2 Quick Takeaways from the 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational

After a weekend of absolute carnage at Bay Hill, Scottie Scheffler emerged as the last golfer standing on Sunday — donning the red cardigan and raising the Arnold Palmer Invitational trophy.

In doing so, Scheffler moved up to #5 in the official world golf rankings.

1. Scheffler Might Be Elite

As some suggested after Scottie won at Waste Management three weeks ago, getting that first PGA Tour win off his shoulders could just open up the flood gates, allowing him to become a consistent winner on tour…

That seems indeed to be the case here.

Scheffler often played well enough to win on the PGA Tour prior to the last few weeks, but finally we are starting to see him take care of business on Sundays.

Now with these two recent wins under his belt — both very impressive and against very tough fields by the way — Scheffler appears to have elevated his status in professional golf.

I’ve always recognized and respected Scheffler’s talent — particularly when he out-dueled Jon Rahm in singles at the 2021 Ryder Cup — but not until today had I been forced to truly consider whether Scheffler is an elite talent in the game of golf.

He’s not won a major yet in his young career, but at this moment in time I believe Scheffler belongs in any conversation pertaining the world’s best golfers. His game just seems to be showing up at every type of course right now…so maybe the major win isn’t too far off.

2. Was Bay Hill Hard for the Sake of Being Hard?

After his final round, Rory McIlroy made some comments about the way Bay Hill set up this week for golfers.

Specifically, he suggested that good shots weren’t necessarily being rewarded and that mediocre shots were getting lucky at times.

Scheffler won at -5 this week, which is almost certainly one of the lowest winning scores we’ll see all year on the PGA Tour. Bay Hill was truly a brute, playing +3.48 strokes over par on Sunday alone and watching some professional golfers shoots scores in the 80s.

I love watching these type of golf events where the course plays tough and demands guys to be on their A-game, while simultaneously punishing mediocre play.

In general, it’s better than the typical birdie fests where golfers can easily hit every approach inside 25 feet and on the green. Whoever hits their wedges well and makes the most putts wins.

Watching a course like Bay Hill, I can almost feel the golfers’ exhaustion. After spending a Saturday or Sunday watching these guys struggle, I almost feel like I need a nap to recoup. And that’s fun.

But I think I do side with Rory here to a certain degree. When really good golf shots get punished, when greens can’t hold any shots, I get a bit less joy from watching.

Golfers may feel like it turns into a short game contest, and in fact, I as a viewer start to feel like I’m watching a short game and scrambling contest.

I still thought API was an extremely exciting event to watch throughout the weekend, but at the same time I recognize that these courses are walking a fine line between difficult and just downright punishing.

McIlroy’s comments about the setup alluded to the fact that players might skip out on this event in future years if they know just how brutal Bay Hill will play. So, it’s just something to keep an eye out for come this time next year.

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“Strokes Gained: Narrative” is a PGA Tour betting and DFS blog aiming to supplement golf data and stats with storylines and humor.

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Nick DeMott

Nick DeMott

Golf Writer + Naturalist + Old Man at Heart

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