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BlogBridgestone Preview and Picks

WGC – Bridgestone Invitational

August 3rd – 6th, 2017

Firestone C.C. (South)

Akron, OH

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,400

Purse: $9.75 million

with $1,620,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Dustin Johnson

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field of 76 players includes 65 of the top 100 players and 49 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings.  The only top-50 player not in the field is Brandt Snedeker who is still nursing a rib injury.

Last year with the European Tour not being a part of the tournament because is conflicted with the French Open only 30 of the top-50 were in the field

The field includes 24 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2017, #23 Charles Howell III did not qualify.

The field includes 24 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list, with #23 Charles Howell III not playing.

The field includes just 3 past champions: Dustin Johnson (2016), Rory McIlroy (2014) and Adam Scott (2011)

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.

 

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 Porsche European British Open John Deere Scottish Open Greenbrier Classic Irish Open Quicken Loans French Open Travelers BMW Inter. U.S. Open
Jordan Spieth
(362 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(264)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T35
(10)
Matt Kuchar
(320.67 pts)
T32
(18)
DNP 2
(200)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(306.67 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(160)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
T42
(5.33)
Charley Hoffman
(264.33 pts)
2
(100)
DNP T20
(60)
T39
(11)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP 8
(33.33)
Tommy Fleetwood
(254 pts)
DNP DNP T27
(46)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T6
(40)
4
(53.33)
Xander Schauffele
(228.67 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(60)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T5
(46.67)
Brooks Koepka
(208 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
Rickie Fowler
(207.67 pts)
DNP DNP T22
(56)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
Marc Leishman
(204 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP T27
(15.33)
Daniel Berger
(176 pts)
DNP DNP T27
(46)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Bryson DeChambeau
(167.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
Win
(132)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Hideki Matsuyama
(162.67 pts)
DNP DNP T14
(72)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
Rory McIlroy
(158.67 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(160)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Branden Grace
(155.67 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.67)
Zach Johnson
(150.67 pts)
DNP DNP T14
(72)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T27
(15.33)
Paul Casey
(140.67 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(78)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP 26
(16)
Alex Noren
(130 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Henrik Stenson
(122 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(78)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
Jon Rahm
(120 pts)
DNP DNP T44
(12)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Patrick Reed
(114.33 pts)
DNP T19
(31)
CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T20
(20)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T13
(24.67)
Sergio Garcia
(112 pts)
DNP DNP T37
(26)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
T21
(19.33)
Andres Romero
(105 pts)
T70
(0)
DNP DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(88)
CUT
(-6.67)
Brian Harman
(96.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(10)
DNP T2
(66.67)
Jhonattan Vegas
(92 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
J.B. Holmes
(91.33 pts)
T14
(36)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP 12
(25.33)
Russell Henley
(90.67 pts)
DNP DNP T37
(26)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(15.33)
Andy Sullivan
(89.67 pts)
DNP DNP T70
(0)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP
Thorbjorn Olesen
(85 pts)
DNP T37
(13)
T62
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP
Gary Woodland
(80.67 pts)
4
(80)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP DNP 57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.67)
Kyle Stanley
(68 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP
Lee Westwood
(66 pts)
DNP DNP T27
(46)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
Wesley Bryan
(66 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T46
(2.67)
DNP 74
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Adam Scott
(64.33 pts)
DNP DNP T22
(56)
DNP T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Mackenzie Hughes
(60 pts)
T32
(18)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(20)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP
Bill Haas
(60 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Canadian Open Porsche European British Open John Deere Scottish Open Greenbrier Classic Irish Open Quicken Loans French Open Travelers BMW Inter. U.S. Open
Tyrrell Hatton
(-50 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Jeunghun Wang
(-46.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Russell Knox
(-43.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T62
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Adam Hadwin
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP T60
(0)
Paul Lawrie
(-32.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T44
(4)
DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(-32 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Pat Perez
(-31.67 pts)
DNP DQ
(-5)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Ryan Moore
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Francesco Molinari
(-18.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Fabrizio Zanotti
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP T67
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Before we begin:

As I told you last week I had a trip planned to France back in March.  What I didn’t know was that my wife and I would sell our house and have to move the day after I returned from France.  So a combination of the European trip and moving has made me late in this and we will not have a DraftKings this week.  Should get back on track my next week, again sorry for the delays.

 

The Buzz:

  • So this is were things start getting a bit crazy and shows why the schedule needs to change.  starting this week and over the course of the next nine weeks, there will be seven must play events for marquee players, first this WGC event, the PGA Championship next week, four FedExCup playoff events and then the Presidents Cup.  Think of it this way, going into the British Open Dustin Johnson had played in 13 events around the world since the season started last October.  Now in the span of 11 weeks staring at Birkdale Johnson (if he makes it all the way through the FedExCup which he should) will have played in 9 events.  As for Sergia Garcia he too has played in 13 events around the world, and including the British Open will play in 8 more events.  Rory McIlroy is even less, yes he has been injured but going into the British Open he played in only 11 events and between the British Open and Tour Championship he will play 7 more events (if he gets through all the playoff events).
  • The point of all this is that the schedule is way to top heavy at the end of the year.  Rumor is that the PGA will move to May and the WGC-Bridgestone could also move earlier.  That and the dropping of the Quicken Loans will make things a bit better with the season ending on Labor Day.
  • Still this event is a big deal and they do have 49 of the top-50 of the world rankings.
  • While we talk about Firestone, the winner will be one of the top-20 players on top the Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green stat.
  • The course is that good and needs a talented person from tee to green
  • 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.

