A Quick Look at the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational
This week the PGA Tour stops in Akron, Ohio for the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club (South Course). While Hideki Matsuyama was the 2017 winner, it’s also worth noting that Tiger Woods has amassed an incredible 8 career wins at this event!
WGC – Bridgestone Invitational History
The WGC – Bridgestone Invitational is one of the annual World Golf Championship events. It was established in 1999 as a successor to the World Series of Golf. The event was formerly sponsored by NEC, and was known as the WGC – NEC Invitational. The tournament switched sponsorship to Bridgestone in 2006, establishing its current name. The 2018 event will be the last one hosted at Firestone Country Club since the 2019 event is scheduled to take place in Memphis, Tennessee.
As part of the World Golf Championship, this event was founded as a four-man invitational in 1962 and featured the current winners of the four major championships in a 36-hole event. They played for $75,000 in unofficial prize money hosted by NBC. In 1976, it became a 72-hole, $300,000 PGA Tour event and expanded to 20 players.
Current WGC events typically field half the amount of players of a standard PGA event. Rules for WGC events are –
- Playing members of the last named Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup teams (whichever was played last)
- Players ranked among the top 50 on the Official World Golf Rankings (one week and two weeks prior to the event)
- Tournament winners of worldwide events since the prior year’s tournament with an Official World Golf Rankings Strength of Field Rating of 115 points or more
- The winner of one selected tournament from each of the PGA Tour of Australasia, Sunshine Tour, and Asian Tour
- The winner(s) of two selected tournaments from the Japan Golf Tour
Firestone Country Club History
The Firestone Country Club is a private club located in Akron, Ohio. The club comprises of 3 courses, the North, South, and West. In 1974 the property hosted 3 televised events, the American Golf Classic, the CBS Golf Classic and the World Series of Golf. The North and West course currently serves as the home course for the University of Akron Zips golf teams.
Harvey Firestone commissioned the club in 1929 as a park for the employees of his Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. The South course was first in 1929, designed by Bert Way. Robert Trent Jones redesigned the course in 1960 ahead of the PGA Championship, it went through another redesign in 2007 by Golforce. The North course was designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1969. The West course was designed by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva in 1989. The West course went through a redesign in 2002 by Tom Fazio. In 1994 a driving range was added and became the first part of the club that was allowed public access. In 1995 they opened a 9-hole course, Raymond C. Firestone, to the public. Currently, ClubCorp operates the property.
- Thursday – 1:30 – 6:30 p.m – Golf Channel
- Friday – 1:30 – 6:30 p.m – Golf Channel
- Saturday – 12:00 p.m – 1:45 p.m – Golf Channel / 2:00 – 6:00 p.m – CBS
- Sunday – 12:00 – 1:45 p.m – Golf Channel / 2:00 – 6:00 p.m – CBS
Top Thursday Round 1 Pairings
- 9:30 – Brandon Stone, Brooks Koepka (#10)
- 9:50 – Brendan Steele, Russell Knox (#1)
- 10:00 – Jordan Spieth, Matthew Fitzpatrick (#1)
- 10:10 – Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama (#10)
- 10:20 – Tiger Woods, Jason Day (#10)
- 1:40 – Matt Kuchar, Tommy Fleetwood (#1)
- 1:40 – Ian Poulter, Zach Johnson (#10)
- 1:50 – Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose (#1)
- 2:00 – Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson (#1)
- 2:10 – Dustin Johnson, Francesco Molinari (#1)
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