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Scott increases heat on McIlroy ahead of milestone year for 'the King's' elite event

The Australian is heading into this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational on the back of two wins and a second-place finish.

Adam Scott
Adam Scott

PLAYING IN THE Arnold Palmer Invitational is about more than just the US$6.3 million (€5.7m) purse on offer.

It’s about respect for one of golf’s biggest and most popular names.

The famous tournament reaches the grand old age of 50 this year, and sees a number of big names return to the Bay Hill Club.

Palmer, or “the King” as he is often referred to, will not be as active as he once was on the course, with the 86-year-old starting to “feel his age”, according to his grandson and pro golfer Sam Saunders but the tournament has still pulled the big names.

Two-time defending champions Matt Every returns as he chases a hat-trick, while in-form Australian Adam Scott will be looking to up the pressure on world numbers two and three Rory McIlroy and Jason Day after superb two wins.

Tiger Woods became one of only four players to win any PGA Tour tournament four times in a row when he won from 2000 to 2003 and Every is halfway to completing the same feat after taking out the last two Arnold Palmer Invitational tournaments.

He enters this year’s edition in horrid form, however, having failed to make the cut in three of his six PGA starts this season, including two of his last three.

Scott, on the other hand, has two wins and a second-place finish from his last three starts, having won the Honda Classic and the WGC Cadillac.

His compatriot and world number three Jason Day will also be contesting after a quiet start to 2016, while world number two McIlroy also features in a star-studded line-up.

Course fit for a king

Arnold Palmer. Source: Danny Lawson

Palmer bought the Bay Hill Club in 1977 after falling in love with the course as a player.

Since taking control, he has redesigned the 72-par course which sprawls over 270 acres and offers some of the toughest holes to be played on the tour.

Day and  McIlroy under pressure

With Scott cranking up the pressure on the top three golfers in the world, he will be delighted to be getting a crack at McIlory and Day.

That means the pressure is on the Northern Irishman and Australian, who have made quiet starts to 2016 by their standards.

McIlroy has played five events this year for two third place finishes, while Day has just one top-10 finish to show from his four starts.

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