Tournament information:

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is the fourth of the World Golf Championships for 2017, and it will return to Firestone Country Club for the 18th time in the tournament’s 19-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-Mexico 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 2016 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 (2017) and Bridgestone Open (2016) from the Japan Golf Tour;
  • Australian PGA Championship (Fall of 2016) from the Australasian Tour; Dimension Data Pro-Am (2017) from the Southern Africa Tour; and the order of merit leader on 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. Seven 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 70th toughest on the PGA Tour playing to an average of 4.253.  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.  The hole is always tough, last year it was the second hardest par 5 on the PGA Tour playing to a 5.180 average.  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 fourth-toughest hole of the week and 158th on the PGA Tour playing to a 4.163 average.

Last year the course played to a 71.416 average, making it the 7th hardest course on the PGA Tour.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at Firestone South:

This is based on the most vital stats for the Firestone South, based on data from the 2016 WGC-Bridgestone Championship and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2017.
Firestone is a relic to courses built in the 30s; long, straight, boring and tough. Firestone has been an important course on the PGA Tour, it’s had events just about every year from 1960 including the 1960, ’66 & ‘75 PGA Championship. Since 1999 it’s been the home to 16 of 17 WGC-Bridgestone and for 15 of those 16 years the course has played over par. Last year it played to a 70.97 average, almost a shot over par and was the 7th hardest course on the PGA Tour.

The course will play as one of the toughest courses of the year, it could surpass Augusta National which so far is the toughest course on the 2017 PGA Tour schedule at 1.9 shots over par. Making the course hard is from tee to green, Firestone fairways are tree lined with heavy rough and bunkered along with greens that hard to hit. Last year it was the hardest course on the PGA Tour to get it in the fairway and hardest greens to hit. Since 2005 every champion (except for Keegan Bradley in 2012 has finished in the top-four for the week in strokes gained Tee-to-Green so you can bet the farm that the winner will be in the top-10 of that stat for the year.
Winners rank in strokes gained Tee-to-Green for the week:
2016 – Dustin Johnson was 3rd
2015 – Shane Lowry was 4th
2014 – Rory McIlroy was 1st
2013 – Tiger Woods was 1st
2012 – Keegan Bradley was 21st
2011 – Adam Scott was 3rd
2010 – Hunter Mahan was 4th
2009 – Tiger Woods was 2nd
2008 – Vijay Singh was 1st
2007 – Tiger Woods was 1st
2006 – Tiger Woods was 3rd
2005 – Tiger Woods was 3rd
2004 – Stewart Cink was 15th

 It’s been wet in the Akron area this summer, in the month of july close to 4 inches of rain has fallen. After good weather in Canada, it’s going to be cloudy with Thunderstorms on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Be better for the weekend with no rain. Good news temperatures will go down each day with Saturday being 75 and Sunday 79.  With the rain, it will make the course play even longer so look for those that fly the ball like Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlory to have an advantage if the fairways are wet.

Every phase of the game will be examined at Firestone. First you have to hit it straight off the tee because the fairways are tree lined with strategy placed bunkers that are tough to get out of, along with rough that is 2 to 4 inches. Last year and in 2015 Firestone had the hardest fairways to hit on tour, so driving it will be important. Once you hit the fairway, hitting it into the greens is not easy, last year Firestone was the hardest in greens in regulation and 3rd hardest in 2015. So you can see, if you hit it long and straight like Johnson you are 1 up. In winning last year Dustin was 1st in strokes gained off the tee and 3rd in strokes gained tee-to-green. He was 2nd in driving distance, T-4th in accuracy and T-5th in greens in regulation, the reason he won.

Our third category is putting inside 10 feet, the reason why is because Firestone could have the easiest set of greens. They are a touch slow and flat, with very little undulation players make lot’s of putts, last year the field ranked 24th on tour and the players made 87.91% of their putts from ten feet in so if your having putting problems, you shouldn’t even show up. Lot’s of course like Erin Hills and Augusta that you have to putt well to win, but poor putters can have their week at Firestone..

Last is par-4 avearge, Firestone has 12 par 4s with 11 of them over 400 yards. The shortest is the first at 399, but there are seven par 4s over 450 yards so you have to play the par 4s good. The last seven winners has played them in a total of 53 under par, that’s an average of 8.83 under par. Last year Dustin Johnson played the 4s in 3 under, the worst of a champion since Tiger Woods in 2009 played them in 2 under par.

