Arnold Palmer's golf course isn't getting
harder, but it might look that way on the scorecard.
Bay Hill Club and Lodge will play to a par 70 for the first time
next month in the Arnold Palmer Invitational by converting two
holes to par 4s. The 558-yard fourth hole will measure about 480
yards, while the 517-yard 16th hole will play close to 500 yards.
"It's something I've been thinking about for a few years now,
and I figured it was time, simply for the way the game is
progressing along," Palmer said. "Most of the guys are hitting
irons into 16. It's playing as a par 4, anyway. So I thought we should
take a look at this. I think this will make it more interesting for
the overall tournament in relation to par."
It certainly will change the dynamics of the closing holes, a
time for players to protect the lead with pars instead of trying to
make up ground with birdies. The 17th is possibly the toughest par
3 at Bay Hill, and the 18th is a daunting par 4 with a pond
protecting the front and right side of the green.