Welcome to GOLFstats.com! You are currently viewing one of our Preview and Picks post that we publish each week. We also publish special Performance Charts for the tournaments, analyzing results over the past 8 years, a special DraftKings Picks Post, analyzing what picks are the best this week for the DraftKings games, and we do a weekly Key Fantasy Stats Post detailing what stats are most important for this weeks tournament and course, and which players excel in those stats. Very useful!
Our data is updated daily. To access all this info, and so much more, just CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for GOLFstats!

BlogWGC-Bridgestone Preview and Picks

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

August 6th – 9th, 2015

Firestone C.C. (South)

Akron, Ohio

Par: 70 / Yardage:

Purse: $9.25 million

with $1,570,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Rory McIlroy

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.  #1 Rory Mcilroy (ankle problems) and #22 Chris Kirk (broken hand) aren’t in the field.

The field includes 24 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2015, # 8 Rory McIlroy won’t be playing.

The field includes 24 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list, with #5 Rory McIlroy not playing.

The field includes 27 players that have won 33 of the 39 events on the PGA Tour this year: Sangmoon Bae (Frys.com Open), Ben Martin (Shriners Hospitals); Robert Streb (McGladrey Classic), Ryan Moore (CIMB CLassic), Bubba Watson (WGC-HSBC Champions & Travelers);  Charley Hoffman (OHL Classic at Mayakoba); Patrick Reed (Hyundai T of C);  Jimmy Walker (Sony Open in Hawaii & Valero Texas Open), Bill Haas (Humana); Jason Day (Farmers & RBC Canadian); Brooks Koepka (WM Phoenix); Brandt Snedeker (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am), James Hahn (Northern Trust); Padraig Harrington (Honda Classic); Dustin Johnson (WGC-Cadillac); Jordan Spieth (Valspar, Masters, U.S. Open & John Deere); Matt Every (Palmer); J.B. Holmes (Shell Houston); Jim Furyk (RBC Heritage); Justin Rose (Zurich Classic of New Orleans);  Rickie Fowler (Players); Steven Bowditch (Byron Nelson); David Lingmerth (Memorial); Fabian Gomez (FedEx St. Jude); Danny Lee (Greenbrier); Zach Johnson (British Open) and Troy Merritt (Quicken Loans).

Those winners not in the field are Nick Taylor (Sanderson Farms Championship); Alex Cejka (Puerto Rico); Rory McIlroy (WGC-Cadillac Match Play & Wells Fargo); Chris Kirk (Crowne Plaza Colonial) and Scott Piercy (Barbasol).

The field includes 4 past champions: Keegan Bradley (2012), Adam Scott (2011), Hunter Mahan (2010) and Phil Mickelson (1996)

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.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the WGC-Bridgestone  field in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the WGC-Bridgestone  field.

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.

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

24/7 GOLF

How would you like to have Total Golf Knowledge At Your Fingertips??

We have the perfect solution for you.  If you own a Iphone or a Ipad we have developed a perfect app called 24/7 GOLF.

It gives you everything that you need to know about golf, you have all the players results and every tournament result, again at your fingertips.  It’s very easy to use and you can take a good amout of GOLFstats with you everyplace.  No need to get home and check things out on your computer at home, you can answer any question with your Ipad.

So check it out, just hit this link to get 24/7 GOLF:

