ORLANDO, FLORIDA | The temperature was nudging 90 degrees Thursday afternoon, warm even by central Florida standards this time of year, and what felt like a summer breeze was blowing across Bay Hill as the Arnold Palmer Invitational began its march toward Sunday afternoon.
Arnold Palmer's golf bag stands as a reminder of the man himself. Photo: Richard Heathcote, Getty Images
By lunchtime, Rory McIlroy had already positioned himself atop the leaderboard, 18 holes closer to potentially winning the champion’s red cardigan for a second time.
It’s not a stretch to suggest that McIlroy is the closest thing the professional game has to Palmer these days, though Phil Mickelson’s fans would argue otherwise. McIlroy has the qualities Palmer admired – he’s genuine, looks people in the eye and has a magnetism as big as his game.
It’s telling that McIlroy marks the Arnold Palmer Invitational in ink, not pencil, when he’s planning out his playing schedule each year after years of taking the week off, not fully realizing what he was mis...
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