Cleat Geeks

Off The Tee (Arnold Palmer Invitational, March 17-20)

First off, I think as a new writer I must introduce myself. My name is Matt and I am currently a senior in high school. I love golf and writing respectively.  I closely follow the PGA Tour. I did not research my predecessors style of writing but when I write I like to give it a personal taste. Act like we are having a conversation, you feel? Enough of the introduction, let’s dig in to the article.

Amidst the insane month of March this year, including March Madness, the wackiest primary election of all time (Yes, Donald Trump, I am talking about you), and Spring Training, we have the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

arnold palmer

Palmer always hits the annual “first tee shot.”

Arnold Palmer Invitational

The event runs from March 17-20. One week removed from the Valspar Championship, which was held at the highly difficult, Copperhead Golf Course, we have Arnold Palmer’s annual event.  The tour stops at the ever-famous, Bay Hill Club & Lodge to both honor a golf legend, and compete at the hefty purse of 6.3 million dollars.

The Course

Bay Hill is one of those courses we recognize when the announcers say it, but we don’t really know anything about it. Well at least, that’s how I feel about it. There is a valid reason for this, I mean there isn’t anything “unique” to the course.  Located in Florida, it is your average southern par-72 course. Dense trees, thick rough, heavy fairways. The course is basically as intermediate for tour players as it gets. With a course low of 62, the average usually falls around 67. Now for me and you? The course is obviously the kind of course we would shoot 90 and feel good about it. I am not saying the course is easy at all, just stating it isn’t one of the courses we all know in our heads (Augusta, Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass, etc.). Look to see a few solid 65’s and maybe a low 64 here and there. If I were to guess I would say the guy whojason day keeps every round in the 60’s will have a great shot at winning this one.

The Players

Lots of guys play in this one as it gives a decent amount of FedEx Cup points. Not like that matters much because anyone can walk in and earn first place after the first Cup event but that rant is for another day. Anyways, the two main reasons the big guys play in this one is because of the purse size, and for the respect of one of the best.  The big names you will see here are Rory Mcllroy, Adam Scott, Jason Day, and Justin Rose. Man, Adam Scott has been on fire lately, hasn’t he?  The way he is playing it would seem like one of those times where you try something new at your favorite restaurant instead of going with your usual, and you end up loving the new food. The risk reaped a major reward and your entire week is now made, you feel on top of the world.  Now I’m sure winning back-to-back PGA events is way better and all but hey, us restaurant goers can feel good too. Let’s get down to my picks.

Matt’s Bold Predictions

Since I’m new here I get to implement new things. Yay for new things. Anyway every week in “Off the Tee” I will make three bold predictions on who I think will win the event.  Let’s hop on in,

Adam Scott:adam scott

 See the past two events he has played in? That’s enough right? That’s all I have to write here for him? No, I’m kidding, Scott has been magnificent lately. From his putting improvements, to his ball striking efficiency, no one can top this guy.  He has the most momentum going into this one so look for him to be near the top all weekend.


Graeme McDowell:

I have kept my eye on this man lately. He seems to have improved from the past year, finishing in the top 30 more often. He is not long off the tee like these new young guns, but the dude has major accurgraeme mcdowellacy. His game after the tee shot is literally like that of a Stephen Curry, accurate as all get out. This course fits his name and he is just under the radar enough that I think he is poised for a good run at it.


Zach Johnson:

There is something about Zach Johnson. I can’t tell if its the sunglasses, the SeeMore putter (which I use personally by the way), or the calm composure through literally anything that makes me feel like he can win every single tournament. Its alwzach johnsonays those random weeks that you see his name trending on a Sunday night and you are like “Oh, that sunglasses dude won again, cool.” The guy always finds a way to end up high on the leaderboards.  His irons are on par with the best.  Look for him to take advantage of the open fairways and come out shooting low in the early days.


The Bust:

I feel like every good article has a bust guy as well, and I wanna be like every good article, so why not.

Rory Mcilroy:

rory mcilroy

Yup, don’t hate me, I just do not see him excelling here. I am not going to sit here and say the man lifts too many weights or his new technique is ruining his game, but I will say it may be getting in his head. The media can be a burden to these guys so I’m sure all the criticism has welled over in his mind more than a few times.  As of recent, he hasn’t been playing all that well and I don’t see this being the tournament where he pulls his big boy pants back on.

That will conclude my very first article as a sports writer. May my career ever flourish! Thanks for reading this and I will leave you with a few quick notes.  First, I like to communicate with my readers on twitter or via email, so please send me both your feedback of my article and also your predictions for who you think will win this week.  I love to hear back from you guys. You can also ask any questions you feel like, I have an extensive knowledge of the tour in the comment section below.

Thanks again and enjoy!


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