2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #IsitThursdayyet

Following Dustin Johnson’s runaway at the RBC Canadian Open, the PGA Tour treks onward to Akron, Ohio, host city for this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC for the final time.  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 Sergio Garcia and his pouty pants mope his way into a missed cut 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 at the RBC Canadian Open were highlighted by Semi-Flier Byeong Hun An’s t-2nd place finish (one of these weeks he’ll inevitably break through into the winner’s circle).

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

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Niemann t-37th)

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
– While everyone will be on the DJ train this week following his dominant performance in Canada, I’m pivoting to another bomber in Rory, who should be extra motivated coming off his t-2nd finish at Carnoustie just two weeks ago.  Not only is he in solid form, but the course is a great fit for him as well as he won at Firestone in 2014 and was t-5th last year.  If he gets the putter going, look out as it could be a DJ-like dominant performance.  Imagine that for back-to-back winning story lines going into the season’s final major next week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: An t-2nd)

Thorbjorn Olesen
Thorbjorn Olesen
– The streaky Dane with the flat-billed and sometimes polka-dotted Nike hats (see Carnoustie) that look too big for his head comes in on the heels of a t-12th finish at the British Open and some other top finishes on the European Tour, including a win in Italy in June.  Thorbjorn finished t-10th here last year in his second appearance and is primed for a similar or better finish this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Vegas t-29th)

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
– It’d be a storybook ending for El Tigre if he were to ride off into the Firestone sunset with a victory the final time the Tour visits this track- but sorry, it ain’t happenin’, folks.  Yep, he’s an 8-time winner here (EIGHT!), and in some of those wins he did hit a few foul balls off the tee.  But, as we’ve seen all season, he’s struggling with the big dog off the tee, which you can’t consistently get away with here.  This bust is relative of course, because there’s no cut this week and I’m certainly not expecting him to finish dead last; however, he’ll be hard-pressed to crack the crack the top 25 if he’s stray off the tee, let alone sniff the top 10.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: Burgoon MC)

Adam Scott
Adam Scott
– The former Masters champ’s ball-striking has been mostly steady all season and the putter finally showed some positives signs at Carnoustie as he notched a sneaky t-17th finish.  The 2011 Firestone champ also has 4 other top 10 finishes here, along with a t-13th last year.  Likely not ready to jump back into the winner’s circle yet, but a top 25 finish with top 10 upside is definitely in the cards.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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