The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational
A Crucial Event for FedExCup Hopefuls
Pause for a moment and consider why the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational holds such a special place in the long history of the PGATOUR:
• First, it has been a fixture, in one form or another, since 1962 when, as the World Series of Golf, it was an unofficial event featuring the winners of the game’s four major championships — the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship.
• It was a truly international event years before the onset of the World Golf Championships. The trophy is named in honor of World Golf Hall of Fame member Gary Player of South Africa, who, it can fairly be said, was the first truly international champion of the modern era.
• During its early history, it was a tournament that marked the unofficial end of the PGA TOUR season. Today it is one of the tournaments played just prior to the PGATOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. And as a World Golf Championships event, it offers a total of 26,250 FedExCup points with 4,725 points going to the winner.
The news angle for this year’s event will focus on which players will make big moves up (or down, sad to say) the FedExCup points list. The normally strong field will likely be made even more so for that reason. One player who won’t be in the field is Tiger Woods, who won the last three World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitationals (and six in all).Woods will take the rest of the 2008 season off following his U.S. Open victory, due to a knee injury. The select field (estimated at 75 players this year) is comprised of players who have won various events worldwide, as well as members of the last-named Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams and the top 50 players in the OfficialWorld Golf Ranking. Among those expected to compete are Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and 2007 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Brandt Snedeker, just to name a few, making it one of the most impressive fields of the year.
The venerable South Course at Firestone—one of three at the club — has long been one of the most respected on the TOUR. The 7,400-yard, par-70 course was designed by BertWay in 1929 and meticulously renovated by Robert Trent Jones in 1960. The course, which was ranked the fourth toughest on the TOUR in 2007, is recognized as rewarding brilliant long-iron players with deft short games, and it also puts a premium on carefully conceived and executed course management.
Finally, there is the Bridgestone Invitational’s partnership with NorthernOhioGolfCharities,throughwhichmore than $18million has been donated to worthy causes in the region through the years.
“As you know, our company has a culture of giving back to its communities, and we view our partnership with the Northern Ohio Golf Charities as an extension of this philosophy put into practice,” says Mark A.Emkes, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holdings, Inc. and Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC. “The charitable component of the Bridgestone Invitational is very important to us, and we look forward to continuing to support local organizations that make Akron a wonderful place to live, work and play.”
And host one of the TOUR’s premier events.