There’s been some controversy over some of the big names supposedly “disrespecting” The King by not showing up at Bay Hill for the first Arnold Palmer Invitational since his death.
As of last Friday, only 10 of the world top-25 had accepted the invite to play in Arnold’s (now memorial) event. In comparison, 49 of top-50 players trekked down to Mexico last week for an event sponsored Grupo Salinas.
— Cara Robinson (@CaraRobbo) March 7, 2017
Some of the no-show names include Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, and Justin Thomas.
Billy Horschel, the former FedEx Cup champ, went on Twitter, as a follow up to Cara Robinson’s tweet, to plead with his fellow Tour pros.
Disappointing. Totally understand schedule issues. But 1st year without AP. Honor an icon! Without him wouldn't be in position we are today https://t.co/yzaIqbbSpM
— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) March 7, 2017
Ian Poulter, however, defended the no-shows, blaming scheduling and the Bay Hill course itself.
“It’s going to be a fantastic week,” Poulter told ESPN. “It’s going to be a celebration of Arnie. The field is fine. There are some people who do not like that course and they are absolutely not disrespecting Arnie.
“We all obviously want every player from No 1 in the world in the rankings to 100 … we’d love for them all to be there. It’s impossible. I don’t think we have to discuss who isn’t there – it’s unfair to the tournament. Let’s focus on the family and make it a great week for them.”
Despite the flare up, the field does include five of the top-10 in the world, including defending champ Jason Day and Rory McIlroy. Other big names include Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, and Justin Rose.
Full field list for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, as of March 10.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Former Winners of the Arnold Palmer Invitational
Winner – THE PLAYERS Championship (Last 5 years)
Winner – The U.S. Open (Last 5 Years)
Winner – The PGA Championship (Last 5 Years)
Winner – The Masters (Last 5 Years)
Winner – The Open Championship (Last 5 Years)
Winner – The TOUR Championship
Winner – HSBC Champions – Last 3 Seasons
Winner the Memorial (Last 3 Years)
Winner – Tournament Winner in the Past Year
Billy Hurley III
Si Woo Kim
Member of Last Named U.S. Ryder Cup Team
Member of Last Named U.S.Presidents Cup Team
Member of Last Named International Presidents Cup Team
Winner – Prior Year U.S. Amateur Championship
Top 50 – World Golf Ranking
Byeong Hun An
Sponsors Exemptions – Web.com Tour Finals
Sponsors Exemptions – Members not otherwise exempt
Harold Varner III
Sponsors Exemptions – Unrestricted
Top 70 on Prior Year’s FedExCup Points List
Charles Howell III
Top 70 on Current Year FedExCup Points
Cheng Tsung Pan
PGA Section Champ/Player of the Year
Below 70th position from Current FedExCup Points List
Credit/Source: PGA Tour Media