Arnie's Army Set To March For a Worthy Cause


Although this is the 36th edition of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, a lot of thought has gone into each tournament to make sure that the next one exceeds the last.

"We start thinking about the next tournament as soon as the last putt drops on the previous one," Arnold Palmer says about the tournament that bears his name here at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. "We think about it all the time to make it better. What can we add? What could we possibly do a little better?' I find it exciting to try and meet the challenge of making a golf tournament as good as it can be. I enjoy that.

"I like what we have done through the years," Palmer adds, "but I am never satisfied. And I've been that way with things my whole life."

Two activities that complement a full day of practice rounds on the Championship Course show how Palmer and his tournament team continue to improve the prestigious invitational and its abilities to raise money for charities.

Once again the special charity project called, "Arnie's March Against Children's Cancer," will be held starting at 4 p.m. EDT. Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard invite fans to join dozens of young cancer patients, hundreds of family members, friends, supporters and special guests for a one-mile walk around the Championship Course. This year's March has already raised more than $125,000 for cancer research and clinical trials at Arnold Palmer Hospital Registration begins at 3 p.m. at the hospitality area alongside the 8th green. BMO Harris Bank and PetSmart help sponsor the event.

New this year is the Astellas Executive Women's Day, which offers a daylong forum focusing on various topics important to professional women, including economic advancement, corporate leadership, career development and network expansion. The program begins with breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and is expected to provide executive-level women an opportunity to experience the first-class amenities at PGA TOUR events and to interact with sponsors, volunteers and staff during a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. The program runs until 4:30 p.m.

More excitement is on tap Wednesday starting at 7:30 a.m. off both the first and 10th tees with the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard Pro-Am.

The tournament begins Thursday but that doesn't mean the charity endeavors end. Dr. Phillips Charities will again contribute $5,000 to Orlando Health for every eagle made during the tournament through the "Eagles for Arnie Program." Day beds, which allow parents to stay with their children while at the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital, were purchased with the $180,000 contributed last year.

It's these special extras that Palmer relishes as much as the competition, particularly when he thinks about how much money has been raised for Arnold Palmer Hospital and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. He has used his decades of experience with tournament golf around the world to make the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard a top-notch event.

"I think about where we came from and how far we've come, it's very special how successful it's become," Palmer says. "Every year we have new objectives that we want to achieve. I've tried to take everything I've learned about tournament golf and put it into this event."