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WGC-Bridgestone Invitational tee times: Rounds 1 and 2

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:45:00 PM

Thursday, No. 1; Friday, No. 10

9:10 a.m./1:00 p.m. - Matt Every, Branden Grace

9:20 a.m./1:10 p.m. - Tim Clark, Angel Cabrera

9:30 a.m./1:20 p.m. - Tano Goya, Alexander Levy

9:40 a.m./1:30 p.m. - Matt Jones, Thongchai Jaidee

9:50 a.m./1:40 p.m. - Francesco Molinari, Seung-Yul Noh

10:00 a.m./1:50 p.m. - Luke Donald, Webb Simpson

10:10 a.m./2:00 p.m. - Jimmy Walker, Lee Westwood

10:20 a.m./2:10 p.m. - Graeme McDowell, Hunter Mahan

10:30 a.m./2:20 p.m. - Keegan Bradley, Miguel A. Jimenez

1:00 p.m./9:10 a.m. - Steven Bowditch, Kevin Stadler

1:10 p.m./9:20 a.m. - Fabrizio Zanotti, Graham DeLaet

1:20 p.m./9:30 a.m. - Richard Sterne, Scott Stallings

1:30 p.m./9:40 a.m. - Mikko Ilonen, Brendon Todd

1:40 p.m./9:50 a.m. - J.B. Holmes, David Lynn

1:50 p.m./10:00 a.m. - Jim Furyk, Jason Day

2:00 p.m./10:10 a.m. - Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler

2:10 p.m./10:20 a.m. - Bubba Watson, Adam Scott

2:20 p.m./10:30 a.m. - Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer

2:30 p.m./10:40 a.m. - Henrik Stenson, Bill Haas

Thursday, No. 10; Friday, No. 1

9:10 a.m./1:00 p.m. - Patrick Reed, John Senden

9:20 a.m./1:10 p.m. - Harris English, Ryan Moore

9:30 a.m./1:20 p.m. - Pablo Larrazabal, Louis Oosthuizen

9:40 a.m./1:30 p.m. - Brian Harman, David Howell

9:50 a.m./1:40 p.m. - Joost Luiten, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano

10:00 a.m./1:50 p.m. - Charl Schwartzel, Jamie Donaldson

10:10 a.m./2:00 p.m. - Jordan Spieth, Victor Dubuisson

10:20 a.m./2:10 p.m. - Brandt Snedeker, Hideki Matsuyama

10:30 a.m./2:20 p.m. - Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson

10:40 a.m./2:30 p.m. - Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy

1:00 p.m./9:10 a.m. - Chris Kirk, Marc Leishman

1:10 p.m./9:20 a.m. - Kevin Streelman, Daisuke Maruyama

1:20 p.m./9:30 a.m. - Stephen Gallacher, Ben Crane

1:30 p.m./9:40 a.m. - Russell Henley, Jonas Blixt

1:40 p.m./9:50 a.m. - Gary Woodland, Yoshitaka Takeya

1:50 p.m./10:00 a.m. - Ernie Els, Jason Dufner

2:00 p.m./10:10 a.m. - Zach Johnson, Ian Poulter

2:10 p.m./10:20 a.m. - Brendon de Jonge, Kevin Na

2:20 p.m./10:30 a.m. - Thomas Bjorn, Steve Stricker

 

Cleveland Golf, Callaway reach legal settlement

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 3:18:00 PM

Cleveland Golf/Srixon announced Tuesday that it has reached a settlement in its legal dispute with Callaway Golf over the usage of the Roger Cleveland name. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The case was filed last year, and Todd Harman, president of Cleveland Golf/Srixon, said his company was “pleased with the settlement terms.”

“We are proud of our heritage, our innovations, as well as world-class Cleveland Golf, Srixon and XXIO-branded golf products, and the intellectual property rights associated with them,” he said in a statement. “We stand ready to protect and enforce those intellectual property rights whenever we deem it necessary or appropriate.” 

Bridgestone pairings a Ryder Cup singles preview?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:12:00 PM

AKRON, Ohio – If you’re looking for a potential preview of this year’s Ryder Cup singles matches, look no further than the first two rounds of this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Of the 38 different pairings for the opening two rounds, 17 feature one player from the United States and one from Europe.

