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BlogWGC-Bridgestone Invitational Preview and Picks

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

August 1 – 4, 2013

Firestone C.C. (South)

Akron, Ohio

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,360

Purse: $8.75 million

with $1,575,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Keegan Bradley

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 48 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings. The only players not in the field is Louis Oosthuizen, who is suffering from hip and neck pains.  He announced this week that he was shutting it down for a couple of months to allow his body to recover from all of the problems.  The other top-50 player not in the field is Hunter Mahan who withdrew from the RBC Canadian Open after leading going into Saturday for the birth of his first child, a daughter that was born over the weekend.  Mahan has taken this week off to be with his new daughter and wife.

The field includes 21 of the Top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Billy Horschel, Justin Rose, Bill Haas, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Kevin Streelman, Boo Weekley, Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, D.A. Points, Webb Simpson, Harris English, Graeme McDowell, Russell Henley and Lee Westwood.  Those not in the field are Hunter Mahan, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Charles Howell III.  Jordan Spieth made a decision to take a second straight week off to get ready for the PGA Championship.  A very strange choice not playing in one of the richest events of the year, but that is his style.

The field includes 4 past champions: Keegan Bradley (2012), Adam Scott (2011), Tiger Woods (2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2001, 2000, 1999), Phil Mickelson (1996)

The field includes 23 players that have won on the PGA Tour this year: Dustin Johnson (Hyundai Tournament of Champions), Russell Henley (Sony Open), Brian Gay (Humana Challenge), Phil Mickelson (WM Phoenix Open, British Open), Tiger Woods (Farmers Insurance, WGC Cadillac, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players Championship), Brandt Snedeker (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, RBC Canadian Open), John Merrick (Northern Trust Open), Matt Kuchar (WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, the Memorial Tournament), Michael Thompson (Honda Classic), Kevin Streelman (Tampa Bay), D.A. Points (Shell Houston), Martin Laird (Valero Texas), Adam Scott (Masters), Graeme McDowell (RBC Heritage), Billy Horschel (Zurich Classic), Sang-Moon Bae (HP Byron Nelson Championship), Derek Ernst (Wells Fargo Championship), Boo Weekley (Crowne Plaza Colonial), Harris English (FedEx St. Jude), Justin Rose (U.S. Open). Ken Duke (Travelers), Bill Haas (AT&T National) and Jonas Bilxt (Greenbrier),

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the WGC Bridgestone field is our performance chart listed by average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at  WGC Bridgestone in the last five years or check out our brand new and sortable 8-year glance at the  WGC Bridgestone.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Player Canadian Open British Open Sanderson Farms John Deere Classic Scottish Open Greenbrier French Open AT&T National Irish Open Travelers Championship BMW International U.S. Open FedEx St. Jude Classic
Phil Mickelson
(489.33 pts)
DNP
 
Win
(264)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Win
(132)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T2
(66.67)
T2
(33.33)
Henrik Stenson
(336 pts)
DNP
 
2
(200)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T3
(90)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T10
(26.67)
T21
(19.33)
DNP
 
Brandt Snedeker
(262 pts)
Win
(132)
T11
(78)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T8
(33.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T17
(22)
CUT
(-3.33)
Ian Poulter
(220.67 pts)
DNP
 
T3
(180)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T25
(16.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T43
(4.67)
DNP
 
T21
(19.33)
T51
(0)
Zach Johnson
(213.33 pts)
DNP
 
T6
(120)
DNP
 
T2
(100)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T58
(0)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
Ernie Els
(208.33 pts)
T21
(29)
T26
(48)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Win
(88)
T4
(53.33)
DNP
 
Lee Westwood
(203.33 pts)
DNP
 
T3
(180)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
74
(0)
DNP
 
T15
(23.33)
DNP
 
Matt Kuchar
(185.33 pts)
T2
(100)
T15
(70)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T49
(0.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T28
(14.67)
DNP
 
Adam Scott
(183.33 pts)
DNP
 
T3
(180)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T57
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T45
(3.33)
DNP
 
Hideki Matsuyama
(180.67 pts)
T16
(34)
T6
(120)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T10
(26.67)
DNP
 
Dustin Johnson
(170.67 pts)
T2
(100)
T32
(36)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T18
(21.33)
55
(0)
T10
(13.33)
Harris English
(164.33 pts)
DNP
 
