Arnold Palmer Invitational, many champions

In March, as is customary every year, the global golf season begins to heat up with the first must-see events on the calendar

by Andrea Gussoni
Arnold Palmer Invitational, many champions
© Getty Images Sport - Angel Martinez / Stringer

In March, as is customary every year, the global golf season begins to heat up with the first must-see events on the calendar. The Arnold Palmer Invitational, sponsored by Mastercard, kicks off an intense period leading up to the first Major of the season.

The PGA Tour arrives at Bay Hill, one of the most iconic venues on the circuit, for a tournament hosted by one of the most legendary players in history. This marks the fourth event out of eight designated as a Signature Event, with a restricted field and no traditional cut.

Arnold Palmer Invitational, results

Before diving into the field, it's essential to note a significant absence in the Italian context. Francesco Molinari, who has donned the famous 'Green Jacket' in the past, won't be teeing off on the first hole.

The Turin native has been struggling with results for some time, and this tournament brings back memories of 2019 when 'Chicco' staged a monstrous comeback in the final round to win his last tournament before embarking on a memorable Masters journey, which unfortunately slipped away in the back nine.

However, the show is sure to go on, with the entire elite of the global golfing fraternity ready to battle it out. The OWGR's top-ranked player, Scottie Scheffler, returns to action, aiming to continue his excellent run at Bay Hill (never finishing beyond 15th place in his last three appearances here).

Moving down the rankings, Rory McIlroy sits at number two, and the Northern Irishman will be playing for the second consecutive week on the circuit, looking to improve upon his decent performance at the Cognizant Classic.

Speaking of the Monday-concluded event, Austin Eckroat, the victor at The Palm Beaches, has earned an invitation to compete and will be gunning for a sensational double. From the PGA Tour University, he won't be the sole representative; rising star Ludvig Aberg will also be present, sharing with Eckroat the distinction of being the only other winner on the circuit from that institution.

The defending champion is American Kurt Kitayama, who aims to continue his solid season (having made the cut in all five events played). Kitayama will attempt to achieve a back-to-back victory, a feat not seen at the Arnold Palmer since Matt Every in 2014-15.

After a hiatus, Norwegian Viktor Hovland returns to the field, the 2023 FedExCup winner who hasn't played since the Genesis. The Arnold Palmer Invitational will also feature Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, the current FedEx leader, along with his pursuers Chris Kirk, Hideki Matsuyama, and Jake Knapp.

Nearly all the big names are present, with contenders such as Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Matt Fitzpatrick, Sam Burns, Tommy Fleetwood, and several others vying for top positions. As for television coverage in Italy, Eurosport and discovery+ will broadcast the event.

The first two rounds will be aired on both digital and Eurosport 2 from 8:00 PM to midnight, with the moving day streaming from 8:30 PM to 11:00 PM, followed by the channel opening the connection around 10:35 PM. The grand finale will be visible from 5:30 PM to 11:00 PM on both platforms.