What we witnessed with the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend was nothing short of remarkable. We knew the field was good going into the event, but its made even better when the big names not only play, they deliver.
We saw 6 different players take the lead just on the final day. We started the tournament thinking John Rahm was going to run away with it, then day 2 was all about the rise of Jordan Spieth…Saturday set us up for a great Sunday, and Sunday delivered and then some. Imagine what’s going through the mind of Kurt Kitayama – he’d never won on the PGA Tour. He hasn’t really ever won much period. He turned pro in 2015, played on the Web.com Tour, with little success, and ranked 1,174th in the world in the end of 2017. Then after, he plays in the Asian Tour, the European Tour, and makes his way to the PGA Tour in 2021 after finishing 23rd in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. He was obscure. 200-1 to win coming into the event.
He goes to bed on Saturday night with a lead going into Sunday – good luck getting sleep in that situation – goes out on Sunday, where it was scorching hot all afternoon – completely falls apart on the 9th hole, triple Bogey, and he’s got names like Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Tyrell Hatton (3 of those 4 names have won this tournament) he’s got these guys circling him on the leaderboard like sharks – and yet, he steadies the course, and still finds a way to win. His only birdie after the triple bogey on 9 was the final hole.
He was 47 feet away from the cup, needed less than 2 shots to win, and he puts the first putt 2 inches away from the hole. Great visual. Fantastic tournament.
I don’t have a rolodex of the Arnie’s of the past in my mind, just not how my brain works…but I think you’d be hard pressed to find a tournament @ Bayhill that was better than that one.