An event that is typically reserved for August, we get an early look at Firestone Country Club and the season's final World Golf Championship and provide you with our Betting Odds Preview.
World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational
For the third week in a row, we have one of the country's classic golf courses hosting a big-time golf tournament. Two weeks ago, we saw Dustin Johnson break through and get his first Major Championship by winning The U.S. Open at Oakmont. Last week it was Billy Hurley III, grabbing his first ever victory on Tour in The Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club and this week we are set up with another World Golf Championship event, The Bridgestone at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
It is unusual to have The WGC-Bridgestone come up on our calendar at this time, about five weeks ahead of when it typically shows up, but the adjustment has been made this year because of the Olympics. The bad news is the event now butts heads with The French Open on the European Tour and this "World Golf Championship" field is now missing over a dozen of the best players in the world, which opens up for some interesting betting odds. However, there are only 61-players in the field and there is no cut. It amounts to getting to watch most of the best players in the world for four days straight at a marquee event and golf course.
The course is very straight forward and has hosted just about as many professional tournaments as any course in the nation. Firestone is a Par 70 and at 7,400 yards, it is a very long Par 70. Length off of the tee is a big factor and with some moisture in the air this week in Akron, it could mean an even bigger advantage for the longer hitters. The greens are smaller, so hitting one's target with longer irons from the fairway will be a reoccurring theme this week in determining success. When players miss the greens, scrambling from the thick, and likely wet, rough will be another key element to securing a high finish. Yes, the field is loaded with stars but it is typically the best of the best who rise to the top at The WGC-Bridgestone. Tiger Woods won here eight times. Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, and Lee Westwood are others who have either won or finished runner-up. Let's see who it might be this week.
Jason Day (11-2, at GTBets) For as good as the number one player in the world is, he does not have a great track record here at Firestone CC with only one Top-10 finish in six tries, although I would not be overly confident in going against him because Day seems to be able to win anywhere at any time.
Dustin Johnson (8-1) Hard to say whether Johnson will have a bit of a hangover after his hard fought U.S. Open win or will he be brimming with confidence and momentum? One thing is for sure, he doesn't have a single Top-10 finish here in six tries and only two Top-20's.
Jordan Spieth (9-1) Jordan has only played this event twice and he did finish 10th last year but I don't feel his game has enough going for it right now to put him in the mix this week. He is scrambling and putting well but is not driving it straight or hitting greens in regulation.
Justin Rose (20-1) Rosey has the best track record here of anybody recently as he has recorded three Top-5 finishes in the last four years. The question is his back. How healthy is he? We'll soon find out.
Brooks Koepka (15-1) Koepka has become a popular selection as of late and with his ability to hit it very long and make a lot of putts, it is easy to see why on this stretch of classic golf courses we are experiencing. He finished 6th in his rookie appearance here last year.
Bubba Watson (25-1) This golf course works very well for Bubba because he hits it so far and he hits a lot of greens in regulation. If he can keep his ball in the fairway, I would expect him to have another excellent week - like he did last year when he finished 2nd here at Firestone.
The Long Shots
Shane Lowry (30-1) The defending champion. Lowry does not have a great history at the event except for, of course, last year's win. He is coming off of a very impressive week at The U.S. Open, however, and could be in form to pull off another big week.
Jason Dufner (40-1) Dufner is not a long hitter but he does hit it very straight and hits a lot of greens in regulation. Since missing the cut at The Masters, he has been on a nice run that includes two Top-10 finishes, one of which was at Oakmont.
Scott Piercy (80-1) The Las Vegas native has begun to show up on a lot more leaderboards in big tournaments and that is exactly what he did at The U.S. Open two weeks ago, finishing 2nd. Like Brooks Koepka, Piercy hits it long and has a solid short game.
The Betting Pick
Adam Scott (20-1, at 888Sports) A winner of one WGC already this year at Doral back in March, Scott comes to The Bridgestone with a win here already back in 2011. He has two additional Top-10 finishes in eight tries and is coming off of a 12th at The Players and an 18th at The U.S. Open. He drives it long, hits greens in regulation and is amongst the best on Tour, in long approach shots. I'm betting his putter will get hot enough for a few days to be holding the trophy on Sunday.