2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #IsitThursdayyet

Following Troy Merritt’s breakthrough win at the Quicken Loans National, the PGA Tour treks onward to Akron, Ohio, host city for this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC.  Here are some things that dance through my head as we enter into this week:

  • How on Earth is it August already?
  • How is there only one major left this season?
  • Will I ever stop sweating?
  • Will 8-time champ Tiger Woods just show up anyway and demand a tee time, even though he’s not invited?
  • Will Graeme McDowell still find a way to miss the cut this week, even though it’s a no cut event?

Quickly about the course- at 7,400 yards, tree-lined, hills, thick rough and deep bunkers galore, yeah, a driver-pitch-and-putt it most certainly is not.  With today’s technology advances it’s becoming a rare occurrence when the longest of the long hit driver a double digit number of times in a single round, but such is the case for our own viewing pleasure this week.

My picks last week for the Quicken Loans National were disappointing, as only Lockzilla Pat Perez cracked the top 25 (t-21st), while two of them (Woodland, Laird) missed the cut by a single shot.  I did nail my BUST of the week on previously scorching hot Steven Bowditch as he ballooned to a final round 83 and a t-67th place finish.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Woodland MC, Perez t-21st)

Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler
– A perfect mix of prime form and solid course history (amazingly this is his 6th appearance here already), as Rickie rolls in red hot this week after his solo 2nd place finish last week at the Quicken Loans National.  Amazingly, his PGA Tour career resume still only sports two wins, so he’s ultra-due to add another much sooner than later.  Add in his solid course history here of t-8th last year and t-2nd in ’11 and I’m loving me some Rickie this week.

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka
– Nevermind that it’s Brook’s first appearance here at Firestone, as that didn’t seem to matter much, well, anywhere that he’s played recently as he’s continuing to tear through his 2015 season.  5 straight top 25s worldwide, including both Opens…oh yeah, and he’s wicked long off the tee too.  Take another heavy dose of Brooks this week, and thank me later.

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: Putnam t-59th)

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson
– A mixture of converging trends here, as DJ’s form this season has been mostly straight-cash-homey, but his course history here is surprisingly weak, as in five prior appearances his best finish was a solo 15th in 2010.  With his level of talent, that poor record on this course is inexplicably horrible.  On paper, Firestone fits his game to a T, as he’s wicked long off the tee, but crooked at times, which is ok here with virtually no OB here and minimal hazards off the tee.  That might sound weird, but knowing that even if you spray one off the tee that you’ll almost certainly find it (it might just be in the trees or in another fairway) is a comforting thought for a basher like DJ.  I’m betting on his questionable course history streak to finally come to an end this week as he posts a top 5 and ramps up for some revenge next week at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Bowditch t-67th)

Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell
– Not a single top 25 on the PGA Tour all year and sans a t-8th last year, he had never cracked the top 20 at Firestone in 6 prior appearances.  Extra poor form, weak course history and yeah, that’s all I need to say to convince you to stay away from GMAC this week.


Bill Haas
Bill Haas
– It’s been a less than stellar season for young Haas, as other than a win at the Humana Challenge way back in January he’s been consistently inconsistent.  But, a flash of form last week at the Quicken Loans National was exactly what was needed to spark what should be a solid stretch run for the former FedEx Cup champ.  Haas finished t-7th here at Firestone in ’13 and t-19th in ’12, and after his 64 on Saturday last week and the fact that he contended until the mid-back 9 on Sunday last week until a rough last few holes (still finished t-4th), I’m predicting a strong resurgence into contention again this week.  Bill Haas is your Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week!


Joel Harrington

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