While obviously it couldn’t shake out exactly this way – U.S. points leader Bubba Watson, for example, is playing his first two rounds alongside Adam Scott, who of course isn’t eligible for the Ryder Cup; others might be considered long shots to make their team – there are a legitimate dozen matchups which could shake out at Gleneagles in a few months.

 Here’s the list:

Webb Simpson (USA)-Luke Donald (EUR)

Jimmy Walker (USA)-Lee Westwood (EUR)

Hunter Mahan (USA)-Graeme McDowell (EUR)

Keegan Bradley (USA)-Miguel Angel Jimenez (EUR)

Jordan Spieth (USA)-Victor Dubuisson (EUR)

Phil Mickelson (USA)-Sergio Garcia (EUR)

Matt Kuchar (USA)-Rory McIlroy (EUR)

Rickie Fowler (USA)-Justin Rose (EUR)

Tiger Woods (USA)-Martin Kaymer (EUR)

Bill Haas (USA)-Henrik Stenson (EUR)

Zach Johnson (USA)-Ian Poulter (EUR)

Steve Stricker (USA)-Thomas Bjorn (EUR)

Woods, Kaymer paired at WGC-Bridgestone

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 1:45:00 PM

AKRON, Ohio – Tiger Woods will begin his title defense at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this week alongside a player who’s had a pretty decent run of success lately.

Woods and Martin Kaymer will tee off at 2:20 p.m. ET on Thursday at Firestone Country Club, as the former attempts to win his first title in exactly one year and the latter tries to build on momentum from victories at The Players Championship and U.S. Open already this season.

They will go out at 10:30 a.m. in Round 2.


WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Articles, videos and photos


With just 76 competitors in the field, the event is filled with its usual prominent pairings.

Playing his first event since winning the Open Championship, Rory McIlroy will play with Matt Kuchar, starting at 10:40 a.m. ET on Thursday.

McIlroy finished T-27 at this event last year.

Other marquee pairings include Jordan Spieth and Victor Dubuisson (10:10 a.m.); Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson (10:30 a.m.); Jim Furyk and Jason Day (1:50 p.m.); Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose (2:00 p.m.); and Bubba Watson and Adam Scott (2:10 p.m.).

Power Rankings: 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:22:00 PM

This week marks the 38th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as the Tour heads to Ohio for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. An elite field of 76 players will tee it up this week at Firestone Country Club, with the season's final major now just one week away.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Charlie Rymer. Click here for full fantasy assistance, including stats and picks.

Tiger Woods returns to defend the title he won here a year ago by seven shots over Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson. Here are 10 names to watch this week in Akron:

1. Rory McIlroy: No reason to back off McIlroy now that he's making his first start as Open champion. The Ulsterman has finished no worse than T-25 all season long on the PGA Tour, and now he heads to Akron with unlimited confidence. Despite a pedantic record at Firestone, he's the odds-on favorite for a reason this week.

2. Adam Scott: Scott won here in 2011, the highlight of a trio of top-15 finishes since 2010. The Aussie tied for fifth at Royal Liverpool despite getting the short end of the draw, his fourth consecutive top-10 finish on the PGA Tour dating back to his playoff win at Colonial.

3. Jim Furyk: Furyk came agonizingly close to ending his four-year winless drought last week in Canada, but his runner-up finish in Montreal was still his third such result this year and fourth top-five showing in his last seven starts. He has three top-10 finishes in the last four years at Firestone, including T-2 in 2012, and is fifth on Tour in scoring average.

4. Justin Rose: Rose tied for 23rd at the Open, a solid follow-up to back-to-back wins at Congressional and Royal Aberdeen. He was a runner-up at Firestone in 2007 and tied for fifth as recently as 2012. Rose has 10 top-25 finishes in 14 PGA Tour starts this season, and the overall consistency of his game should be rewarded this week in Akron.

5. Rickie Fowler: Fowler notched a second consecutive runner-up finish in a major two weeks ago in England, and is playing with some serious momentum for a player whose last win came in 2012. Fowler has cracked the top 15 in his last four worldwide starts and now tees it up on a course where he tied for second in 2011.

6. Keegan Bradley: Bradley tied for second last year in defense of his Bridgestone title from 2012, and he has broken par in 10 of his 12 competitive rounds at Firestone. His T-19 finish at the Open came on the heels of a tie for fourth at the Greenbrier, and Bradley now has 11 top-20 finishes this season.

