Bay Hill to play to par 70 for Arnold Palmer Invitational

Updated: February 6, 2007, 2:15 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press