Altvater: WGC-Bridgestone begins 8 pressure-packed weeks for world’s top golfersWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
More than six dozen players representing 18 countries will tee it up on Thursday at fabled Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
The Bridgestone consists of an elite field of the top players in the world. The total purse is $8.5 million with approximately $1.4 million going to the winner. It is a no-cut event so even the last place finisher will earn a nice check for the week.
Players can earn an invitation to the WGC-Bridgestone in four categories.
- All members of the 2011 International and American President’s Cup teams are invited.
- Winners of official tournaments on one of the recognized tours over the past 12 months. The tournament must have an Official Golf World Ranking Strength of Field of at least 115 points
- Winners of the following world events: Japan Golf Tour Championship, Bridgestone Open (Japan Golf Tour), JBWere Masters, Dimension Data Pro-Am and the Iskandar Johor Open.
- The top 50 ranked players on the Official World Golf Ranking as of July 23 and July 30, 2012.
Webb Simpson is the only player currently eligible for the WGC-Bridgestone that will not be in the field on Thursday; he is at home with his wife who is expecting their first child.
Adam Scott won the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone, beating out Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald by four shots.
Tiger Woods has won WGC events at Firestone Country Club seven times over the past 13 years. Other past winners at Firestone include Craig Perry, Darren Clarke, Stewart Cink, Vijay Singh and Hunter Mahan.
The South Course at Firestone Country Club plays to 7,400 yards and is a par-70. The fairways are tree-lined and narrow. The greens are always very fast with subtle breaks.
There are only two par-5 holes on the course and No. 16 can be stretched to 667 yards from the championship tees. Very few players will be able to reach it in two shots.
With the completion last week of the third major championship of 2012, the Open Championship at Royal Lytham, many of the top players take a break this week and skip the RBC Canadian Open.
This is the busiest and most pressure-packed time of the year for the world’s best golfers. Over the next eight weeks the players will play for:
- $8.5 million at Akron.
- $8 million for the PGA Championship.
- $8 million for each of the four FedEx Cup Playoff events.
- $10 million to the FedEx Cup Champion.
That makes $58.5 million reasons why a player wants his game to peak over the next eight weeks.
Tiger Woods, with three wins in 2012, leads the FedEx Cup points list.
Can he collect another WGC-Bridgestone win? Can he add another Wanamaker Trophy for his 15th major title? Can he pick up his third FedEx Cup Championship and the $10 million that goes with it?
There are a lot of questions be answered on the PGA Tour over the next seven weeks.
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