Other than the major championships, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational starts a time in the year when we begin to see the strongest fields of the year, making Fantsy Picks more difficult. All WGC events offer extra FedEx Cup points, Race To Dubai standings, and with playoff, and Ryder Cup status on the line, everyone has come to play, and either win, or finish at the top of the leaderboard. It’s the best time to be a golf fan.
It’s even better this year because we will get our first look at Tiger Woods attempting to defend a title at Firestone Country Club, a venue he owns.
With eight wins in 14 starts, and a 68.23 scoring average, it’s very tempting to include the aging superstar in the Fantasy picks, but the reality of his situation is sobering, to say the least. I think the best we can hope for, is for him to make the cut, and finish in the top ten this week at a course where he has never missed a cut.
After what I saw at Hoylake two weeks ago, If Rory McIlroy comes to Firestone Country Club with any kind of game, he can be un-beatable. I think he answered the critics since his victory at the BMW PGA Championship inVirginia Waters, and winning his first Claret Jug, he put the exclamation point on where his golf game is today. It looks like all of the questions have been answered about his equipment change at the start of the 2013 season, and he doesn’t seem to be suffering after his break-up with Tennis Star Caroline Wozniacki. I think Rory is back, and is looking to erase the foul taste in his mouth from the horrible 2013 season. Rory has had three top 10 finishes at Firestone in five starts, and could well leave Ohio with the number one ranking.
It appears that although he has won only one tournament in his PGA career, Rickie Fowler is able to get his game up for big tournaments with world-classed fields. This has been evident since working with Butch Harmon to get extra distance out of his big stick. At 7400 yards, he will need everything in the bag this week at Firestone. Rickie finished T2 here in 2011, and has had some impressive finishes this year. He has done everything except win, and this could be the week where he breaks out with that big victory.
The 30 year-old Aussie has had some impressive finishes this year at tough venues against some pretty good fields. Firestone is the type of place he could pick up that break-out tournament. Leishman has had six top 25’s in his last eight starts, and had a T8 at Congressional to go along with a T3 at the Open Championship two weeks ago. Like Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman is ready to win.
Martin Kaymer didn’t play well on his last trip to Europe, but now he’s back on American soil where he won The Players, and the US Open at Pinehurst. He plays courses like Firestone very well, and I look for 28 year-old German to resume his march through the USA and put some good rounds on the board. He picked up his only top 10 last year with a T9, but has had a game resurrection since trying to make swing changes that didn’t work.
As long as he doesn’t get paired with Tiger Woods this week, look for Sergio to be strong at Firestone. Garcia has done everything this summer but win a tournament, he’s due. Firestone has always had his number, but Sergio has had co-runner up finishes in his last three starts including Royal Liverpool two weeks ago. Watch out for Sergio Garcia this week in Ohio.