ORLANDO, Fla. (February 19, 2021) – Rory McIlroy, World No. 7, and Rickie Fowler, winner of five PGA TOUR titles, join defending champion and fifth-ranked player in the world Tyrrell Hatton as top players who have committed to play the 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, scheduled for March 4-7 at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla.
McIlroy, who has 18 PGA TOUR victories, won the event in 2018, while Fowler is a former tournament ambassador.
Last year, Hatton carded a 72-hole score of 4-under-par 284 to earn the privilege of slipping-on the famed red Arnold Palmer cardigan. In the fall of 2020, Hatton won the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship, and in his first start of 2021, he claimed the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (also European Tour) on Jan. 24, 2021 to vault to a personal best No. 5 world ranking.
Hatton is one of eight players in the world’s top 20 who have already committed to play in Central Florida’s signature sporting event. The group includes:
Additional tournament champions committing to the Arnold Palmer Invitational field include Marc Leishman (2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational champion, last year’s runner-up and 2020 tournament ambassador); Jason Day (2016); Martin Laird (2011); Tim Herron (1999); Paul Goydos (1996); and Robert Gamez (1990).
Notable sponsor exemptions include U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker (12 PGA TOUR wins), U.S. Vice-Captain Zach Johnson (12 PGA TOUR wins, 2007 Masters winner, 2015 Open Champion) and European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington (three-time major champion and six-time PGA TOUR winner).
The 120-player field also includes 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett; 2014 PGA TOUR FedExCup champion Billy Horschel (a native of Grant, Fla. and a University of Florida alumnus); World Golf Hall of Famer and 2007 Arnold Palmer Invitational winner Vijay Singh (three-time major champion and 34-time PGA TOUR winner); and 2020 U.S. Amateur champion Tyler Strafaci, a Davie, Fla. native.
Other tournament sponsor exemptions include 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell; University of Florida product, four-time PGA TOUR winner and 2008 FedExCup runner-up Camilo Villegas; Kamaiu Johnson, APGA Tour standout, who is based in Orlando; 2019 and 2020 European Amateur champion and University of Louisville senior Matthias Schmid, of Germany; John Augenstein, the 23-year-old Vanderbilt grad, 2020 SEC player of the year, who finished T-55 at the Masters in November. Schmid and Augenstein are two-time members of the Arnold Palmer Cup who played in the event both in 2019 and 2020.
The $9.3 million Arnold Palmer Invitational will award $1,674,000 and 500 FedExCup points to its 2021 champion.
“Historically we’ve had a consistently accomplished and well-rounded player field, and I believe we’re off to a terrific start this year. Also, we expect to announce additional player commitments soon,” said Joie Chitwood, Vice President of Corporate Development for the Arnold Palmer Group and Tournament Director for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. “As for our current champion, Tyrrell Hatton’s game has taken off since he won the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to Bay Hill next month, along with our wonderful fans.”
The 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational was the last PGA TOUR event to host fans at full capacity through the tournament’s completion.
In coordination with local health officials and the PGA TOUR, attendance this year will be limited to 25 percent of capacity, and multi-day tickets will not be available. Rather, day-specific tickets will be offered for general admission, priced at $65 for Thursday; $75 for Friday; $80 for Saturday and Sunday. Mastercard cardholders will receive exclusive pricing, a $5 discount, on general admission tickets.
Fans will only be permitted on site for days of competition rounds; no fans will be allowed for practice rounds or Pro-Ams earlier in the week. Also, fans will be required to present a valid digital ticket to enter tournament grounds via a contactless admissions process; ticketing is all-digital this year.
There will be no shuttle service for the tournament. On-site parking passes can be purchased for $50 each day. There will also be a rideshare drop-off on site. All tickets and parking must be purchased in advance. There will be no walk-up sales.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard will follow the PGA TOUR fan safety guide to promote a safe environment and quality experience on the golf course.
Limited hospitality for corporate partners will be featured on holes 8, 14, 16, 17 and 18. All skyboxes will be open-air with plenty of room for guests to keep a safe distance from one another.
About the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, March 4-7, 2021, is Central Florida’s signature sporting event and a highlight of the PGA TOUR, attracting the greatest names in golf. All proceeds from the tournament benefit the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation, which supports efforts on behalf of children’s health, youth character development, and nature-focused wellness.