Rory McIlroy has been the favorite at three events already this year, and is the top pick at this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. The world’s No. 1 golfer has yet to win this year, but he’s come close in every tournament he’s played.
This could be the week the Irishman steps up and puts together four low rounds. He won this event in 2018 and seems like he is on the cusp of winning again. Here’s what we think of his chances this week, and those of a few other golfers competing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Golfers to Back
Rory McIlroy 5/1
The favorite has to win at some point this year, doesn’t he? The Arnold Palmer Invitational could very well be the event where that happens. McIlroy has played in five events dating back to October on the PGA Tour and hasn’t finished worse than a tie for fifth.
Mcllroy is comfortable at Bay Hill, where he has a scoring average of 69.4. He tied for sixth in 2017, posted a win in 2018, and tied for fourth in 2019. Based on his play so far this season, it’s no surprise McIlroy feels like he is ready to win again at Bay Hill.
Bryson DeChambeau 20/1
DeChambeau started 2020 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and the rust showed. He finished tied for 52nd. It didn’t take him long to get back on track, however. He tied for fifth two weeks later at the Genesis Invitational, was the runner-up at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
DeChambeau has also played well at Bay Hill in past appearances. He finished second in 2018, and could very well be near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Byeong Hun An 40/1
The South Korean watched countryman Sungjae Im win the Honda Classic last week. The question is, can he duplicate that feat this week? An’s play has been strong of late as he finished tied for fourth last week at the Honda Classic, and posted another top 10-finish at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this season.
An has won three times away from the PGA Tour, so he knows how to close. A tie for 10th at this tournament last year should give him confidence going into this week.
Golfers to Avoid
Francesco Molinari 100/1
The Italian is nowhere near the form he had last year when he captured the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Molinari has struggled this season, missing the cut in three of his last four events. He made the weekend in Mexico, where he tied for 53rd.
“I’m a little bit behind where I was planning to be, obviously, at this time,” Molinari told reporters on Tuesday. “The start of the season has not been as good as I hoped for, but it’s only the start. There’s been a few physical things and technical things, but I’m working through it.”
Ian Poulter 80/1
This is only Poulter’s second PGA Tour event this year. He finished tied for 27th at last week’s Honda Classic. Poulter has played in three events on the European Tour where he tied for 16th and 17th in his last two tournaments.
This is a home tournament for Poulter as he lives in the Orlando area. He’s made the cut nine times in this event, but his best result is a third-place finish in 2012. He finished tied for 23rd last year.
Tony Finau 30/1
Finau started off strong this year, improving at each event he played. He finished tied for 14th at The American Express, tied for sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open, and nearly won at Waste Management Phoenix Open, before settling for second.
He stumbled at his last tournament, tying for 51st at the Genesis Invitational. He hasn’t played since then, and we would like to see another strong start before we back him again.