Firestone Country Club hosts the warm-up for the PGA Championship, as Pundit Arena previews the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio measures 7,400 yards, which is massive for a par 70. A prestigious tournament featuring a stacked field (minus Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy), the Bridgestone Invitational takes place right in the heart of the action – sandwiched between two Majors.
With just 77 high-quality players in the field, there will be no cut this week.
Previous winners and runner ups:
2010 – Hunter Mahan – Ryan Palmer
2011 – Adam Scott – Luke Donald, Rickie Fowler
2012 – Keegan Bradley – Jim Furyk Steve Stricker
2013 – Tiger Woods – Keegan Bradley, Henrik Stenson
2014 – Rory McIlroy – Sergio Garcia
- Recent Open Champion Zach Johnson owns three top-10 finishes at Firestone, including a tie for fourth in 2013.
- Of the past 20 winners crowned at Firestone, just one doesn’t also have a major championship to his name – Hunter Mahan (h/t PGATour.com).
- Thongchai Jaidee’s highest finish here in six attempts is 32nd.
- Jim Furyk has six top tens in his last twelve appearances, with three in his last five.
- Justin Rose finished fourth last week at the Quicken Loans National, along with a tie for sixth at The Open.
- Hideki Matsuyama has made the cut in his last nine events.
- Keegan Bradley’s recent record around Akron reads as: 2012: 1st, 2013: 2nd, 2014: 4th.
Third here last year, the Aussie will be itching to get back into contention after his playoff loss at the Open Championship. In addition, Leishman made the top five at The Memorial this year, along with two further top tens at two other WGC events – the HSBC Champions and the Cadillac Match Play.
Marc is good with the mid-irons – he is first on Tour in approaches from 150-175 yards, which is convenient at a long Firestone.
Woodland came through for us at the Wells Fargo Championship, tying for fourth. A runner up at the Cadillac Match Play this year, Gary is tenth in driving distance, ensuring that the lengthy set-up will pose him few problems relative to most of the field. Finished 19th here in 2014.
A winner of two previous WGC Championships (HSBC and Cadillac), Johnson has the game to dominate such a long course. The trouble is, he could well be suffering from the trauma of his losses at the US Open and Open Championship.
The longest hitter on Tour may find his comfort zone this week rather than next week.