BAY HILL, Fla. – After the biggest moment of his career, Keith Mitchell has little time to celebrate with the Arnold Palmer Invitational set to begin on Thursday.
Last Sunday, Mitchell beat out Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler with a 9-under 271 at the Honda Classic to earn his first PGA Tour victory.
Just two days later he was at a presser for the Palmer, discussing how the win exceeded his own expectations.
“Way more. The reason is, I was doing it for what I feel personally was the right reasons,” he said, in the media tent near the tennis courts of the facility. “I was doing it for the love that I had played golf forever, and loved competing.”
Mitchell sank a 15-foot birdie on Sunday’s final hole, capping an incredible finish where he birdied four of the last seven holes.
“The best thing about winning was the feeling from the time the putt went in the hole and the time I got it out of the hole. That 15-to-20 seconds is the feeling that every single player on the PGA Tour is out here for,” he said.
Mitchell came into the Honda Classic ranked 162nd in the world and was up against a talented field that included three of the top 10 world golfers. His victory shot him up to 68th in the World Golf Rankings and earned him congratulatory texts in the thousands from friends and competitors.
That’s all in the rearview mirror, though, as he has the tough task of refocusing for the upcoming tournament.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational field includes eight of the world’s top-10 ranked golfers this week but Mitchell isn’t letting that throw him off his game.
“The thing about the PGA tour is all 150 every week can win. We’ve proven that every year, a ‘no-name’ guy wins,” Mitchell said.
“You’re competing against some of those top 10 players this week, they might have a larger chance at victory but there are still 150 other guys this week and they all have a chance to win.
“That’s what makes the PGA so difficult.”