7. Jordan Spieth: Spieth is making his first appearance at Firestone, but he's been a model of consistency this season, with eight top-20 finishes in his last 10 starts dating back to his runner-up finish at the Masters. As 2013 showed, a lack of course knowledge is no reason to doubt this 21-year-old.

8. Henrik Stenson: The Swede was a runner-up here a year ago, a result that came in the midst of a torrid stretch that yielded him both the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai titles. While he failed to contend at Royal Liverpool, Stenson does appear to have found his footing after a shaky start to 2014 and enters this week ranked fifth on Tour in total driving.

9. Brendon Todd: While he is making his first appearance at Firestone, Todd may be the hottest American player right now. His T-39 finish at Hoylake was respectable, but it was also his worst finish since May, as the 29-year-old ran off five straight top-20 finishes after his win in Dallas. He enters this week ranked third on Tour in strokes gained putting and fifth in scrambling.

10. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar quietly notched a T-4 finish last week in Canada, his 10th top-10 finish in just 19 starts this season. Kuchar has a solid track record at Firestone, with a pair of top-10 finishes since 2010 and no result worse than T-27 across that stretch.

Stock Watch: Up to the Crown; U.S. on the down

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 12:18:00 PM

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (+8%): Congratulations. You’ve made it. We’re on the final leg of this never-ending PGA Tour season.

Tim Clark (+7%): Sweet back-nine 30 and comeback victory for one of the Tour’s short-knockers. Afterward, he was reportedly seen alone in the locker room, crumpling up his anti-anchoring lawsuit.

International Crown (+6%): It’s a cool concept, with players representing their own country and not some broad “International” tag. A few tweaks to the qualifying and points structure are needed, but this team event has big-time potential.

Bernhard Langer as Over-50 World-Beater (+5%): Winning by 13 is an extraordinary feat no matter the field, but the fact that he grew his lead after each round only underscores the point that this guy is a certified stud.

Jarrod Lyle (+4%): Back after two bouts with leukemia, and he finishes T-11 in his debut? Remarkable. Welcome back, big fella.


FALLING

Jack’s Takes (-1%): Poor guy.His words are scrutinized and dissected for even the slightest dig at Tiger, so no wonder Nicklaus says that he can’t “imagine” a Ryder Cup without Woods … despite that very thing occurring only six years ago.

DJ (-2%): After getting into contention at the Open, he missed the cut in Canada and then WD’d from Firestone, citing “personal reasons.” Paulina apparently didn’t get the memo, as she Instagrammed a photo of her fiancée helping with her putting alignment.

Jim Furyk (-4%): Winless since 2010, he is now 0-for-his-last-7 when attempting to close out 54-hole leads. That’s not a trend. That’s a crisis.

Team USA (-5%): Not only is the U.S. Ryder Cup team looking particularly rough, but the ladies didn’t even reach the final day of the inaugural International Crown. At least they did the very American thing by complaining about the format.

Bernhard Langer as a Ryder Cup Member (-8%): Oh, puh-leeze. Don’t try to compare what the soon-to-be 57-year-old is doing on the Champions circuit to how a guy is faring on the two biggest, most competitive tours on the planet. Team Europe is stacked, and picking Langer would shut out a candidate like Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Miguel Angel Jimenez or Francesco Molinari.

Barring WDs, PGA set to host all top-100 players

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:35:00 AM

Barring any late withdrawals, next week’s PGA Championship will feature all of the top 100 in the Official World Ranking for the first time in major history. 

The PGA annually boasts the most top-100 players of any major. The 156-player field also includes 20 club pros, who earned their spot at Valhalla by virtue of their finish at the PGA Professional National Championship.

The final two spots in the field will be filled based on what happens at this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and Barracuda Championship. 

The year’s final major traditionally groups the winners of the Masters (Bubba Watson), U.S. Open (Martin Kaymer) and British Open (Rory McIlroy) during the first two rounds.

Stat attack!: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational preview

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:48:00 AM

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is a tournament of haves and have-nots. Foremost among the haves, of course, is Tiger Woods, who has won at Firestone CC’s South course eight times. He won the Bridgestone three straight times from 1999 to 2001 and from 2005 to 2007. He is also the defending champ, having shot 15-under 265 to beat Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson by seven strokes in 2013. The poster boy for the have-nots is probably Ernie Els, who has made 14 Bridgestone starts but does not have a top-10 finish at Firestone since 2001. (He also didn’t have any top-10s at the tournament’s predecessor, with nothing better than a T-16 in six starts in the World Series of Golf.)

