Woods and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at FirestoneWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Firestone Country Club in Akron is hosting the 16th WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this week. Firestone has been the site of a PGA Tour event since 1962 when the old World Series of Golf was won by Jack Nicklaus.
Over the years the name for the golf tournament has changed, but the golf course hasn’t.
Firestone is one-of-the-best 7,360 yard, par-70 golf courses in the world. The tree-lined fairways bend and roll with the hilly terrain and slick greens create severe problems for the professionals.
The course was originally opened for play in 1929 as a park to provide a respite for Firestone employees. Two more courses, the West and the North, were added to the facility over the years.
In 1974, Firestone became the only golf club to host three PGA Tour events in the same year. The American Classic, the CBS Classic and the World Series of Golf were all held on the North, West and South courses.
The South Course has also hosted three PGA Championships. Jay Hebert won the 1960 PGA Championship, Al Geiberger won in 1966 and Jack Nicklaus won the 1975 PGA Championship.
In recent years, Tiger Woods has considered the South Course at Firestone his personal playground. He has won eight WGC-Bridgestone Invitationals and is the defending champion this year.
Woods will be making just his third start since returning from back surgery in late March. He missed the cut at the Quicken Loans National and finished 69th at the Open Championship two weeks ago.
He has only made five starts all season, is ranked No. 215 and is questionable to make the FedEx Cup playoffs. With just this tournament plus the PGA Championship next week at Valhalla Golf Club, Woods needs two top-five finishes to earn a spot in the lucrative playoffs.
Only the Top 50 in the world, past members of a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team or tournament winners are invited to participate this week.
It is a prestigious field and only the best of the best are in Akron.
Woods will have his work cut out for him, but one only needs to look back to 2013, when he shot 15-under-par and won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by an impressive seven shots.
With Ryder Cup and the FedEx Cup playoffs looming, Tiger needs some low scores now.
Fred Altvater offers golf tips and videos at www.toledoohiogolflessons.com. Email him at BackNine@toledofree press.com or follow him on Twitter @tolohgolfr.
Tags: 16th WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Akron, FedEx Cup Playoffs, Firestone, Firestone Country Club, golf courses, Jack Nicklaus, Open Championship, PGA Championship, PGA Tour, Presidents Cup, Quicken Loans National, Ryder Cup, South Course, Tiger Woods, Valhalla Golf Club, World Series of Golf