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Mastercard’s partnership with Arnold Palmer Invitational going strong

Arnold Palmer Invitational

ORLANDO – The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard was for years the King’s party, played at the course he took over in the 1970s and where he lived. Even after his playing days ended, he was the main draw, inspiring elite PGA Tour players to make the annual trip to Bay Hill Club & Lodge. 

When Palmer passed away in 2016 at the age of 87, there was some concern about what might become of the tournament that bears his legendary name. Would top players still come to Bay Hill if he wasn’t there to present the red sweater to the winner? Would sponsors? It’s not uncommon for Tour events that lose their title character to suffer in ensuing years. 

As it turns out, there was nothing to worry about. The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard is still one of the Tour’s top tournaments — now elevated as a premium signature event with a limited field of stars. And the players still remember the man known at Bay Hill as Mr. Palmer. 

“I feel like a lot of kids like myself growing up, you would see this and it’s a massive event,” said Max Homa, the World No. 8 who sits tied for ninth place after the first two rounds this year at Bay Hill. Homa, who has finished in the top 25 each of the four years in which he has played at Bay Hill, now represents Mastercard on Tour. 

“We have been so lucky with everything that he’s left us and built for us, that I think anytime his name is attached to anything, I feel you want to attach yourself to it, if that makes sense,” Homa said the night before this year’s tournament began. “I feel like we owe him. I would imagine he would disagree, but we owe him to kind of keep progressing things in the right way. Especially at his event.”

Mastercard feels the same way as it celebrates its 20th year as sponsor of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. 

A sign at Bay Hill welcomes fans to the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. (Jason Lusk/Golfweek)

The relationship between Mastercard and the tournament is one of the longest-running on Tour, and Mastercard has committed considerable capital and efforts to make the event special, including raising the purse to $20 million. That’s up from a $6.2 million purse offered 10 years ago. This year’s winner will pocket $4 million. 

And Mastercard’s involvement goes far beyond the purse. The company’s branding is ubiquitous at Bay Hill, from the flags on the greens to the seats in the premium event spaces. Mastercard holders receive discounts on tickets and are…


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