With a win in 2012 and a runner-up in 2013, Bradley is quickly becoming a have. Bubba Watson, who has not finished better than T19 in four starts, is close to joining the have-nots. Here’s a sampling from both categories.

Players with successful records at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

 Player Starts Top 10s Best
 Keegan Bradley 3 2 Won in 2012
 Luke Donald 9 5 T-2 in 2011
 Jason Dufner 2 2 T-4 in 2013
 Jim Furyk 14 9 Second two times
 Rory McIlroy 5 3 T-5 in 2012
 Tiger Woods 14 12 Eight wins

Players who have struggled at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

 Player Starts Top 10s Last top 10
 Ernie Els 14 2 2001
 Sergio Garcia 13 1 1999
 Dustin Johnson 5 0 None
 Graeme McDowell 8 0 None
 Ian Poulter 11 0 None
Charl Schwartzel  5 0 None
 Bubba Watson 4 0 None

The winners the last five years have been dominant on and around the greens, with each champion finishing no worse than 11th in the field in greens in regulation and strokes gained/putting. It’s a feature of most of the players on the hot list. Consistency in the short game. When they’re on at Firestone, as they’ve most always been, they hit plenty of greens and make their putts. The have-nots list is littered with talented, but erratic players who have a history of hot and cold play.

Statistics of WGC-Bridgestone Inviational winners: 2009-2013

 Year Winner GIR Proximity to hole Scrambling Strokes gained/putting
 2013 Tiger Woods 73.61% (2) 25' 8" (1) 73.68% (4) .849 (11)
 2012 Keegan Bradley 68.06 (T-11) 29' 5" (12) 60.87 (T-25) 3.017 (1)
 2011 Adam Scott 70.83 (T-9) 28' 7" (12) 80.95 (2) 1.838 (4)
 2010  Hunter Mahan 69.44 (T-8) 32' 4" (31) 72.73 (8) 1.765 (4)
 2009 Tiger Woods 70.83 (T-2) 29' 0" (5) 71.43 (T-6) 1.322 (4)

It will be interesting to see if Sergio Garcia can play his way off the have-not list. Garcia is fourth on tour in GIR at 69.59 percent. It’s his best GIR percentage since 2005, when he led the PGA Tour at 71.81 percent. But he is also putting well this year, ranking 27th in strokes gained/putting, his third straight season in the top 30 after three years ranking outside the top 100. Garcia is one of four players on Tour who are in the top 30 in both stats, and his combined rank of 31 – similar to total driving, I’ve added a player’s rank in GIR and SG/P to get this figure – trails only Adam Scott.

PGA Tour leaders in combined GIR and strokes gained/putting

 Player GIR rank SG/Putting rank Combined total rank
 Adam Scott 13 14 27
 Sergio Garcia 4 27 31
 Jimmy Walker 29 6 35
 John Senden 25 12 37
 Matt Kuchar 41 11 52
 Daniel Summerhays 39 16 55
 Charley Hoffman 10 51 61

It’s also worth noting how many major champions have also won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitaional. Only Craig Parry (2002) and Hunter Mahan (2010) are not also major champions. Parry’s victory came at Sahalee, the only time Firestone has not hosted the championship. 

Major champions who have won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

 Player Bridgestone wins Major wins
 Tiger Woods 1999-01, 2005-07, 2009, 2013 14 majors
 Keegan Bradley 2012 2011 PGA
 Adam Scott 2011 2013 Masters
 Vijay Singh 2008 3 majors
 Stewart Cink  2004 2009 British
 Darren Clarke 2003 2011 British

Another notable feature of the WGC-Bridgestone Championship is how often the tournament is not close. There have been just two playoffs in the event – Tiger Woods winning both, in 2001 over Furyk and in 2006 over Cink – and eight times in 15 years the winner has won by four strokes or more. 

Largest winning margin at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

 Year Winner Margin
 2000 Tiger Woods 11 strokes
 2007 Tiger Woods 8 strokes
 2013 Tiger Woods 7 strokes
 2011 Adam Scott 4 strokes
 2009 Tiger Woods 4 strokes
 2004 Stewart Cink 4 strokes
 2003 Darren Clarke 4 strokes
 2002 Craig Parry 4 strokes

Perhaps all these winners were channeling their inner Jose Maria Olazabal, who famously won the 1990 World Series of Golf at Firestone by a whopping 12 strokes. That year Ollie shot 18-under 262, including a course-record 61 in the first round. That mark has since been tied by Woods in 2000 and 2013.