T15
(70)
DNP
 
T15
(35)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T34
(10.67)
DNP
 
T43
(4.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Win
(44)
Richard Sterne
(162.33 pts)
DNP
 
T21
(58)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T31
(19)
DNP
 
2
(66.67)
DNP
 
T22
(18.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Bubba Watson
(143.67 pts)
T21
(29)
T32
(36)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T30
(13.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
4
(53.33)
DNP
 
T32
(12)
DNP
 
Tiger Woods
(132 pts)
DNP
 
T6
(120)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T32
(12)
DNP
 
Angel Cabrera
(126 pts)
DNP
 
T11
(78)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T13
(24.67)
DNP
 
T9
(30)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
Francesco Molinari
(124.67 pts)
DNP
 
T9
(90)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T42
(8)
DNP
 
T18
(21.33)
DNP
 
T32
(12)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
Jonas Blixt
(124 pts)
DNP
 
T26
(48)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
Win
(88)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
T43
(4.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Jason Day
(122 pts)
DNP
 
T32
(36)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T21
(19.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T2
(66.67)
DNP
 
Shane Lowry
(120.33 pts)
DNP
 
T32
(36)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T31
(19)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T5
(46.67)
DNP
 
T22
(18.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
Paul Casey
(117.33 pts)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T24
(26)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Win
(88)
DNP
 
T53
(0)
T45
(3.33)
DNP
 
Charl Schwartzel
(116 pts)
T28
(22)
T15
(70)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
14
(24)
DNP
 
Jamie Donaldson
(114.67 pts)
DNP
 
T32
(36)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T6
(40)
DNP
 
T10
(26.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T32
(12)
DNP
 
Martin Kaymer
(114 pts)
DNP
 
T32
(36)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T13
(24.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T4
(53.33)
T59
(0)
DNP
 
Martin Laird
(101.33 pts)
DNP
 
T44
(12)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T5
(70)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T54
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T21
(19.33)
DNP
 

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Player Canadian Open British Open Sanderson Farms John Deere Classic Scottish Open Greenbrier French Open AT&T National Irish Open Travelers Championship BMW International U.S. Open FedEx St. Jude Classic
Michael Thompson
(-43.33 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
D.A. Points
(-40 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
T54
(0)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
Thorbjorn Olesen
(-40 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
67
(0)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
Scott Piercy
(-33.33 pts)
T52
(0)
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
Derek Ernst
(-26 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
T44
(4)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-3.33)
Rory McIlroy
(-20.67 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T41
(6)
DNP
 
Satoshi Kodaira
(-20 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Toru Taniguchi
(-20 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
Peter Hanson
(-15 pts)
DNP
 
WD
(-10)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
WD
(-3.33)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
T35
(5)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(-14.67 pts)
DNP
 
CUT
(-20)
DNP
 
DNP
 
T38
(12)
DNP
 
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 
DNP
 

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

It will be an interesting week for Tiger Woods.  Pressure is mounting for him to win, not only this week but the last major of the year.  He has been more than confident going into the first three majors and has had poor final rounds only to say that he played well.  This week is a weird week, before 2011 he owned this event, winning seven times and finishing in the top-four ever year from 1999 through his win in 2009.  Things changed, the following year he finished T8th followed by a T37th finish in 2011 and then a dismal 78th place finish last year.

So the question is can he pull it off, thus adding more pressure to his PGA Championship performance.

Many will be watching Phil Mickelson who returns after his British Open win.  He joins the other major winners Justin Rose and Adam Scott, who will all be looking to get rid of the stigma of being a major champion winner that has gone flat with their game.

 

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the WGC-bridgestone-invitational:

Key stat for the winner:

