The much anticipated WGC Bridgestone Invitational 2013 gets underway in Ohio on Thursday featuring all the big names in golf, Andrew Hughes unveils his tips and picks for the tournament.
Tiger Woods @ 4/1
Dustin Johnson @ 28/1
Billy Horschel each way @ 66/1
The Bridgestone Invitational is the third of four World Golf Championship events, and like the two that precede it in the calendar, offers a bigger purse for the winner than any of the Majors. It’s an invitational, so the field is roughly half the size of a normal PGA Tour event. As you’d expect, this is an extremely competitive tournament and Tiger Woods has won it on seven of the fourteen occasions it has been staged.
Apart from the 2002 edition, this competition has been held at the South Course, Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio since its inauguration. The South Course has earned the nickname ‘The Monster’ and will be set up as though for a major this week. Conditions will be fast and firm underfoot, and with tough pin positions, length off the tee is essential to give you more options to play approach shots.
In The Bunker
Brandt Snedeker looks like he’s recovered from his rib injury and has returned to something like his best form, winning the Canadian Open last week, helped by a superb third round of 63. Having said that, I won’t be backing him at Firestone. With its emphasis on driving distance, it doesn’t suit his style of play, and a best finish of thirty-third in three attempts confirms that it is not his tournament.
Tiger Woods is the clear antepost favourite for this event but on this occasion I can’t honestly recommend opposing him at short odds. His record of seven wins in fourteen attempts is phenomenal. The last of those wins came in 2009, but this is the first season since then, in which he has looked like the old Tiger. He has four wins already and played well at Muirfield after a month off. Back him at 4/1 to make it eight.
Dustin Johnson doesn’t have a great record in this tournament, his best effort being a fifteenth finish in 2010, but he’s worth sticking with because it is a course that should suit his style of play, providing he’s on form. He played two solid opening rounds at the British Open and recovered from a poor start last week to finish second at the Canadian Open. At tempting odds of 28/1, he’s a decent bet.
Billy Horschel is playing this event for the first time which could be a disadvantage and hasn’t been in the greatest form in recent weeks, but he’s worth taking a chance on at Firestone. His greens-in-regulation and strokes-gained-putting stats are solid and he is currently ranked twelfth on the PGA Tour for total driving. At a course where the emphasis is on big hitting, he could be in his element and he’s an interesting each-way proposition at odds of 66/1.