Can Woods turn around his season by winning – or at least contending – in Ohio? If history is an indication, probably not. Woods has finished outside the top 10 twice at the Bridgestone, finishing T-78 in 2010 and T-37 in 2011. Like this year, Woods was injured, and those were the two worst years of his career and the only times he did not win on Tour. Woods’ ball-striking stat – a number that combines his rank in total driving and greens in regulation – is amazingly similar to 2010 and 2011, showing he’s not quite ready to contend.

Tiger Woods’ key statistical ranks since 2009.

 Year Fairways
hit
GIR St.G/
putting

Total 
driving

Ball
striking
Money
 2014 160 187 35 191 191 198
 2013 69 24 22 17 16 1
 2012  55 29 35 6 12 2
 2011 186 37 45 187 187 128
 2010 165 167 109 193 193 68
 2009 86 16 2 12 6 1

Like this year, Woods didn’t play enough rounds in 2010 and 2011 to qualify for a statistical ranking. The figures above show where he would have ranked if his small sample size were imported into the official tour statistics. But the comparison to 2010 and 2011 is telling. The back injury has taken its toll, no question. It’s likely we won’t see the healthy Woods of 2012 and 2013 until next year.

One final thought: Phil Mickelson is the only player in the field who also won the World Series of Golf at Firestone, having taken the title in 1996. Lately, he’s a contender for our have-nots list, with just one top 20 finish in his last 11 starts (T-4 in 2008). He was in the top 10 at Firestone every year from 1995 to 2001.

If you haven't already done so, please follow me on Twitter at @johnantoninigc

Morning Drive Co-Hosts Ginella, Thompson to Participate in Fourth Annual 'World's Largest Golf Outing' Benefitting Wounded Warrior Project

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:10:00 AM

Golf Channel announces its on-air plans to showcase Billy Casper Golf’s (BCG) “World’s Largest Golf Outing,” on Monday, August 11, which benefits Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Matt Ginella and Lauren Thompson, co-hosts of Golf Channel’s Morning Drive – the network’s daily news and lifestyle show – will both take part in the event, offering on-site updates on air.

The fourth annual outing will be played simultaneously at more than 120 BCG-managed courses in 28 states and is open to all golfers regardless of ability, with no USGA handicap required.

Ginella will compete at BCG-managed St. Johns Golf & Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla., along with GolfChannel.com associate producer Bailey Mosier. Thompson will participate in the event at Dubsdread Golf Course in Orlando, Fla. Morning Drive also will feature interview segments with Peter Hill, Chairman and CEO of Billy Casper Golf, as he discusses the company’s commitment to helping Wounded Warrior Project. 

Registration for the event is still open, and golfers can find more information about participating courses at www.worldslargestgolfouting.com.

“The World’s Largest Golf Outing continues to raise the bar in giving back to our injured veterans,” says Peter Hill, Chairman and CEO of BCG. “The astounding growth in participation and donations by Billy Casper Golf’s loyal golfers is humbling and shows unwavering support for our country’s heroes.”

“We look forward to providing a first-hand perspective of the ‘World’s Largest Golf Outing’ to our viewers with Matt Ginella and Lauren Thompson participating and offering updates on Morning Drive,” said Adam Hertzog, vice president, News and Studio Productions for Golf Channel. “The special event demonstrates an exceptional commitment to injured veterans, evidenced by the more than one million dollars raised to date for Wounded Warrior Project.”

Since its inception four years ago, the World’s Largest Golf Outing has donated more than $1.1 million to WWP, the largest amount ever via a single-day golf event. BCG forecasts another record-breaking charity donation this year.

Last year, BCG hosted more than 10,000 golfers, including 70 injured service members at 110 of its courses in 24 states and raised $725,000 for WWP, topping the 2012 event that totaled 7,800 golfers and $400,000 to WWP.

Part of event proceeds and all donations from non-players benefit WWP, the national organization whose mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors – some of whom will be playing in the World’s Largest Golf Outing. Teams are encouraged to raise additional funds to support the worthy cause; donations to WWP unrelated to event participation are made at www.worldslargestgolfouting.com.