PGA Tour
PGA European - WGC - Bridgestone Invitational Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, August 4th through Sunday, August 7th
SITE: Firestone Country Club (South Course), Akron, Ohio
COURSE ARCHITECT: Bert Way (1929), Robert Trent Jones (1960)
PAR: 70
YARDAGE: 7,400
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 399 yds10 - Par 4 410 yds
2 - Par 5 526 yds11 - Par 4 418 yds
3 - Par 4 442 yds12 - Par 3 180 yds
4 - Par 4 471 yds13 - Par 4 471 yds
5 - Par 3 200 yds14 - Par 4 467 yds
6 - Par 4 469 yds15 - Par 3 221 yds
7 - Par 3 219 yds16 - Par 5 667 yds
8 - Par 4 482 yds17 - Par 4 400 yds
9 - Par 4 494 yds18 - Par 4 464 yds
35 3,702 yds35 3,698 yds
Annual:  13th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 2-6 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 12-1:30 p.m. (et),
  CBS - Saturday/Sunday -- 2-6 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Hunter Mahan
Runner-Up:  Ryan Palmer
Tournament Record:  259 (Tiger Woods, 2000)
54-Hole Record:  192 (Tiger Woods, 2000)
36-Hole Record:  125 (Tiger Woods, 2000)
Course Record:  61 (Jose Maria Olazabal, 1990; Tiger Woods, 2000)
Total Purse:  $8,500,000
Shares:  1st Place - $1,400,000; 2nd Place - $840,000; 3rd Place - $480,000
2010 Finish
Hunter Mahan268Jim Furyk273
Ryan Palmer270Jeff Overton273
Retief Goosen271Peter Hanson274
Bo Van Pelt271Six players at275
Sean O'Hair272
Past WGC - Bridgestone Invitational Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2010Hunter Mahan (268) -- Ryan Palmer
2009Tiger Woods (268) -- Robert Allenby, Padraig Harrington
2008Vijay Singh (270) -- Stuart Appleby, Lee Westwood
2007Tiger Woods (272) -- Rory Sabbatini, Justin Rose
2006*Tiger Woods (270) -- Stewart Cink
2005Tiger Woods (274) -- Chris DiMarco
2004Stewart Cink (269) -- Rory Sabbatini, Tiger Woods
2003Darren Clarke (268) -- Jonathan Kaye
2002Craig Parry (268) -- Robert Allenby, Fred Funk
2001*Tiger Woods (268) -- Jim Furyk
2000Tiger Woods (259) -- Justin Leonard, Phillip Price
1999Tiger Woods (270) -- Phil Mickelson

* - Won in Playoff

Note:Formerly called WGC - NEC Invitational (1999-2005).

Top Contenders in the Field
Hunter Mahan------------------T-22T-10T-4Won
Retief Goosen10thT-11T-17wdT-58T-48T-61T-4T-29T-3
Bo Van Pelt---------------------------T-3
Sean O'Hair------------T-51------T-12T-705th
Jim Furyk2ndT-6T-6T-22T-243rd---T-27T-51T-6
Jeff Overton---------------------------T-6
Padraig HarringtonT-17T-47T-3974thT-24T-27T-14T-20T-2T-9
Steve Stricker------------------T-41T-43T-6T-9
Adam Scott------T-64T-55T-36T-10T-36T-56T-51T-9
Rory McIlroy------------------------T-68T-9
Matt Kuchar---T-38---------------------T-9
Louis Oosthuizen---------------------------T-9
Dustin Johnson------------------------T-2215th
Nick Watney------------------T-61---T-36T-16
Stewart CinkT-13T-47T-61WonT-412ndT-56T-43T-6T-19
Justin Rose---5thT-33---------T-2T-27T-29T-19
Miguel A. JimenezT-36------T-2757thT-54---T-10T-6T-22
Sergio Garcia---T-58T-30T-16T-13T-22T-20T-36T-22T-22
Geoff Ogilvy------------T-41T-36T-51T-68T-22T-22
Ernie ElsT-8T-15T-17T-65---T-31T-22T-27T-29T-22
Graeme McDowell---T-52------wd------T-56T-45T-22
Martin Kaymer---------------------T-68T-60T-22
Paul Casey------T-17T-16T-19T-4T-51T-8wdT-22
Jason Day---------------------------T-22
Bubba Watson---------------------------T-22
Zach Johnson---------T-22T-9T-36T-11T-16T-15T-33
Rickie Fowler---------------------------T-33
Bill Haas---------------------------T-33
K.J. Choi---T-19T-53T-58T-51T-22T-11T-16T-45T-46
Luke Donald---------T-16T-6T-8T-22---T-45T-46
Phil MickelsonT-8T-9T-23T-43T-51T-54T-46T-4T-58T-46
Charl Schwartzel---------------T-36---------T-58
Ian PoulterT-13---T-33---T-33T-13T-30T-16T-15T-65
Simon Dyson---------------------------T-71
Tiger WoodsWon4thT-4T-2WonWonWon---WonT-78
Lee WestwoodwdT-15T-46T-9T-24wdT-22T-29thwd
Darren Clarke3rdT-19WonT-14T-28---T-67T-6T-22---
Richard Green------------67th---T-30T-43------
Scott Stallings------------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Dustin Johnson
Darkhorse - Rickie Fowler
Last Week's Pick to Win (Sergio Garcia) - Finished tied for 39th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Davis Love III) - Missed the cut
NOTES:The PGA and European Tours travel to Ohio this week for the final tune-
up before the PGA Championship, the WGC - Bridgestone Invitational. This week's event boasts a remarkable field, as the top players in the world travel to Firestone Country Club in Akron. This is the third WGC event of 2011. Earlier this season, Luke Donald captured the Accenture Match Play Championship, and Nick Watney won the Cadillac Championship. This event is co- sanctioned with the PGA Tour by the European Tour, Asian PGA, Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia and the Southern Africa PGA Tour. The top 39 players in the current world rankings are expected to compete.

Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods returns to action this week for the first time since withdrawing from the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship in May. The last time Woods completed a tournament was at The Masters in April, where he tied for fourth. He has been sidelined due to knee and Achilles injuries. Woods has slipped to No. 28 in the current world rankings.

Woods has recorded seven wins and 10 top-five finishes in his 11 appearances at this event, going a combined 85-under par in them. Of the 44 rounds of golf, 15 have been in the 70s and 29 in the 60s. His overall earnings are $9,388,375. Woods has dominated the World Golf Championships, posting 16 wins and 27 top-10 finishes in 35 career starts.

Players qualify for this lucrative event if they are playing members of the 2010 U.S. and European Ryder Cup tames. If not otherwise eligible, players also make the field if they are ranked among the top 50, including any players tied for 50th place, in the world rankings as of Monday, July 25, 2011 and Monday, August 1, 2011; or tournament winners of worldwide events since the prior year's Bridgestone Invitational. The 72-hole, stroke-play format features no cut.

Last year, Hunter Mahan fired a six-under 64 in the final round to come from three shots back and win. Mahan finished at 12-under 268 for his third career PGA Tour win and second of 2010. His first victory at one of the lucrative World Golf Championships events was worth $1.4 million. Mahan's 64 was the lowest final-round score by a winner in tournament history.

In 2009, Woods fired a final-round, five-under 65 to come from behind and win his seventh title at this event. He finished at 12-under 268 and won by four over Robert Allenby and Padraig Harrington. Woods became the first player in PGA Tour history to win seven times on the same course. He is one victory away from joining Sam Snead as the only golfers to ever win the same championship eight times.

In 2008, Vijay Singh parred the final five holes to defeat Stuart Appleby and Lee Westwood by one stroke. Singh closed with a two-under 68 to complete the event at 10-under-par 270. He was the only player in the field to fire four rounds in the 60s. The win was Singh's 32nd on the PGA Tour, giving him the most titles for a foreign-born player. He has since added two more wins to stand at 34 victories. Singh became the oldest player to win a World Golf Championships event at 45 years, five months and 12 days old.

The World Series of Golf was held at Firestone Country Club from 1962-98, while the PGA Championship was also held at Firestone in 1960, 1966 and 1975. The first three years of this event were held at Firestone Country Club on the South Course. After a one-year stop at Sahalee Country Club in Washington in 2002, the event moved back to its present location at Firestone in 2003. This will be the 57th time in Firestone South history that the course is hosting a PGA Tour event. The first was the Rubber City Open from 1954-59.

Only five players have competed in all 12 Bridgestone Invitationals: Appleby, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood.

The PGA and European Tours will be in Georgia next week at Atlanta Athletic Club for the final major of the year, the PGA Championship. Martin Kaymer captured his first major championship title at the PGA last year.

08/02 11:34:32 ET

As of August 2, 2011, at 11:34 AM ET