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.01.34 AM

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

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

Player Quicken Loans RBC Canadian European Masters British Open Barbasol John Deere Classic Scottish Open The Greenbrier French Open Travelers BMW Intern. U.S. Open FedEx St. Jude
Zach Johnson
(364 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(264)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP 6
(40)
DNP T72
(0)
DNP
Jordan Spieth
(336 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(160)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP
Jason Day
(322 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP T4
(160)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(260 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(200)
DNP DNP DNP T73
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP
Danny Willett
(238.67 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
T6
(120)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Rickie Fowler
(221.33 pts)
2
(100)
DNP DNP T30
(40)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Danny Lee
(218 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Sergio Garcia
(218 pts)
DNP DNP 6
(60)
T6
(120)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP
Justin Rose
(215.33 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP DNP 74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP
Marc Leishman
(194 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(200)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Bubba Watson
(186 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Brooks Koepka
(182 pts)
DNP T18
(32)
DNP T10
(80)
DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
T3
(30)
Robert Streb
(160 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(64)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP
Matt Kuchar
(147 pts)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP
Adam Scott
(133.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP
Brendon Todd
(132.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(76)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
David Lingmerth
(130 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP T74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Branden Grace
(128.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(60)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP
Jim Furyk
(125.33 pts)
DNP 4
(80)
DNP T30
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP
Patrick Reed
(125.33 pts)
DNP DNP T16
(34)
T20
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP
Martin Kaymer
(116 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(76)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(115.67 pts)
DNP DNP T31
(19)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T27
(15.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Anirban Lahiri
(110 pts)
DNP DNP 5
(70)
T30
(40)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Phil Mickelson
(102.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(60)
DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T64
(0)
T3
(30)
Henrik Stenson
(102 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T40
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
T27
(15.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Quicken Loans RBC Canadian European Masters British Open Barbasol John Deere Classic Scottish Open The Greenbrier French Open Travelers BMW Intern. U.S. Open FedEx St. Jude
Stephen Gallacher
(-50 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Matt Every
(-41.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
WD
(-1.67)
Ian Poulter
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP
Sangmoon Bae
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Liang Wen-Chong
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Oliver Wilson
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Koumei Oda
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mikko Ilonen
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Andrew Dodt
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Thomas Bjorn
(-13.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP T47
(2)
DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

  • This week is going to be very interesting.  First you have the story of Jordan Spieth, will he continue his great season with a win this week?  He can accomplish a lot in the next 8 weeks between winning his first WGC event, being only the third person behind Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods to hold three majors in a single season if he could win at Whistling Straits and then win the FedEx Cup playoffs.  The way Spieth has played over the last six months these look like easy endeavors but the courses that are next up, Firestone and Whistling Straits aren’t courses that favor Spieth’s game.  Let’s look at Firestone for this week’s WGC-Bridgestone, it’s a course that you have to hit lot’s of fairways and greens.  Since the greens are flat and easy, being a good putter doesn’t have the same meaning as they did for Spieth at Augusta, Chambers Bay and St. Andrews.  As for yearly stats, Spieth is 74th in driving accuracy and 38th in greens in regulation.  These are two keys, especially driving that Spieth needs to improve on in order to play well.  Last year Spieth finished 49th at Firestone with rounds of 71-70-73-71, showing that there wasn’t anything he liked about Firestone.  We saw this at the Players Championship, another course that doesn’t cater to the way Spieth plays the game and he missed the cut.  So the point is, don’t think that Spieth will be automatic this week at Firestone, he will have to rework some parts of his game to play well, something that players like Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods did so well in their careers.
  • You also will have the story of Zach Johnson, who has had two weeks of R&R to reflect on his Open Championship victory and see if he could possibly catch Spieth for yearly honors.  In order to do that he needs to win at Bridgestone, then the PGA Championship followed by taking the FedEx Cup playoffs.  This is a possibility but highly unlikely to happen, but it’s still a great thing to dream about.  As for Johnson, he has had some success at Firestone finishing in the top-ten, three times including a T-4th in 2013.  Johnson has the stats to do well this week, he is 3rd in driving accuracy, T-34th in greens hit but the one thing that worries me is that he is T-107th in proximity to the hole, something that is important in making birdies at Firestone.  But two stats give Johnson an edge on playing well this week, he is T-28th in Par 3 scoring average and T-7th in par 4 scoring average, two points important in playing Firestone with it’s long and demanding par 3s and par 4s.  I can see Johnson contending on Sunday and if he has another great day with the putter anything is possible
  • It’s hard to believe that guys who were a key in this event a decade ago, guys like Tiger and Vijay and Stewart Cink aren’t in this event this year.  For guys like Ernie Els and Luke Donald are taking the week off while guys like Davis Love III, Tom Lehman and Jeff Maggert are off on the Champions Tour.  Of all these players it’s no problem, but to think that Tiger, who won this event eight of the last 16 years doesn’t have a spot.  Hey look at it this way, if Tiger continues to play in this manner for the next four years, by 2019 the only big events Tiger will be able to get into is the Masters, British Open and PGA Championship.  Results do matter.  Same for Rory McIlory, with him not playing this week if Jordan Spieth wins he takes over Rory’s #1 title, which he took over last year with his Bridgestone win.  Another question is if Rory will be at Whistling Straits, I don’t think so.  At the British Golf Writers dinner at St. Andrews, Rory’s friend Darren Clarke had a bit of a slip up by saying to all that he was looking forward to McIlroy’s comeback when he starts playing early next year.  Kind of tells you something that we all don’t know.

