The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will take place this week for the final time at Firestone Country Club’s South Course in Akron, Ohio. The tournament is set to move to TPC Southwind in Memphis, where it will be called the WGC-FedEx Invitational.
But before a new chapter is written, one must be finished. And what better way to cap the tournament’s history at Firestone than with the return of Tiger Woods to the event?
Woods has won eight times at Firestone, the most of any player. He will be joined by another strong WGC field that includes Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Justin Thomas.
Firestone Country Club’s South Course is a lengthy par 70 that plays to 7,400 yards. While there is some debate about the creativity of the golf course, it is a tough course that demands players hit fairways and greens. Some statistics to look at this week: strokes gained tee-to-green (SGTTG), par-4 scoring and bogey avoidance.
Here is a look at my top 25 fantasy-golf options for the WGC-Bridgestone:
1. Tiger Woods: Why not? The Firestone king has eight wins in 15 starts here. He has also finished outside the top 10 just three times in those starts. Just got into the field after finishes of T-4 at Quicken Loans and T-6 at British Open. Ranks sixth in SGTTG.
2. Dustin Johnson: Fresh off his victory at the RBC Canadian Open, where he shot 23 under. Won here in 2016, though hasn’t finished better than 15th in seven other trips to Akron. Ranks first in SGTTG, second in par-4 scoring and sixth in bogey avoidance.
3. Rickie Fowler: Has put together four straight top-10s at Firestone. Has finished 12th or better in three of last five worldwide starts. Ranks 27th in SGTTG, T-6 in par-4 scoring and fifth in bogey avoidance.
4. Jordan Spieth: Despite poor Sunday at British Open, he’s feeling confident. T-13 or better three times in four Bridgestone starts, including T-3 in 2016. Ranks 14th in SGTTG, T-3 in par-4 scoring and T-9 in bogey avoidance.
5. Rory McIlroy: Coming off T-2 at British Open. Five top-10s at Firestone include his victory in 2014. Ranks 10th in SGTTG and T-32 in par-4 scoring.
6. Justin Rose: Enjoying run of five straight top-10s. T-63 last year put a blemish on a Bridgestone record that includes five top-5s. Ranks 11th in SGTTG, first in par-4 scoring and third in bogey avoidance.
7. Henrik Stenson: Had posted four top-6 finishes in seven starts before T-35 at Carnoustie. Two top-10s but also four finishes outside the top 25 in 10 Bridgestone starts. Ranks third in SGTTG, T-3 in par-4 scoring and first in bogey avoidance.
8. Paul Casey: Got back on track with T-7 finish in Germany. Has nine top-20s in 13 trips to Firestone. Ranks eighth in SGTTG.
9. Jon Rahm: Tied for 28th in his Firestone debut last year, but that included a second-round 77. Throw out MCs in last two majors and he hasn’t finished outside top 5 since mid-May. Ranks 20th in SGTTG and T-3 in par-4 scoring.
10. Jason Day: Has two top-4s among five top-25s in eight starts at Firestone. But no top-10s on Tour since T-5 at Players. Ranks 39th in SGTTG, T-8 in par-4 scoring and 27th in bogey avoidance.
11. Tommy Fleetwood: Tied for 28th last year in Firestone debut, but continued his strong season with T-6 in Canada. Ranks 13th in SGTTG.
12. Zach Johnson: Has made 14 starts at Firestone with five top-10s, including a runner-up showing last year. In solid form with four straight top-20s. Ranks 31st in SGTTG, T-21 in par-4 scoring and 16th in bogey avoidance.
13. Justin Thomas: Not as sharp as he was earlier this season, but still a threat every week. Has yet to find groove in two starts at Firestone – T-33, T-28. Ranks fourth in SGTTG and T-6 in par-4 scoring.
14. Bubba Watson: Has missed two cuts since T-13 at Greenbrier and win at Travelers. Runner-up here in 2015 is his only top-10 in eight starts. However, he does have five other top-25s. Ranks 28th in SGTTG and T-11 in par-4 scoring.
15. Kevin Chappell: Followed T-3 in Bridgestone debut in 2016 with T-13 in 2017. Has yet to shoot par or worse on the weekend here. Coming off T-6 at British Open. Ranks 32nd in SGTTG.
16. Bryson DeChambeau: Poor final round in Germany kept him from winning on the European Tour. Making Firestone debut. Ranks 15th in SGTTG, T-21 in par-4 scoring and 44th in bogey avoidance.
17. Adam Scott: Among his six top-15s in last eight trips to Akron is his victory in 2011. However, has just one top-10 this season. Ranks seventh in SGTTG.
18. Brooks Koepka: Showed some fight late at Carnoustie, but then missed the cut in Canada. Was T-6 in Firestone debut in 2015 and tied for 17th last year here.
19. Tony Finau: Making first start at Firestone, but can compete on the big stage. His three top-10s in majors this season are proof. Ranks 16th in SGTTG.
20. Thorbjorn Olesen: Finished T-10 last year at Firestone. In last six worldwide starts, he has a win, T-2, T-6 and T-12.
21. Francesco Molinari: Making first start since winning British Open. But in seven starts at Bridgestone, he only has one finish inside the top 20. Ranks second in SGTTG.
22. Patrick Cantlay: Has yet to play Firestone, but is coming off T-12 at British Open. Ranks ninth in SGTTG.
23. Hideki Matsuyama: Went four starts without a top-10 at Bridgestone until winning last year. Has missed two straight cuts and hasn’t cracked top 10 since Kapalua. Ranks 33rd in SGTTG, T-11 in par-4 scoring and 28th in bogey avoidance.
24. Matt Kuchar: Cracked top 20 six times in nine starts at Firestone, including three top-10s. MC in last start at Glen Abbey, but was T-9 at Carnoustie. Ranks 15th in bogey avoidance.
25. Webb Simpson: Making first Bridgestone start since 2015. Best finish is a T-14 in 2013. T-12 at British Open in his last start. Ranks T-11 in par-4 scoring and T-7 in bogey avoidance.