Firestone is one of the most respected courses on the PGA Tour.  The par-70 layout plays to over 7,400 yards and if there is a key to the course its the long par 3s and par 4s.  Three of the par 3s play over 200 yards while eleven of the twelve par 4s play over 400 yards and  eight play over 440 yards.  You have to be accurate with your drives, as the fairways are very well bunkered and bordered with high rough.  Shots into the greeens, usually with long irons, have to be precise and if the players do get a break its in the greens, they are pretty flat with very little undulations.  The list of champions is pretty impressive but underdogs have won the event.  Its also interesting to note that since 1995 all of the winners (except for Darren Clarke in 2003 and Vijay Singh 2008) have won a tournament five months prior to their Firestone victory.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • Since the course will play at more than 7,400 yards, the “experts” will say bombers hold an advantage. Still as you will see length is not the only strength you need to play well at Firestone.  Average hitters like Jim Furyk, David Toms and Stewart Cink have done well at Firestone, so does long hitters have an advantage, yes because Tiger seems to win a lot but don’t discount the shorter hitter.
  • Accuracy will rule this week. The fairways are very narrow and the rough has always played a factor.    Of the 20 players that have finished in the top-five in the tournaments first three years, 15 of them have finished in the top-20 of the driving accuracy category.  Things changed drastically in 2007 as only five players out of the top 21 finished in the top-ten of the driving distance category.  In 2008 of the players in the top-19, only four were in the top-ten. The same in 2009 as of those in the top-15 the best rank in driving accuracy is T10th.  In 2010 only two players out of the top 22 finished in the top-ten of fairways hit.  Things got better in 2011 as six of the top-six were in the top-15 while in 2012 ten of the top-15 were in the top-20   So if fairways get dry this week, look for accuracy to again not being the King this week.
  • The only problem is that the course will not be dry.  Lot’s of rain have dropped in the last month and a thundery Thursday and Saturday making the course play soft, despite winds and clear skies on Friday and Sunday.
  • Now in the years that Woods has won, hitting greens was the key to victory, but in the two years that Darren Clarke and Stewart Cink won, putting was the key.  In 2009 greens hit was the key to victory for Tiger as he ranked T2nd in that stat, while in 2010 Hunter Mahan was T8th in greens hit and T4th in number of putts.  In 2011 Adam Scott was T9th in greens hit and T4th in putting while in 2012 Keegan Bradley was T11th in greens hit and T2nd in putting  So which one is the favorite?  I have to say that the ball striker will always win.
  • Does a non-marquee guy have a chance this week?  Could Kiradech Aphibamrat, RIchard Sterne orJonas Bilxt win?  Not a chance, look for either one of the usual suspects or someone like a Lee Westwood who really wants to do well in a big events.  As for an underdog, no chance as underdogs have not fared well at Firestone.

Who to watch for at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Best Bets:

Adam Scott

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T45 Win T9 T51 T56 T36 T10 T36 T55 T64

Think he is the smartest bet this week, has won before at Firestone and always finds a way to stay in contention. Scott is always a good bet.

Phil Mickelson

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T43 T48 T46 T58 T4 T46 T54 T51 T43 T23 T9 T8

Think his good form will continue, he feeds off of good play and he is putting the best of any time in his career. He too is a good bet.

Tiger Woods

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T8 T37 T78 Win Win Win Win T2 T4 4 Win

Now normally this is a great bet, but has played terribly the last three years running. Important week for him to show that he still has it without having to hear his lame excuses for his poor play.

Best of the rest:

Brandt Snedeker

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T50 T33 T43

We saw this good run of play last year as he again has things rolling again.

Matt Kuchar

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T8 T19 T9 T38

Can’t forget him and his good record on this course. He seems to win like every three months and it’s been about 3 months since his last victory.

Justin Rose

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T5 T33 T19 T29 T27 T2 T33 5

His type of course, he has three top-five finishes along with runner-up finish in 2007.

Henrik Stenson

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
80 T29 T16 T41 T31 T13

Have to watch him this week, he is in the groove and you never know what that could mean.

Solid contenders

Steve Stricker

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T2 14 T9 T6 T43 T41

Even with a limited schedule seems to always be in contention, look for the same this week.

Ian Poulter

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T29 T68 T65 T15 T16 T30 T13 T33 T33 T13

He is playing great golf, this could be a good course for him.

Rickie Fowler

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T60 T2 T33

His game is not that great right now, but this could be a good week for him on a course he has had success on.

Hideki Matsuyama

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

You know I will always ride this guy hard after his last couple of finishes

Long shots that could come through:

Paul Casey

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T45 T22 0 T8 T51 T4 T19 T16 T17

Looking to regain his game, has been sharp over in Europe and that could rub off on this week.

Boo Weekley

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T46 T58 T66 T30

This is a ball striker course and he should do well despite some bad finishes

Branden Grace

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T36

He could be a good pick this week on this course

Not this week

Rory McIlroy

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T5 T6 T9 T68

Still have no faith in him, his game seems to be getting worst instead of better. So the best bet is not to touch any part of him.

Comments

  1. alex munro says:

    your right about Hideki ,i bet him each way in the last two majors, will win soon, may be good enough for a place here,
    in saying that Woods is still the one to beat and whom I expect to win.

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