The No. 2 player in the world commits to play in Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard
One of the first places Steve Stricker visited after he qualified for the PGA TOUR in 1994 was the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida, to sit down with Arnold Palmer.
“I’ll never forget that experience, meeting Arnold for the first time, just how nice he was and how helpful he wanted to be,” says Stricker, who had signed with Peerless Golf, the club company that Palmer owned. “I’ve always appreciated the things that Arnold said to me, the advice he gave, and I feel very lucky to have gotten to know him so early in my career.”
The winner earlier this year at the Northern Trust Open, his eighth TOUR title, Stricker is looking forward to getting reacquainted with the King later this month. The No. 2 player in the world has committed to compete in this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, his first appearance at Bay Hill since 2005.
The 32nd edition of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, one of the premiere events in golf, is scheduled for March 22-28.
Stricker, who has won four of his last 15 starts, likes the Championship Course at Bay Hill, but it hasn’t always reciprocated. He finished fourth in the 1995 edition at 11-under-par 277, his second appearance in the tournament, and he tied for sixth in 1998 at eight-under 280, but he’s mostly struggled there. In his 11 starts at Bay Hill, the native of Wisconsin also has missed the cut five times, including his last four tries in which he shot no better than 73.
Stricker learned in January that Palmer had made extensive changes to Bay Hill last fall and that par had been reverted back to 72, and he admitted then that he was intrigued. Now he has decided to return to the invitational that anchors the TOUR’s four-tournament Florida Swing.
“I like Bay Hill, but for some reason I haven’t always felt comfortable there with my game,” Stricker, 43, said. “I heard there’s been a lot of changes in the last year. Who knows? That could make a difference.”
One of the most prestigious stops on the PGA TOUR, the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard traditionally draws one of the strongest fields among golf tournaments from around the world, and it boasts an impressive array of winners including six-time champion Tiger Woods, Chad Campbell, Ernie Els, Paul Goydos, Phil Mickelson, Kenny Perry, and Vijay Singh.
For tickets to the 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard or for more information, log on to the tournament web site, www.arnoldpalmerinvitational.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 Childrenand the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.