March 17, 2015 - 12:30pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Keegan Bradley
USA Today Sports Images
Keegan Bradley has come close to winning at Bay Hill on more than one occasion. Is this the week he closes the deal?

The PGA Tour is at the King's place this week -- Bay Hill Club and Lodge -- for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where Matt Every returns as the defending champ.

The field is loaded with stars, headlined by world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is looking to get back to his winning ways.

RELATED: Arnold Palmer Invitational tee times | McIlroy seeks Bay Hill bounceback

Two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson is in the field, along with Ernie Els, Adam Scott and more.

Bay Hill is always a stern test -- Palmer makes sure that's the case. So who will come out on top this time around and be shaking hands and sharing a hug with Arnie on the 18th green come Sunday?

Here are the five you'll want to keep an eye on.

5. Henrik Stenson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Fourth at Valspar Championship
Reason to watch: Stenson -- who finished in the top-8 each of the last two years at Bay Hill -- enters this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational on the strength of a T4 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship two weeks ago and a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship just last week. He's on a roll and it's coming at just the right time for the Swede, who is still in search of his first major championship win. The Masters is right around the corner.

4. Keegan Bradley
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 Northern Trust Open
Reason to watch: Bradley's T4 at Riviera in February has been his lone bright spot of the season thus far. I anticipate that changing at Bay Hill this week where he was the runner-up a year ago and tied for third in 2013. We all know how fired up Bradley gets on the course. Now, if he could just get some confidence going, I love his chances at Arnie's place.

3. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T3 at WGC-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: Fowler is always a player I'm excited to watch. But my expectations for him in 2015 after he finished in the top-5 at all four majors (without a win) in 2014. His lone top-10 this season came back in early November in China. His next-best finish came two weeks ago -- a T12 at Doral. I think he's going to bounce back this week from his missed cut at Bay Hill a year ago -- he tied for third there in 2013. After that missed cut at Bay Hill in 2014, Fowler went on to roll off nine of his 10, top-10 finishes for the season. He's going to try and recreate that run a week earlier this time around.

2. Adam Scott
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 WGC-Cadillac Championship
Reason to watch: All that promise for Scott with the short putter and a T4 at Doral and then he went and missed the cut last week at Innisbrook. It was his first missed cut on the PGA Tour since the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship. So, yeah, don't read too much into it. It's a blip on the radar. Furthermore, Scott finished third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2014, which could have been a win were it not for a crushing final round of 4-over 76 -- the worst final-round score out of any player who finished in the top 15. He's got unfinished business at Bay Hill.

1. Jason Day
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Farmers Insurance Open
Reason to watch: For a long time, we've been waiting for Day to have a breakout season on the PGA Tour. He's been very good for years, but he's one of those players you expect to turn out multiple-win seasons regularly. Well, every time he tees it up now for the rest of this season, he'll have a chance for multiple victories thanks to the win at Torrey Pines in February. Day's track record at Bay Hill is far from sensational -- his best finish there is a T25 -- but he might just be a different, stronger player this year than ever before.

Here's how my five to watch fared at last week's Valspar Championship:

5. Jim Furyk -- T40
4. Luke Donald -- T53
3. Jordan Spieth -- Winner
2. Gary Woodland -- Missed cut
1. Adam Scott -- Missed cut  

5 players to watch at Bay Hill
March 16, 2015 - 2:17pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

Are you a big fan of snakes?

Yeah. Neither am I.

RELATED: Enormous alligator roams Florida golf course

If I walked to the hole and saw this when I started to reach in to collect my golf ball, I'm pretty sure I'd either quit the game for good, or step away for a long, long time:

This at the Deerwood Club in Kingwood, Texas, one of the places used in the filming of "Tin Cup."

Snake finds hiding place in bottom of golf cup
March 16, 2015 - 1:27pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
YouTube
Rory McIlroy is the new face of the EA Sports PGA Tour video game.

For the first time since 1998, Tiger Woods will not be gracing the cover of the wildly popular EA Sports PGA Tour video game.

Instead, the game set to be released in June, will be called, "Rory McIlroy -- PGA Tour."

RELATED: Woods opts to sit-out Bay Hill, still no date set for return

EA and Woods parted ways in 2013 and many wondered what a Woods-less game would look like and what it would be called.

Now we know.

"I'm very proud and humbled to see my face and name on EA Sports Rory McIlroy PGA Tour," McIlroy said in a statement released by EA on Monday.

"This is a great honor, and something I couldn't even dream of growing up playing the sport. I really hope people enjoy the game and I'm very glad I can be a part of it."

Here's a trailer of the long-awaited game:

 

McIlroy to be featured on EA Sports' new PGA Tour video game
March 15, 2015 - 3:51pm
mark.aumann's picture
Ryan Moore
Ryan Moore almost can't believe his ball dropped in the cup for an eagle on the sixth hole Sunday.

The golf gods owed Ryan Moore one, obviously.

Three weeks ago in the third round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club, Moore's tee shot on the par-4 10th hole hit the flagstick -- and rolled completely off the green. Instead of an ace, Moore was forced to settle for a disheartening par.

ALMOST ACE TO OFF THE GREEN: Ryan Moore's bad break at Riviera

Fast forward to Sunday's final round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort. After back-to-back bogeys on the second and third holes dropped Moore out of the lead, he faced this shot from 174 yards out on No. 6.

Watch what happens next:

 

 

And when leader Jordan Spieth struggled for a bogey, that three-shot swing put Moore back in front.

THOSE ARE THE BREAKS: Your unluckiest golf stories

You can debate the merits of good luck/bad luck all you want, but it really does seem to even out over time.

 

Watch: Ryan Moore's eagle hole-out
March 14, 2015 - 6:46pm
mark.aumann's picture
Bubba vs. Tucker
PGA Tour/YouTube
Bubba Watson may have some southpaw competition in Tucker Moore.

Bubba Watson may be the best left-handed player in the world right now, but Tucker Moore -- Ryan Moore's 2 1/2-year old son -- is gaining on him quickly, as evidenced by this side-by-side swing comparison that was shown on NBC's coverage of the Valspar Championship's third round Saturday from Innisbrook Resort.

DAD HAS THE LEAD: Ryan Moore shoots 67 to lead Valspar by 1

Two things: 1. For a toddler, Tucker's swing is unbelievable. 2. He really does emulate Bubba in an uncanny way.

Watch the video and see if you don't agree:

 

 

Just wait until Tucker graduates from the plastic clubs. Of course, Bubba has his own golf progeny in waiting: Caleb, who swings right-handed. Here's video of him swinging a club last year at age 2.

FATHER-SON PAIRING: Bubba and Caleb's first golf outing

 

 

Could we be seeing a future rivalry in the making? Only time will tell.

 

Look out, Bubba -- here comes Tucker
March 14, 2015 - 10:47am
mark.aumann's picture