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WGC-Bridgestone: Taking their talents to Akron

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By Stan Kosinski

GolfWRX Contributor

The PGA Tour travels this week to Northeast Ohio for the World Golf Championships — Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.

The field, highlighted by seven-time winner Tiger Woods, includes the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings, the members of the 2011 United States and International President’s Cup teams, official tournament winners from the Federated Tours since the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational, including the Japan Golf Tour Championship (2012), the  Bridgestone Open (2011), the JBWere Masters (2011), the Dimension Data Pro-Am (2012) and the Thailand Golf Championship (2011).

Notable players this week include defending PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, K.J. Choi, World No. 1 Luke Donald, Jason Dufner, 2012 Open Championship winner Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Bill Haas, Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, 2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson and defending champion Adam Scott.  This year’s U.S. Open Champion, Webb Simpson, will again not participate as he decided to remain home with his wife and newborn daughter for the second event in a row.

The idea for a series of events which would include the very best players and courses from around the world surfaced at the 1996 President’s Cup.  Golf’s five professional governing bodies, the PGA Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia the and Sunshine Tour reached an agreement then on several key elements in order to create several new international events beginning in 1999, forming the International Federation of PGA Tours to develop these tournaments. Jeff Maggert won the first event held at La Costa Resort Accenture Match Play on the 38th hole of the 36 hole championship match. Maggert chipped in for birdie to beat fellow American Andrew Magee.

In the World Golf Championships Era, no other player has dominated these events like Tiger Woods. Beginning with his first win at the 1999 NEC Invitational (now the Bridgestone Invitational), Woods has 16 official titles in the World Golf Championships, which equals 22 percent of his 73 career wins.  He has won the Bridgestone Invitational a total of seven times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009).  With another win this week he would tie Sam Snead’s record of winning one event a total of eight times. Needless to say his record shows that he is very comfortable on this stage and on this golf course.

Firestone Golf and Country Club is in Akron, Ohio, and was originally designed by Bert Way in 1928.  The course was later remodeled by Robert Trent Jones in 1960 and offers a total of 54 holes to it’s membership, the North Course, the West Course, and the South Course, which hosts the Bridgestone Invitational.

The South course measures 7400 yards from the Championship tees with a course rating of 76.1 and a slope of 132.  The par-70 layout was ranked 18th out of 51 courses in difficulty on the PGA Tour in 2011.  Featuring 82 bunkers and three water hazards, tight fairways, and greens that will be running about 13 on the stimpmeter come tournament time, Firestone is always a test for the world’s elite players.  The pros will also have to once again contend with the 667 yard par five 16th, dubbed “The Monster”.  It is a hole where the tournament can be won, or lost, with a single errant stroke. Get ready for some unbelievable shot making and high drama once again at the Bridgestone Invitational.

Click here to see hundreds of WITB photos and galleries from the 2012 WGC

And click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Dominika

    Nov 5, 2012 at 1:42 am

    The one time I had a perfect (for me) round of golf I ncieotd that the game seemed extremely simple. The rest of the time, I wonder how it can be so complicated to try and reproduce that simplicity. Zen golf gets to the root of this and offers a path there, and the opportunity to have that round at any time. Joseph Parent’s advice applies to all levels of golfers and is a guide to consistent and reproduceable results. It is one of those rare books on golf that doesn’t fill your head with things to consider while you play, it does the opposite by showing you how to clear your head and in doing so clear away the obstacles that prevent us and our bodies from naturally performing the way we are capable of. I expect that the short time it took me to read this book will have a long-lasting effect on the way I will play golf from now on, and I am in the process of reading it for a second time.

  2. Troy Vayanos

    Aug 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I love this event as it’s like another major golf tournament with most of the worlds best players on show.

    Be very interested to see how Adam Scott plays after the British Open and hoping he does very well.

    Tiger Woods will be hard to beat back on home soil and has a fantastic record in this event.

