British Open champion).
Lawrie, from Scotland, was invited under the foreign players category as one of two players designated by the Commissioner. The other foreign-player exemption went to Paul Sheehan, from Australia, the current money leader on the Nationwide Tour.
O'Meara and Pavin were selected among the eight PGA Tour regular or past champion members who were to be granted exemptions. Others invited under this category were Robert Damron, Rocco Mediate, Dicky Pride, Brian Gay, Bob May and Mike Hulbert.
Hunter Mahan and Bubba Dickerson were chosen under the category of two players from the top 35 finishers from the 2005 Qualifying Tournament and the top 20 finishers on the 2005 Nationwide Tour.
Langer received on of the eight unrestricted exemptions, along with one announced earlier, Sam Saunders, the grandson of Palmer, the tournament host. Other unrestricted exemptions went to 2005 Southern Amateur champion Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Billy Hurley III, Kevin Stadler, Hank Kuehne and Fredrik Jacobson.
The Bay Hill Invitational presented by MasterCard will feature a minimum of 120 players and traditionally has one of the strongest fields of the year. In 2005, Bay Hill's field was the world's ninth strongest behind only the four major championships, The Players Championship, and the three World Golf Championships events.
For tickets to the Bay Hill Invitational presented by MasterCard, or for more information, log on to the tournament web site, www.bayhillinvitational.com, or call the Bay Hill ticket office at 407-876-7774 or toll free at 1-866-764-4843. Tournament proceeds benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.