Blogs & Opinion

Fire cracker

'Players won't treat the Bridgestone as a warm-up exercise for the PGA'

Rob Lee Posted 1st August 2012 view comments

Golf lovers may be looking forward to the US PGA Championship in South Carolina, which tees off next Thursday, but this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is a big tournament, too.

The world's top 50 are invited to play as are members of the most recent Presidents Cup teams and winners of designated tournaments from around the globe.

Therefore, most of the game's best golfers will be in the field, including Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood and, of course, Tiger Woods, who has won this event seven times since its inception in 1999.

Defending champion Scott (L) and Woods will be in action in Ohio

Defending champion Scott (L) and Woods will be in action in Ohio

A PGA Championship triumph might hold more prestige but the players won't be heading to Ohio and treating the Bridgestone like a warm-up exercise.

Golfers don't have a dimmer switch with their game and once they get on the first tee it is full power all the way. It won't be a case of the players saving themselves for next week.

It also won't be a case of trying to formulate a plan for the PGA, because Firestone and the Kiawah Island Club are vastly different courses.

Westwood, Donald and McIlroy need to pull their finger out now and puncture what has been non-European domination of the bigger events.

Rob Lee
Quotes of the week

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

7pm, Thu, Sky Sports 1 HD
Full coverage details
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

Kiawah Island is by the water, windy and will play like a links course, whereas Firestone is parkland, will be humid and will require a more regular American-style golf game. The only similarities are that they are both cracking venues - and very tough to get around.

However, the winner in Ohio will have to see off an excellent field and will therefore generate huge confidence heading into the PGA, even though we know how difficult it is to claim back-to-back victories.


It wouldn't surprise me if Adam Scott recovered from his toils at The Open to win the Bridgestone for the second successive year.

The Australian made some errors of judgement at Royal Lytham, as I mentioned in my column last week, but returning to Akron will put a smile on his face.

Scott will be able to recall the key points from his victory in 2011 and know just what is required to come out on top. He is in very good form and must be a contender - but, for me, Tiger will be the man to beat.

Firestone is a course that Woods dominates and, like Scott, he came very close to winning the Open Championship a few weeks back. He may very well have got his hands on the trophy had he not taken seven on the sixth hole during the final round.

Westwood, Donald and McIlroy, meanwhile, need to pull their finger out now and puncture what has been American, or non-European, domination of the bigger events.

Bubba Watson won the Masters, Webb Simpson took the US Open and Ernie Else captured the Open, so these British fellas must re-stamp their authority in elite fields. They all need wins and this would be a perfect place to do it.


Two not so well-known names will be in the field, too, in the shape of Scott Piercy and Bernd Wiesberger, both of whom entered the winners' enclosure last week.

Piercy won the Reno-Tahoe Open in August 2011 and took his second PGA Tour triumph in the Canadian Open on Sunday. He was gifted that win because Robert Garrigus and William McGirt did not finish strongly, but that's not Piercy's fault; he shot a score and no-one could beat it.

Wiesberger, meanwhile, took his tally of European Tour wins to two, following up his victory in April's Ballantine's Championship by topping the leaderboard at the Lyoness Open in his homeland of Austria.

Playing in such illustrious company is still a new experience for Wiesberger and he still needs to get used to top-level golf courses and WGC events. He is a very talented guy but if he plays well in Ohio it will be a bonus as this week is primarily a box-ticking exercise.

Piercy and Wiesberger have taken pressure off in one way, as their exploits have moved them up the rankings, given them the chance to enter bigger tournaments and handed them more security.

On the flipside, they will now be expecting more of themselves and that could make them falter. However, if you're ambitious, you always want to put yourself up against the best and see how far you can go.


I'm not sure anyone has ever won a golf tournament eight times but Tiger Woods beat Jack Nicklaus' number of PGA Tour wins earlier this season so is in record-breaking mood. I wouldn't back against him winning the Bridgestone yet again.

As for an outside bet, I will say Ian Poulter. He played pretty decently at The Open and is starting to put some better rounds together. Poults won the WGC-Accenture Matchplay in 2010 and has the right amount of cockiness to win another big event.

back to top

Other Golf Experts:

Latest Posts in Golf:

Latest News RSS feeds

Snedeker cruises to victory

Brandt Snedeker ended an 18-month winless drought on the PGA Tour with victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Brandt books Masters place

Brandt Snedeker admitted he had struggled to keep his emotions in check during his superb win at Pebble Beach.

Dodt snatches Thailand title

A five-under final round of round 67 from Andrew Dodt was enough to secure a narrow one-shot win at the True Thailand Classic.

Dodt 'stunned' by Thailand win

Andrew Dodt admitted he was "stunned" to snatch his first European Tour win since 2010 at the True Thailand Classic.

Lawrie reveals cola addiction

Peter Lawrie has revealed his performances on the golf course suffered a huge dip because of an addiction to fizzy drinks.


PGA Tour: Celebrities line-up for AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

PGA Tour: Celebrities line-up for AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Ahead of this week's annual Celebrity Challenge at the AT&T Pebble Beach Invitational Pro-Am, we look back at some of the stars to have featured through the years.

Shot Centre - JB's Drive

Shot Centre - JB's Drive

Sky Sports golf pundit Gary Christian demonstrates JB Holmes' powerful drive.

Farmers Insurance Open: Tiger Woods looking for a record ninth win at Torrey Pines

Farmers Insurance Open: Tiger Woods looking for a record ninth win at Torrey Pines

Tiger Woods can secure a record breaking ninth PGA Tour title at Torrey Pines with victory at this week's Farmers Insurance Open.