WGC-Bridgestone Invitational History
The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was established in 1999 as a successor to the World Series of Golf. Bridgestone took over from NEC as title sponsor in 2006 with agreement that the tournament be held at its traditional site of the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
The event has a field of about 75 players with invitations extended to playing members of the last named Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup teams (whichever was played last). The top fifty in the Official World Golf Rankings are also invited plus Tournament winners of worldwide events within the past 12 months with an Official World Golf Ranking Strength of Field Rating of 115 points or more. Between 1999 and 2001, only the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams were eligible with a field of around 40 players.
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Stats
Tiger Woods will be seeking a record eighth victory at Firestone. He holds the record for the lowest aggregate score of 259 set in 2000 with a low score of 21 under par.
José María Olazábal is the only European to win the event twice with Darren Clarke the last to do so in 2003. In 2002 Australian Craig Parry won the event when it was staged at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington. This was the only occasion when the tournament has been held away from Firestone.
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Betting Tips
Last week things were looking good for us in the Canadian Open with Hunter Mahan (tipped at 20-1) going along nicely in the lead at the half-way stage. Rather unusually, he had to withdraw from the tournament as his wife went into labour! (By the way, it was a baby girl)
Several bookies have done the decent thing and refunded all bets on Mahan so don’t throw away those betting slips without asking first! Hunter Mahan returns to the action this week but it is anybody’s guess how the birth of his first child will affect his game. He won the tournament here in 2010 and was clearly in great form last week so he may be worth supporting at 28-1.
Adam Scott (2011) and Keegan Bradley (2012) are other previous winners that must come into calculations this week. I was slightly disappointed with the weak finish of Scott at the British Open having worked his way back into contention. At 14-1 I am prepared to pass him over here and side with Bradley at a much more tempting 40-1. Bradley performed respectably at Muirfield to finish in a share of 15th place but this course is right up his street.
One player that is definitely overpriced is Italian Francesco Molinari who finished ninth at the Open. He may be steady rather than spectacular but 125-1 or thereabouts is an insult and he has to be included in our portfolio for this event.
The European challenge is interesting with Westwood, Rose, Donald and Poulter all having different reasons to be disappointed after Muirfield. Ian Poulter’s last round 67 elevated him to a tie for third place and he comes here in better shape than his colleagues.
For my wild card selection this week I’m going for Bo Van Pelt at a massive price. He has played well here before having finished in a tie for eighth last year. He has only made one top ten finish this season but equally has only missed the cut twice.