Peter Jacobsen, Graeme McDowell, Annika Sörenstam and Curtis Strange and former Secretary of Homeland Security and family friend Tom Ridge will help lead Arnold Palmer’s namesake tournament this year as they host the 39th Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, March 13-19.
“Arnold was a force of nature, on and off the course,” McDowell said in the tournament’s release. “We can’t fill his shoes but we can carry on his passion for helping others. I live with my family in Orlando and my children were born at Winnie Palmer Hospital, so I’ve been a direct beneficiary of Arnold’s charitable legacy. I’m honored to be part of such a remarkable event.”
The new Arnold Palmer Invitational hosts will take over the traditional roles held by Palmer throughout the tournament including greeting players and guests and hosting Pro-Am parties. They will also be helping to present the championship trophy on Sunday’s final round.
Jason Day is the defending champion at the prestigious PGA Tour event as he became the first wire-to-wire winner at Bay Hill since Fred Couples in 1992.
“Part of my dad’s legacy was to inspire others to care about things he thought were important,” said Palmer’s daughter Amy Saunders, chairman of Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation. “With the help of his many friends, fans and followers, we intend to keep that light shining brightly.”
Tournament officials also announced that they will add all new photo spots and signage throughout the Bay Hill course and each spot will tell a different story about Palmer’s accomplishments and his influence.
All proceeds from the tournament benefit Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation, which supports Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.