This year’s edition of the Arnold Palmer Invitational was about honoring tournament namesake Arnold Palmer. Throughout the week, small memorials were set up around the course to remember The King. His golf bag and umbrella could be found on the right side of the driving range, a popular spot that he liked to warm up before going out and playing a round.
On the course, Palmer’s golf cart was stationed next to the 16th tee box overlooking the 18th fairway and green. On tournament days, that was a favorite spot for Arnie to park his cart and watch the action.
Once the action got going on Thursday though, animals and long winding putts stole the show.
Throughout the week, a large alligator could be spotted just off the 6th fairway, sunning himself and enjoying some of the action. On Thursday, Cody Gribble had a run in with the gator while walking down the 6th fairway and, well, let’s just say he didn’t seem to phased:
Don’t try this at home.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 16, 2017
On Friday, the gator found himself back in the news again. This time, it was Smylie Kaufman who found himself approaching the gator. Let’s just say though, his reaction was a little different:
Smylie’s not smiling! 😅
Watch out for the gator!
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 17, 2017
It wasn’t just alligators that stole the headlines this week though. Some fantastic golf shots were hit, including two of the longest putts you will see all year, each with major implications.
On Saturday, Charley Hoffman came to the 18th tee fresh off back to back birdies and just one off the lead. After leaving his approach shot on 18 short he had a 70 foot putt for birdie. While he was probably just trying to two-putt, he went ahead and did this:
The Bay Hill epic finish starter pack:
Breaking birdie putt ✔
Stare down ✔
Fist pump ✔ pic.twitter.com/JsSmjcmC5D
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) March 18, 2017
That putt might have been the biggest putt of the week, if it wasn’t for Marc Leishman on Sunday. Leishman came to the par 5 16th Sunday one shot off the lead and with the task of trying to run down Rory Mcllroy, Kevin Kisner, and Hoffman. After getting on in two he had a 51 foot putt for eagle and to take the lead. He went and did this:
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 19, 2017
That putt ending up being the winning one for Leishman who had the honor of being the first Arnold Palmer Invitational winner ever to don the new red cardigan presented to the winner. He looked pretty happy to put it on too:
— Dan Hauser (@DanHauserGolf) March 19, 2017
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