WGC-Bridgeston information:

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is the fourth of the World Golf Championships for 2015, and it will return to Firestone Country Club for the 16th time in the tournament’s 17-year existents.  The first couple of years of this event it was a limited field affair open to members of previous Ryder Cup and President’s Cup team members, but it changed to reflect the way the WGC-CA Championship picks its players.

The qualification has changed over the years. For a player to qualify, he must meet at least one of the required stipulations:

have been a playing member in the 2014 Ryder Cup team; be ranked in the Top 50 in the official World Golf Rankings one or two weeks prior to the event; or win a worldwide event with an Official World Golf Ranking field strength of 115 points or more in the last calendar year.

Lastly the winner of the following tournaments from each of the following Tours:

Japan Golf Tour Championship (2015) and Bridgestone Open (2014) from the Japan Golf Tour;

Australian PGA Championship (2014) from the Australasian Tour; Dimension Data Pro-Am (2015) from the Southern Africa Tour; and Thailand Golf Championship (2014) from the Asian Tour.

Firestone South has been the site of the events and before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational began, the course was the site of the World Series of Golf.  From 1962 through 1975 it was a four-man showdown of the four major winners.  The format changed in 1976 when it became a special invitational which invited around 50 professionals.  In the history of that event only two players had won it twice, Greg Norman in 1995 & ’97 and Jose Maria Olazabal in 1990 & 1994.  Olazabal wins were unique, the first one in 1990 set a lot of records that nobody had been able to touch.  The win in 1994 was a bit different because it was held on the North course, the only time in the World Series that the tournament was played over there.  What happened a month before the tournament, all of the greens on the South course mysteriously died.  At most tournaments this would cause a big stir but not at Firestone, they just switched things across the street on the North Course, which was the venue for the American golf classics in the 70s.  To add a nice touch Olazabal added another World Series crown and thus can say that he is the only player to win on both of Firestone’s two golf courses.

In 1998, the World Series of Golf stopped, and the World Golf Championship started play at Firestone and had held the event every year except for 2002 when it was held at Sahalee Country Club just outside of Seattle, Washington.

Course information:

  • Firestone Country Club (South Course)
  • Akron, Ohio
  • 7,400 yards     Par 35-35–70
  • Firestone C.C. has been a major part of golf for over 60 years.  Since 1960, the South Course had held a PGA Tour event with the except of two years, in 1994 when the greens died, and the tournament was moved across the street and in 2002 when the event was played in Seattle, Washington.  The South Course has gone through several changes in its 85-year history.  It was originally designed by Bert Way and opened in 1929.  30 years later in 1959 the course was completely remodeled by Robert Trent Jones, who made the course what it is today.  In 1986 Jack Nicklaus did some touch-up work.
  • The course has held more professional tournaments than any other course in America except for probably Augusta, Colonial and Pebble.  In 1954, it was the site of the Rubber City Open which was held for five years.  In 1960, the course was the venue of the PGA Championship and two years later held the World Series of Golf.  Since 1960, the South Course had held a PGA Tour event with the except of two years, in 1994 when the greens died, and the tournament was moved across the street and in 2002 when the event was played in Washington. It also has held three majors the 1960, ’66 & ’75 PGA Championship.  The club also held eight CBS Golf Classics and 14 American Golf Classics.  In the late 50s and early 60s it was also the site of the CBS Golf Classic, which was one of the first made for TV golf series.  So there is no two ways about it, Firestone is at the forefront of professional golf.
  • The South course features Pencross Bent Grass and Poa Annua on the tee boxes, fairways, and greens. The 3/8″ cut in the fairway provides good roll off the tee, while the skimpy 0.10″ cut on the greens makes for extremely quick putting surfaces. The 4″ cut of Kentucky Blue Grass and Perennial Rye Grass in the rough is plenty long enough to penalize golfers for errant tee shots.
  • Above all, the South Course at Firestone is noted for its length at 7,400 yards, the Par 70. It features a 76.1 course rating and 132 slope rating. Though the slope of the course isn’t too dramatic, the course still puts up a test simply because of its length. The Par 5 16th is a microcosm for the course. At 667-yards, it is one of the longest Par 5’s on Tour. A green-side pond captures errant second shots by golfers trying to reach in two as well as third shots from golfers who hit a poor tee shot. Five years ago it played a big part in Tiger Woods victory when he was tied with Padraig Harrington until the Irishman took 8 on the 16th hole.
  • Other difficult holes include the 471-yard par 4, 4th hole which requires a long, straight tee shot followed by a high, soft approach shot to hold the elevated green.  Last year it was the toughest hole on the course and 108th toughest on the PGA Tour playing to an average of 4.225.  The second hardest hole on the course and the 164th toughest on the PGA Tour in 2014 was the ninth, the 494 yard par 4 that played to an average of 4.171. The 667-yard Par 5, 16th was given the nickname of “The Monster,” which was made famous by Jack Nicklaus’s miraculous par at the 1975 PGA Championship en route to a come from behind victory.  It also has one of the best finishing holes in golf, the 464-yard Par 4 18th that is very narrow and is protected by bunkers to the front of the green.  Last year it was the tenth-toughest hole of the week and 400th on the PGA Tour playing to a 4.047 average.
  • Last year the course played to a 70.389 average, making it the 18th hardest course on the PGA Tour.

