Matt Every wins Arnold Palmer Invitational for first PGA Tour victory

Matt Every wins Arnold Palmer Invitational for first PGA Tour victory
Matt Every lines up his birdie putt on the 14th green during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday. (Michael Cohen / Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Matt Every's comeback was now as complete as Adam Scott's collapse.

Winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday after being down as many as nine shots to Scott during the tournament was only part of his rally. Every had been down even further than that: The PGA Tour took away his playing privileges and, effectively, his livelihood with a 2010 suspension.


No wonder he at last dropped his stoic shield and choked back tears.

Every lightly pounded his fist on a table at his news conference, shaking his head, finally a tour winner.

"I …I …I can't believe I won. I just … I really can't," he said, his voice cracking.

The big silver trophy inscribed with Every's name was, appropriately enough, being shined by tournament officials.

Every, 30, has been trying to his clear up his image after being jailed on a charge of possession of marijuana two days before the John Deere Classic four years ago. He was arrested with two other men at a hotel after the staff complained about smoke coming out of a room on a non-smoking floor.

Every denied ever using marijuana.

"That was so long ago. That's not me at all," Every said.

The tour suspended him in his rookie season for three months. He missed too many tournaments and lost his tour card. He only rejoined the big boys after going through a mini-tour and qualifying school.

A line in his media guide biography says that Every considered getting back his card as his greatest achievement.

His first tour victory — coming at Bay Hill, where the Daytona Beach native and former Florida Gators star followed the pros as early as age 5 — tops his list now.

Trailing by four to start the final round, Every shot two-under-par 70 and endured a shaky finish to beat Keegan Bradley by a shot. Scott shot 76, crumbling with five bogeys to finish third, two shots back.

"Being close to winning out here can be kind of discouraging because if you don't win, you just wonder if it's ever going to happen ... maybe it's meant to be somewhere else, somewhere better," Every said.

"I don't see how it could get much better than this, being so close to where I grew up and all the fans that were cheering me on. And all the Gators fans. It was awesome."

Scott rushed out to a tournament-record seven-shot lead after rounds of 62 and 68. He lost steam on Saturday as the field closed in, cutting his margin to three shots heading into the final round.


The slow leak in his lead continued. Scott found himself tied with Every at the turn Sunday after shooting 38 on the front nine.

Scott then lost his share of the lead and his putting prowess. Every went ahead by two shots with birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 to get to 15-under while Scott settled for pars.

Scott then bogeyed No. 14 to trail Every by three strokes with four holes remaining.

"I was just a little out of sorts for whatever reason," Scott said.

Every bogeyed No. 16 and No. 18 to open the door for Bradley. But Every survived a wild run to the title that included a fortuitous cart-path hop for birdie, a near sand hole-out and a grassy downhill lie on No. 18, chipping toward water.

Every had to wait a torturous 10 minutes in the scorer's tent for Bradley to finish. He was expecting Bradley to make the 30-foot putt to force a playoff because, well, that's Every's luck.

"Then I heard the people outside cheering. And I knew he had missed," he said. "And I just couldn't believe it. I just wasn't ready for it, you know? It's really cool."

Every's comeback was complete — from suspension to tour win to Masters invite by beating Scott, the reigning Masters champ.

"It's not easy. I knew I just had to dig down and get it back," Every said. "It was a huge accomplishment to get back out here, yeah."