Arnold Palmer Invitational draws world's top golfers

Only once in the past 12 years has there been a stronger field in the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard than the 132 players who will tee off March 18-24 at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla.

According to the Official World Golf Ranking, there will be nine of the top 15 players in the world and 21 of the top 30 players in the world for this, the 35th annual PGA TOUR event at Bay Hill. In just one year since 2000 have more highly-ranked players entered, and that year, 2007, featured 12 of the top 15 players and 22 of the top 30.

Defending and seven-time champion Tiger Woods heads the list, ranked No. 2 in the world. Also entered are No. 4 Brandt Snedeker, the 2012 FedExCup champion, No. 5 Justin Rose, No. 10 Phil Mickelson, No. 11 Lee Westwood, No. 12 Ian Poulter, No. 13 Bubba Watson, No. 14 Keegan Bradley and No. 15 Graeme McDowell.

Watson, the reigning champion of The Masters Tournament, is joined by two other 2012 major championship winners, U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, ranked No. 19 in the world, and world No. 24 Ernie Els, winner of The Open Championship.

In addition to Woods and Els, a two-time winner at Bay Hill, the field includes these seven other past champions of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard - Mickelson, Robert Gamez, Tim Herron, Chad Campbell, Rod Pampling, Vijay Singh and Martin Laird. The leaders of the 2012 PGA TOUR money list are well-represented with 11 of the top 13 money winners and 42 of the top 50. There are 38 of the top 50 leaders of the 2012 FedExCup competition.

If Woods were to add one more victory at Bay Hill, he would tie Sam Snead with the most wins in a PGA TOUR event. Snead won the Greensboro tournament, now called the Wyndham Championship, eight times from 1938 to 1965.

Last year's Bay Hill win marked Woods's 72nd PGA TOUR title, and he has since added four more as he moved past Jack Nicklaus into second place on the all-time victory list behind Snead's 82 wins. He has had two victories this year in the Farmers Insurance Open and WGC Cadillac Championship.

 

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