A very strong, “invitation-only” field is on hand this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. This is the final tune-up for the PLAYERS Championship, which is a reason why there are some bigger names than usual on hand for this event. Given its rich history, and of course bearing the name of one of golf’s most affable personalities, this tournament tends to bring out big fields, but this one may be one of the strongest in recent history. Even without Tiger Woods, who withdrew on Monday.
We’ll be doing what we always do here this week in our DFS article and that means looking for value further down the board to save some money in hopes of being able to roster the big names with the best chances to win the tournament.
Here are the picks for the Arnold Palmer Invitational:
Charley Hoffman ($7,000) – Charley Hoffman is way down the board this week. With good reason, to be quite honest. Hoffman has only made four of eight cuts this season and is coming off of an MC about a month ago at the Genesis Open. Hoffman, though, has played very well here at Bay Hill in his last two starts. He tied for second in 2017 and followed that up by finishing seventh last year. While he’s not in good form recently, going to a course where a guy has had success can provide a really nice boost. Few players have had more success than Hoffman over the last two years here, so he’s worth paying pennies for, especially if this means you can carry both Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.
Henrik Stenson ($8,100) – This is certainly a bit of a risk. It has not been a good look for Henrik Stenson of late. He’s 42 years old now and has battled wrist and back injuries over the last three years. He’s only made two of his five cuts this season. And, yet, he’s 40/1 on the betting board this week because of his past successes at Bay Hill. Stenson has three top-five finishes over the last four years in Arnold Palmer’s tournament. He wasn’t exactly in great form last year when he finished fourth. He did fire an opening-round 64 and played with the pack the other three days, but it’s still in there somewhere. Stenson was third in 2016 and second in 2015. We saw Vijay Singh turn back the clock last week at PGA National. Why can’t a player closer to his old form do so here?
Louis Oosthuizen ($7,900) – Louis Oosthuizen has always been a player that needs the challenge. He needs the best fields and the best courses. After missing the cut at Riviera in the Genesis Open, he played a bit better in Mexico at the WGC. Oosthuizen needs to get a little more consistency in his game, but playing for the third time in four weeks should help. Prior to the Genesis Open, he was playing sparingly, with a fourth at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, a seventh at the Alfred Dunhill Links event, and a win in the South African Open. Oosthuizen was ninth back in 2015 at this event and 28th back in 2017. He missed the cut last year, but he’s playing regularly again, so he’s worth a shot this week.
Matt Every ($7,400) – Why not, right? Two-time winner Matt Every comes in at a very low price because he hasn’t been getting headlines at big events. Every has four top-20 finishes this season, including a 16th most recently at the Puerto Rico Open, which was the alternate event to the WGC-Mexico. Every actually ranks 14th in strokes gained overall on the PGA Tour this season. It is a small sample size, but he won this event back in 2014 and 2015, so he certainly has an affinity for this course. He’ll probably be rostered by a lot of people and it might be best to avoid him in case he misses the cut, but he’s played really well so far this season with courses in destinations where wind can be a factor and that adds some value here this week.
Zach Johnson ($7,700) – It’s never flashy for Zach Johnson, but he doesn’t make any mistakes. These courses on the Florida swing prey on players that make mistakes. Johnson is that guy at your local course that hits it a responsible 220 and walks after every tee shot in a straight line. Except, well, he’s hitting it more like 270 or 280 and doing the same thing. Johnson opened with a 66 last week and fell off the pace after that, but he tends to play quite well in the southeastern United States. He pulled a top-five finish back in 2016 and finished ninth here back in 2015. He consistently makes cuts and with a little luck, he could grab us a top-15 finish at a course where he has played well in the past.