I would like to welcome everyone to the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational.
I would also like to welcome Tiger Woods back to the PGA Tour circuit. Easily the biggest news this week is that Tiger will be competing in his first event since May. Tiger has dominated the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational over his career, winning it a ridiculous 7 times. He will be in tough this week though, as all the top players in the world will be looking to play well the week before The PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.
The South Course at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio will host this weeks World Golf Championship event. The players will once again be playing a Par 70 this week, but it will be a 7400-yard beast of a Par 70. Judging by past winning scores we can expect a 10 under to 12 under taking this event. Look for players to be extremely long off the tee, making driving distance and accuracy a key this week.
One of the more interesting things this week will be that the players will be playing in pairs. The field consists of only 66 players, which forces organizers to send the players off in 2’s. Here are some of the excellent pairings to watch for over the 1st two days.
Luke Donald and Charl Schwartzel – The masters champ Charl paired with the World Number 1 Luke.
Lee Westwood and Greame McDowell – Last years US Open champ Greame paired with World number 2 Lee.
Rickie Fowler and Matteo Manassero – The young American Rickie with the even younger Italian Matteo.
Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson – The two players featured in last years PGA Championship playoff.
Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan – Last years Bridgestone Champ Hunter paired with 2011 US Open Champ Rory
Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke – The shocking British Open Champ paired with the best golfer of the past 20 years Tiger.
Now that you have an understanding of the talent that will be playing this week, along with some intriguing match ups, lets get to the picks. It seems as though we have been knocking at the winners circle every week as of late, so lets get one before the major next week.
STEVES SIX PACK
Tiger Woods 20/1 – He has won this event 7 times. The golfing world has all their eyes directly on him. He will be using his long time friend as a caddie this week. He says he is completely healthy. He wants to make the Fed Ex playoffs. When you add everything together, I think this is setting up for a memorable return for Tiger!
Dustin Johnson 19/1 – He has played very well as of late and has had some very good finishes in this event in the past. Look for his length off the tee to help set up plenty of Greens in Regulation this week. (*Side note) I said that when he fired his caddie and took Fred Couples old one, that it would help Dustin out drastically. It has turned his season around, now it’s just about wins.
Jason Day 36/1 – The guy just plays well in big events. He has been runner up twice this year in majors and loves playing against the best in the world. Hits the ball long and accurately, two things that are crucial at Firestone Country Club (SC). Look for Day to make a ton of birdies this week.
Gary Woodland 46/1 – Hits the ball an average of 309 yards off the tee, just 1 yard behind Dustin Johnson. He is coming of an excellent showing at the Greenbrier Open where he finished T4. The young bomber has 6 Top 10’s this year in just 18 events. I feel like he is playing well and this course seems to set up well for him. Worth a look at 46/1.
Bo Van Pelt 55/1 – Maybe my favorite pick of the week. Bo has played very well in the past at Bridgestone. He has also played very well in the past few weeks. He has finished in the Top 15 in 6 out of his last 7 tournaments. He played extremely well at a difficult RBC Open finishing T6. Finally Bo has the all around game needed to win on the PGA Tour. He is playing far to well to not take him, especially at 55/1.
Stewart Cink 95/1 – Cink has had some success in the past at Bridgestone but this is more of a feel pick. He finished in 2nd place here in 2006 and has finished in the Top 20 in the last 2 years. Stewart has had a down year this year with only 1 Top 10 on his resume. He will need to improve on his 74th ranking in the Fed Ex Cup Race and I think this week is an excellent week to start the climb up the standings.
As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to email me. I hope everyone enjoys a great week of golf.