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The California cruise on the PGA Tour came to an end at Riviera, as it always does. Tiger Woods played poorly over the George Thomas classic, as he always does. Oh, and Bubba Watson showed why he is not in the ranks of ballers Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland. Big wins were earned from Australia to Florida, by 22 year olds and 41 year youngs. Our tour rundown runs gathers results from five unique tours, and breaks each triumph down for you. Have a glance at this week’s Tour Rundown.

Watson returns to form with third Genesis Open win

There are too many ledes to unearth for this one: Horses for courses or Mercurial Watson, or how about My wife’s the hoops star, I’m the golfer? Whatever was in that Tracy McGrady rejection on Friday night was the medicine Bubba Watson needed to return to the winner’s circle. Along the way, Watson schooled the 20-somethings (and even the other Lefty) on how to close the deal in Hogan’s Alley.

How Watson came back from near-retirement

While the siren song of the candy store, car dealership and baseball team might have been strong, Bubba Watson wanted to be a champion golfer again. After nine, up-and-down holes (3 birdies and 2 bogeys) on Sunday, Watson was looking up at Patrick Cantlay, Kevin Na and even Phil Mickelson. Not to worry, as the Florida portsider had played the inward half under par all week. Watson closed with 3 birdies and 0 bogeys over his final 9 holes, sealing a 2-stroke win over Na and Tony Finau.

See the clubs Bubba used to win the 2018 Genesis Open

How a quartet missed out

Let’s summarize: Na played the back side in 1-under par and needed Watson’s 3-under for a playoff; Tony Finau was 2-under on the closing half, but needed double that for extra holes; Phil Mickelson bogeyed 15 and 16 when he knew that birdies were needed; Patrick Cantlay played 1 over in his final 9, when 2-under would have meant playoff. All the also-rans and almost-weres didn’t do what Watson did: close the deal.

Jin Young Ko secures Australian Open on LPGA Tour

It’s a stretch to call Jin Young Ko an LPGA player, as her first 9 wins came on the LPGA of Korea tour. In October and now in February, Ko bested world-class fields to win co-sanctioned events, and is now a two-time LPGA champion. At this rate, it might be difficult for her to remain tethered to the Korean tour.

How Ko won the week

A 7-under 65 on Thursday was the fuel Ko needed to take a lead that she would not relinquish. Although Katherine Kirk matched that number on Sunday, no one was able to wrest the advantage from the 22-year old Ko. Two rounds of 69 and one of 71 brought her to 14-under on the week. On day four, Ko started quickly with two opening birdies. A pair of bogeys on the outward half kept her within sight of the field, but birdies at 9, 13 and 17 were the recipe for re-establishing her three-shot margin of victory.

How she kept the field at bay

The challenging Kooyoonga golf club was not very free with low rounds this week. Ko’s compatriot Hyejin Choi, posted a flawless 67 on Sunday to move up one spot, into solo second at 11-under. In third and fourth were a pair of Australians, Hannah Green at 10-under and the aforementioned Katherine Kirk, at 9-under. Marina Alex was the low USA golfer at 7-under, tied for fifth spot with Minjee Lee.

Oman Open on European Tour

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How Wood and others came up shy

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Durant welcomes second PGA Tour Champions title at Chubb Classic

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How that quintet fell away

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Daniel Fox surprises at Australian PGA championship

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How Fox found the winner’s platform

Fox might say he was the last man standing, and none would argue. The runners-up had chances at birdie at the final hole, but neither one could convert. Fox counted three rounds of 65 and one of 67 on his card.  On the week, he had three bogeys and one double, against 21 birdies and one eagle. In an event where the margin ‘twixt victory and not-victory was razor-thin, Daniel Fox shaved the final whisker.

How Millar and Jeffress came up short

The easy answer would be: they didn’t birdie the 72nd hole. Jeffress had the low round (63) of the week, but his 67-67-66 lost ground on the other three days! As for Millar, one might point to his last two, outward nines. On both weekend days, he made nine consecutive pars to open his round. Against a par of 33, it wasn’t bad, but he gained no ground on the leader. Millar’s stat line for the week read: one eagle, 21 birdies, six bogeys. Yup, nearly identical to Fox, but nearly is the operative word.

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Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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