Graeme McDowell and Annika Sorenstam have been named as two of five new hosts for next month’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, the first edition of the event since the death of its namesake.
McDowell and Sorenstam, both Orlando-area residents, will be joined by PGA Tour veterans Peter Jacobsen and Curtis Strange, as well as former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. As tournament hosts, the quintet will take on roles traditionally held by Palmer, ranging from hosting pro-am parties to handing the trophy to the winner.
“Arnold was a force of nature, on and off the course,” McDowell said. “We can’t fill his shoes, but we can carry on his passion for helping others.”
Palmer was the driving force behind the creation of the Tour’s annual stop at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, and he made it his winter home for decades prior to his death on Sept. 25 at age 87.
In addition to the announcement of new hosts, the tournament also shared that a “special ceremony” will be held Wednesday, March 15 to commemorate the start of the tournament. Palmer’s golf cart and clubs will also be on display throughout the tournament week behind the 16th green, where the seven-time major champ often greeted players.
“Part of my dad’s legacy was to inspire others to care about things he thought were important,” said Palmer’s daughter, Amy Saunders. “With the help of his many friends, fans and followers, we intend to keep that light shining brightly.”