The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational gets under way on Thursday morning at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio and all eyes will be on the defending champion, Tiger Woods. This should be the event that answers a ton of questions including the health of Tiger Woods, can he compete down the stretch to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, and is he ready for the 2014 Ryder Cup?
I felt that the most important thing that happened at the Open Championship two weeks ago was Tiger Woods making the 36-hole cut. I know he wasn’t a factor in the dominating performance that we saw from Rory McIlroy at Hoylake, but he was able to get two more competitive rounds under his belt before coming home to defend his last victory on the PGA Tour.
The Bridgestone Invitational is a 72-hole event where we will see 76 of the world’s best golfers compete for $9 Million dollars and 550 FedEx Cup points in a no-cut tournament.
All 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings(OWGR) have committed to play at Firestone this week, including the number one, Adam Scott, and the current number two, Rory McIlroy. Tiger Woods has won eight times at this tournament, and is the defending champion.
If Tiger Woods, and Phil Mickelson want to make the 2014 Ryder Cup, they need a victory, or a good finish this week. It”s time!
The Firestone Country club has been hosting this event since it’s inception in 1999. Tiger won the first three tournaments with his most dominating win coming in 2000 when he posted a record 21 under par.
The Firestone Country Club South Course is 7400 yards, and plays to a par of 70. The South Course was opened in 1929, and originally designed by Bert Way with a 1960 redesign by Robert Trent Jones.
Originally a perk for top-performing employees of Harvey Firestone, the venue has hosted the PGA of America events, the World Series of Golf, and began the Bridgestone Invitational in 1999.
In 14 World Golf Championship tournaments since the 2011 season, Tiger Woods is the only player to win twice. He won two last year, including the WGC-Cadillac, and Bridgestone. Two youngsters have won the first two WGC tournaments this year, Patrick Reed at Doral, and Jason Day at the Accenture in Arizona.
With most eyes on Tiger this week, there are a couple of players I want to see perform. First, and foremost, can Rickie Fowler keep up the string of strong finishes against a world-classed field.
This is a great tournament to kick-off the fall season which includes the PGA Championships, FedEx Cup Playoffs, and the Race To Dubai.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1:30-6:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, noon-1:30 p.m. (GC); 2-6 p.m. (CBS).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).