So you can see Firestone will set up a very interesting challenge for the players. In looking at past champions of the WGC-Bridgestone they are a remarkable bunch of great players.

*Fairway Accuracy: percentage of times a drive is in the fairway

*Greens in Regulation: Stat is great barometer on how good players manage their games around Congressional. Every year the players that hit lot’s of greens do well.

*Putting inside 10 feet: For all holes where putting distance was determined with a laser, the percent of putts made when the ball is less than or equal to 10 feet from the hole.

*Par 4s: The average score on all par 4’s played

Here are the 51 of the 76 players from this year’s field with stats from 2017:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to the full 51 players that have PGA Tour stats for 2017.

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, Vijay Singh 2008 and Shane Lowry last year) have won a tournament five months prior to their Firestone victory.

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

  • Don’t get tricked up by automatically picking a player high on the Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green.  Yes Dustin Johnson was always toward the top of the list in strokes gained but he has always struggled at Firestone, until last year.  The same this year for Sergio Garcia, he is 3rd in tee to green but in 15 visits to Firestone has been in the top=ten just twice, best was runner-up in 2014.  So sometimes stats don’t pan out.
  • 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 do 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 while in 2015 only two of the top-nine ruled.  Last year only five of the top-9 were in the top-ten in fairway accuracy, probably because of the rain.   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.  Forecast shows that thunderstorms will happen on Wednesday, 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.  Last year Dustin Johnson was T-4th in Fairways hit, 2nd in driving distance, T-5th in greens hit and T-10th in putting.  Can’t get any better than that.  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 Sam Brazel, Scott Hend, Shaun Norris or Renato Paratore or even Canadian Open champion Jhonattan Vegas win?  Not a chance, look for either one of the usual suspects or someone like a Matt Kuchar, Charl Schwartzel or even Rickie Fowler 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:

Dustin Johnson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
Win 53 T33 T19 T48 15 T22

Just like Tiger, he should win at Firestone just about everytime he plays it, I see good things from him again this week.

Paul Casey

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T16 17 T27 T45 T22 WD T8 T51 T4 T19

This guy is really tough, yes he isn’t a great putter and he has been prone to a triple bogey at the worst time, but gosh it’s his time to win.

Jordan Spieth

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T3 10 49

A big winner at the British, if his good putting continues he won’t be beaten this week

Best of the rest:

Kevin Kisner

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T16 37

Has all of the stats to play well on this course, he just has to get on a roll.

Rory McIlory

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Fired his caddy so he must be getting serious, he is ready to win again.

Rickie Fowler

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T10 10 T8 T21 T60 T2 T33

Has played well at Firestone in the past, he could surprise them all this week.

Sergio Garcia

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
37 2 T40 T29 T53 T22 T22 T36 T20 T22 T13

I am very guarded on Sergio, he just got married and sometimes love and golf don’t mesh. Still with his game should be good.

Matt Kuchar

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T3 25 T12 T27 T8 T19 T9

Plays well at Firestone, was in the running last year.

Solid contenders

Justin Rose

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T46 3 T4 T17 T5 T33 T19 T29 T27 T2

Has been very inconsistent since the Masters, his game is very good for Firestone and I think he will bounce back and play well this week.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T29

May not be the best from tee to green, but is a terror around the greens. Playing well right now. Francesco Molinari

Kyle Stanley

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T16

He is the hidden gem for this week has a good combination of hitting lot’s of greens and fairways, plays well on par 4s. Just weak in putting.

Long shots that could come through:

Charl Schwartzel

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T7 31 T4 T21 T24 T53 T58 T36

Another quiet season for him, he has had some good finishes at Firestone so watch him.

Kevin Chappell

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T3

Guy is worth the gamble, yes he doesn’t hit it straight enough or hit lot’s of greens, but he can score well.

Chris Wood

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T7

A very good long shot, played well in his only visit in 2013, look for him to sneak up this week.

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Why I don’t like him this week:

Brooks Koepka

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
WD 6

His stats are terrible and show him not being a great ball striker, I just don’t think he will play well this week.

Hideki Matsuyama

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T42 37 T12 T21

Another player whose game doesn’t suit Firestone.

Jon Rahm

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

I just don’t trust his driver and putter this week.

Bubba Watson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T14 2 T37 T27 T19 T21 T22

He is having a terrible season and think it will continue this week on a course he has done well on in the past.

Adam Scott

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T10 45 T8 T14 T45 Win T9 T51 T56 T36 T10 T36

What a mess of a year he is having, has not played well at Firestone since he won in 2011

Comments

  1. Jeff Aaron says:

    Adam Scott hasn’t played well at Firestone? T10, T8, T14? confused by that – he was going to be my pick ! Say it aint so Sal! Rory fired his caddy – how will that effect him? Thinking Chappell? so many questions…..

  2. Micahel M says:

    Kuchar Berger or Hoffman for 1 and done? Leaning to Kuch

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