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

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 (1999-2001), 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.  In 2013 nine of the top-12 were in the top-11 while in 2014 only three players were in the top-20 out of the top-11.   So if fairways get dry this week, look for accuracy to again be the King and secret to playing well this week at Firestone.
  • The only problem is that the course will not be dry.  Lot’s of rain have dropped in the last month and rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday.  After that the rain goes away for the weekend, but the course will again be soft, helping those that don’t drive it straight.
  • 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.  In 2013 Tiger Woods was 2nd in greens hit and T-5th in putting while in 2014 McIlroy was T-1st in greens hit and T-42nd 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 Thongchai Jaidee, Anirban Lahiri or even the Quicken Loan champion Troy Merritt win?  Not a chance, look for either one of the usual suspects or someone like a Henrik Stenson, Hideki Matsuyama or Jim Furyk who really wants to do well in a big event.  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:

Justin Rose

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T4 T17 T5 T33 T19 T29 T27 T2 T33

In Rose we have our favorite this week. That is because everything points favorably to him, he ranks T-18 in greens hit and T-71 in fairway accuracy. His driving accuracy isn’t anything to jump up and down about, but you see that he is 3rd in proximity to the hole from the rough that gives us another good piece of data that shows that he can do well. Rose has played in the Bridgestone ten times with four top-tens, his best was T-2 in 2007. What really gives him the edge, his good play of late with a T-6th at St. Andrews and T-4th at Quicken Loans in which he ranked T-27 in driving accuracy on a tight RTJ course. So he has the best “numbers” of anyone in the field to win this week.

Henrik Stenson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T19 T2 80 T29 T16 T41 T31 T13

Currently 1st in greens hit and 5th in driving accuracy, he finished T-2nd at Firestone in 2013. His play in 2014 has been very inconsistent with no top-15s in majors but I can see that all chaning this week.

Rickie Fowler

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T8 T21 T60 T2 T33

Kid says it’s one of his favorite places, he did finish T-2nd in 2011. He is 59th in fairway accuracy but T-106th in greens hit so stats say that he won’t have a great week, but stats don’t tell the whole story.  Fowler is in the zone right now and I would say he can play anywhere with no problems.

Best of the rest:

Jordan Spieth

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
49

Firestone is not his type of course, he will have to work hard in keeping drives in the fairway and trying to hit more greens. But he is up for the challenge, he is now 22 years old, lets’ see if he can continue the good playing.

Keegan Bradley

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T4 T2 Win T15

Always plays well, is 36 under in just 16 rounds, Bradley does hit it straight off the tee (ranked 54th in driving accuracy) but needs to improve in hitting greens. Still the course does seem to perk him into his best play.

Sergio Garcia

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
2 T40 T29 T53 T22 T22 T36 T20 T22 T13 T16 T30

Great ball striker and knows what to do on tight courses, he was 2nd last year and could improve upon that this week.

Jim Furyk

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T15 T9 T2 T23 T6 T51 T27 3 T24 T22 T6

We know what he can do from the tee and how good he is in hitting greens, has nine top-tens in just 15 starts including a T-2nd in 2011.

