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Sunday, July 28, 2013

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational - Preview

The game's elite will descend on Firestone Country Club (South) for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The par 70 measures 7,400 yards and is among the most complete tests of golf on the schedule every year. While some of the more recent tournaments in 2013 seem to favor 3-woods and irons off the tee for precision, that won't be the case at Firestone.

Does this track favor bombers? Accurate drivers? Good iron players? Good scramblers? Putters? In short, yes.

Ball-striking is imperative, with a tilt towards GIR. Length is very helpful, and guys that show up on courses that demand control of the driver are rewarded. As with most weeks, putting can cover a multitude of sins.

Here's what's happened at Firestone in the recent past:

  • 2012 - Keegan Bradley (-13) winner; Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk (-12)
  • 2011 - Adam Scott (-17) winner, Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald (-13)
  • 2010 - Hunter Mahan (-12) winner, Ryan Palmer (-10)
  • 2009 - Tiger Woods (-12) winner, Robert Allenby and Padraig Harrington (-8)
  • 2008 - Vijay Singh (-10) winner, Stuart Appleby and Lee Westwood (-9)
  • 2007 - Tiger Woods (-8) winner, Justin Rose and Rory Sabbatini (E)
  • 2006 - Tiger Woods (-10) winner, Stewart Cink (-10)
  • 2005 - Tiger Woods (-6) winner, Chris DiMarco (-5)
  • 2004 - Stewart Cink (-11) winner, Rory Sabbatini and Tiger Woods (-7)
It's a bit redundant to suggest that the winner's of this event are all world-class players, since this is a WGC, but there aren't any flukes up there. In fact, all of those winners with the exception of Mahan are major championship winners. They are also all in the prime of their careers for the most part (Singh peaked late). 

When considering stats, I'd take a look at ball-striking and GIR for starters. As a general rule, I would avoid shorter hitters because every other part of their game will be tested.

Woods will certainly warrant a hard look, but his success in this event largely mirrors his success in majors. Reconciling that correctly will be paramount. 

We will return tomorrow with power rankings. Our delve into the Reno-Tahoe Open will occur a little later in the week.

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