Firestone Country Club, host to this week’s World Golf Classic (WGC) – Bridgestone Invitational, is one of several courses that Tiger Woods dominated in his heyday. Woods picked up seven wins here from 1999 to 2009. He finished eighth here last year – his best finish since that win in 2009. As such, Woods comes in to yet another PGA Tour event as a favorite. I’ll leave it up to you decide whether or not he deserves that distinction.
This track is a par 70 that measures a whopping 7,400 yards, making it the longest par 70 that the pros will face. It takes adequate length off of the tee to get in position for scoring opportunities. It’s going to be difficult for anyone to get a good luck at an eagle at the 667 yard 16th hole, however. Last year’s tournament saw the field find the fairway a measly 49.18 percent of the time. The guys that find the fairway on a consistent basis are going to have a huge edge this week – even more so than usual.
Woods is the favorite both because of his history here and the fact that he has played exceptionally well in non-major championships this year. You can’t really argue with that. He’s by no means a lock to take home the title, though. Louis Oosthuizen, who is taking two months off to heal his neck, is the only player in the top 50 of the official world golf rankings that will be absent this week. Defending champion Keegan Bradley will be looking to repeat by picking up his first win of the 2013 campaign.
WGC events bring together the brightest stars in the game. I don’t see any reason why this event won’t come down to the wire, like so many others have this year. And, just think, we have another major to look forward to next week with the PGA Championship followed shortly thereafter by the start of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It’s going to be a great few weeks on the PGA Tour.