ORLANDO, Fla. - It wouldn't be the Arnold Palmer Invitational without some of golf's biggest names.
Four of the world's top six players are competing this week, including 5th ranked Rory McIlroy, who won in 2018.
Bay Hill serves as one of the toughest stops on the PGA Tour.
But McIlroy knows it fairly well.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot on the 10th hole during the pro-am of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Golf Course on March 02, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Image
"The golf course doesn’t change that much year to year. So you sort of know what you’re getting into or what to expect," McIlroy said.
McIlroy will make his eighth start at Bay Hill on Thursday.
But after taking a practice round on Wednesday, he says he's expecting a different test than in years past because of the course setup.
"The rough is thick off the fairways. But then what they’ve done is they’ve taken off a lot of the runoff areas off the greens, where historically where it’d be you’d miss a green, and it’d run off with grass. Now it’s all been filled in with rough," McIlroy said.
World no. 1 Jon Rahm was out practicing on Wednesday too. He is a favorite to win.
Jon Rahm of Spain reacts after an eagle on the 16th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 3, 2017 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
However, newer players like last season's rookie of the year, Will Zalatoris would love to be in contention come Sunday.
He knows it'll be challenging.
"The part that’s funny about this place is that it doesn’t look that intimidating in terms of the shots that you hit. But one little mistake, or one mishit, and you’re fighting your way to save par," Zalatoris said.
Will Zalatoris of the United States plays a shot on the 14th hole during a pro-am event prior to the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Golf Course on March 02, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Co
McIlroy tees off from no. 10 at 8:27 Thursday morning. He's grouped with Sepp Straka and Adam Scott.
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