Solid contenders

Zach Johnson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T23 T4 T40 T6 T33 T15 T16 T11 T36 T9 T22

You have to wonder if in the last two weeks off that Johnson wasn’t thinking, “hey, I could have a chance to catch Jordan’s great numbers.” To achieve that he has to win this week and next, then win the FedEx Cup. Possible, but not likely I think Johnson will have another good week at Firestone.

Hideki Matsuyama

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T12 T21

The guy has all the numbers to do well, he is 37th in driving accurancy and 9th in greens hit. Look for a great week out of him.

Adam Scott

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T8 T14 T45 Win T9 T51 T56 T36 T10 T36 T55 T64

Past winner at Firestone, he is 2nd in greens hit, 26 under in last 20 rounds on this course and could break out of his year long slump.

Patrick Reed

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T4

Played well last year.

Matt Kuchar

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T12 T27 T8 T19 T9

Always straight off the tee and hits lots of greens, he is on the edge of playing well.

Long shots that could come through:

Marc Leishman

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
3 T45

Looking to improve on the outcome from the British Open, hey don’t rule him out was T-3rd last year.

Brendon Todd

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T45

Watch him, is 7th in driving distance.

Martin Kaymer

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T56 T9 T29 T29 T22 T60 T68

Hasn’t done much in 2015, could be a good week for him.

Guys that just don’t play well at Firestone:

Bubba Watson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T37 T27 T19 T21 T22

In a lot of people’s mind he will be among the favorites, but the numbers don’t point to Watson having a great week. In five previous stats he has only finished in the top-20 once, T-19th in 2012. In 20 rounds at Firestone he has been under par nine times and shot par four times. But his over par rounds seem to come up every year he plays, which shows a lack of confidence of playing the course. The fact that he ranks 138th in fairways hit and 50th in greens hit is probably reasons for him not playing well this year.

Jason Day

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
WD T53 T29 T4 T22

Another player who could struggle this week at Firestone. He did finish T-4th in 2011, but the rough was down that year which probably helped him. Since then he finished T-29th in 2012, T-53rd in 2013 and withdrew last year after shooting 74-71. Day hits the ball long but is terrible in accuracy, ranking T-171st this year. In his career on the PGA Tour, Day has never been better than 131st so this could spell problems for Jason. He does do well in greens hit, ranking 28 this year, but if he is hitting out of thick rough that stat won’t help him.

Dustin Johnson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T33 T19 T48 15 T22

Again another guy that has problems keeping it in the fairway. That is probably the reason that in five previous starts his best finish is only T-15th in 2010.

Comments

  1. James Gittleman says:

    Sal: After saying that accuracy and GIR seem to be the key. Under ‘Best Bets’ you listed Rickie on or near the very top. Your comments were “Kid says it’s one of his favorite places, he did finish tied for 2nd in 2011. He is 59th in fairway accuracy but tied for 106th in greens hit so you have to think he will do well. ???????? You lost me at 106th in GIR!

  2. Boy James, have to agree with you, that was very poorly written. Will fire the writer.

    It’s been updated and you should understand it better.

  3. Justin C says:

    Seems like the weather has flipped for Thursday and Friday..

  4. It’s hard these long range weather forecasts. Now it says that it’s going to be rain-free all four days, that’s great news.

  5. I am liking how Danny Lee has been playing and was wondering how you think he will do this week? As well as Lingmerth? and thanks as always for all the great stats and info Sal. Love this site!

  6. Sorry but Danny Lee doesn’t have the same experience as Lingmerth in big events. Look how bad Lee played at St. Andrews, think Lee needs a bit more seasoning at majors and big events. So to answer your question, Lee won’t get into the top-25 this week.

  7. Not a backer of Lee either, but tough to compare his Links form at the open as a negative I would expect.

  8. Sal Sal Sal….I did listen to your logic about Danny Lee and removed him from half of my fantasy teams but luckily I listen to my gut as well and left him on half:)

  9. Mark, it’s only the first round, early days. But I was surprised at how well Lee played today.

  10. Oh I know it’s early but I still wanted to razz you a little. Quite a few surprises today.

  11. G Mac?

  12. Yes G Mac is a big surprise, he hasn’t had a top-25 finish since he was T-9th at Dubai in January.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.