Arnold Palmer Invitational: 18 Moments That Had Golf Fans on the Edge of Their Seats

1. Arnold Palmer counts a victory in the 1971 Florida Citrus Open, the Orlando predecessor of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, among his 92 professional wins.

2. Bob Byman was the winner of the first Arnold Palmer Invitational in 1979.

3. In the face of wind chills in the teens in 1980, Dave Eichelberger birdied the challenging, par-three 17th hole twice on the final day to win the second Arnold Palmer Invitational by three strokes.

4. Jack Nicklaus led Tom Watson by three after 54 holes during the tournament in 1982, but they both lost in a three-man playoff to Tom Kite, who was six back entering the final round.

5. Mike Nicolette outlasted Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman when he led from the start and defeated Norman in a playoff in the 1983 Arnold Palmer Invitational for his only PGA TOUR victory.

6. Gary Koch fired the lowest final round (63) in the history of the tournament when he came from six strokes off the pace to tie George Burns and beat him in a playoff in 1984.

7. Fuzzy Zoeller finished second to Loren Roberts in 1994 after a tee-shot on the 17th hole hit a spectator and went into the water. Roberts won again the following year and became the tournament’s first back-to-back champion.

8. Payne Stewart displayed great course knowledge when he won the 1987 Arnold Palmer Invitational and set the existing tournament record of 264, then 20 under par.

9. Don Pooley recorded the most rewarding of the tournament’s 17 hole-in-one shots when he won the $1 million that was put up for an ace at the par-three 17th hole in 1987. Half the prize went to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children.

10. Robert Gamez holed his seven-iron approach for eagle at the 18th hole in the final round to win the 1990 Arnold Palmer Invitational by a stroke over Greg Norman, twice a runner-up in the tournament.

11. In 1992, Fred Couples rolled to a nine-stroke victory (second only to Tiger Woods’ 11-shot win in 2003) in one of the highlights of his PGA TOUR Player-of-the-Year season.

12. Phil Mickelson lost a strong bid for No. 2 in 2002 when he gambled out of the woods at the 16th hole in the last round and wound up in the water in front of the green. He finished third.

13. Rain delays forced a 36-hole Sunday finish when Ernie Els won in 1998 and a Monday finale when he won again in 2010.

14. When Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the fourth straight year in 2003, it was the first accomplishment of its kind since Gene Sarazen captured his fourth consecutive Miami Open in 1930.

15. Playing his final hole in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2004, Arnold Palmer thrilled the gallery and his caddie grandson Sam Saunders when he hit driver-driver onto the 18th green.

16. Mastercard became the longest, most enterprising and progressive sponsor in tournament history when it entered the picture in 2004 and has been a partner ever since.

17. To honor its patriarch at the urging of family members and others, the official name of the Bay Hill tournament became the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard in 2007.

18. Tiger Woods matched an all-time PGA TOUR record when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the eighth time in 2013.



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