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

DATES: Thursday, August 6th through Sunday, August 9th
SITE: Firestone Country Club (South Course), Akron, Ohio
COURSE ARCHITECT: Bert Way (1928), 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:  11th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 2-6 p.m. (et),
  Thursday/Friday -- 8:30-12:30 a.m. (et) - replay,
  Saturday/Sunday -- 12-1:30 p.m. (et),
  CBS - Saturday/Sunday -- 2-6 p.m. (et)
  Golf Channel - Saturday/Sunday -- 9:30-11:30 p.m. (et) - replay
Defending Champion:  Vijay Singh
Runner-Up:  Stuart Appleby, Lee Westwood
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 - $1,434,375; 2nd Place - $850,000; 3rd Place - $499,375
 
2008 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
Vijay Singh270Darren Clarke273
Stuart Appleby271Peter Lonard273
Lee Westwood271Paul Casey274
Retief Goosen272D.J. Trahan274
Phil Mickelson272Miguel Angel Jimenez275
Hunter Mahan275
 
Past WGC - Bridgestone Invitational Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
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
Player1999200020012002200320042005200620072008
Vijay SinghT-15---T-13T-11T-6T-32T-3T-45T-56Won
Stuart ApplebyT-23T-20T-5T-42T-47T-9T-13T-71T-14T-2
Lee WestwoodT-33T-20wdT-15T-46T-9T-24wdT-22T-2
Phil Mickelson2ndT-4T-8T-9T-23T-43T-51T-54T-46T-4
Retief Goosen---T-2410thT-11T-17wdT-58T-48T-61T-4
Darren ClarkeT-36T-173rdT-19WonT-14T-28wdT-67T-6
Paul Casey------------T-17T-16T-19T-4T-51T-8
Hunter Mahan------------------------T-22T-10
Miguel A. JimenezT-2736thT-36------T-2757thT-54---T-10
Sean O'Hair------------------T-51------T-12
K.J. Choi---------T-19T-53T-58T-51T-22T-11T-16
Zach Johnson---------------T-22T-9T-36T-11T-16
Henrik Stenson------------------T-13T-31T-41T-16
Tim Clark------------T-64T-48T-5174thT-6T-20
Justin Leonard20thT-2---T-28T-23T-50T-19T-31T-9T-20
Padraig HarringtonT-12T-27T-17T-47T-3974thT-24T-27T-14T-20
Robert Allenby---T-12T-23T-2T-6T-9---T-2281stT-20
Rory Sabbatini------------T-51T-2T-28T-36T-2T-27
Justin Rose---------5thT-33---------T-2T-27
Ernie Els5thT-12T-8T-15T-17T-65---T-31T-22T-27
Jim FurykT-10T-42ndT-6T-6T-22T-243rd---T-27
Sergio GarciaT-7------T-58T-30T-16T-13T-22T-20T-36
Trevor Immelman------------T-9T-32T-19T-13T-36T-36
Angel Cabrera---------T-19T-23T-4T-41T-4T-69T-36
Anthony Kim---------------------------T-36
Steve Stricker------------------------T-41T-43
Stewart Cink---7thT-13T-47T-61WonT-412ndT-56T-43
David Toms------T-13T-15T-33T-6T-9T-8T-61T-48
Adam Scott------------T-64T-55T-36T-10T-36T-56
Graeme McDowell---------T-52------wd------T-56
Kenny Perry---------T-24T-53T-27T-6T-27T-11T-66
Geoff Ogilvy------------------T-41T-36T-51T-68
Tiger WoodsWonWonWon4thT-4T-2WonWonWon---
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Tiger Woods
Darkhorse - Anthony Kim
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Miguel Angel Jimenez) - Finished tied for 17th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Jamie Donaldson) - Finished tied for 39th
 
NOTES:
The PGA and European Tours travel to Ohio this week for the final tune-up prior to 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 and final WGC event scheduled for 2009. Earlier this season, Geoff Ogilvy captured the Accenture Match Play Championship and Phil Mickelson won the CA 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 purse increased $500,000 from last year to $8.5 million, with the winner receiving $1,434,375.

The top-17 players in the current world rankings are expected to compete this week. World No. 2 Phil Mickelson is playing for the first time since finishing tied for second at the U.S. Open in June. Mickelson has been taking time off to be with his wife and mother, who have both undergone breast cancer surgery. Stewart Cink is playing for the first time this week since winning his first major championship in a playoff over Tom Watson at the British Open three weeks ago.

Players qualify for this lucrative event if they are playing members of the 2007 U.S. and International Presidents Cup teams; playing members of the 2008 U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams; if not otherwise eligible, players ranked among the top 50, including any players tied for 50th place, on the Official World Golf Ranking as of Monday, July 27, 2009 and Monday, August 3, 2009; tournament winners of worldwide events since the prior year's Bridgestone Invitational with an Official World Golf Ranking Strength of Field Rating of 115 points or more; and the winner of one selected tournament from each of the following tours: Australian Tour (2008 Australian PGA Championship), South Africa Tour (2009 Tour Championship), Asian Tour (2008 Volvo Masters of Asia) and Japan Golf Tour (2009 Japan Golf Tour Championship). The 72-hole, stroke play format features no cut.

Last year, 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.

Westwood birdied eight, 11 and 13 to move back into contention in the final round. But he came up short of the green at 14 and tried to putt his ball from 62 feet. He left that well short, then missed his par-saving putt from 17 feet. The bogey left him at nine-under, but he still had a shot. Singh parred the final five holes and not only did Westwood have a shot, but Appleby flew up into a share of second with three back-nine birdies. The Australian had an 18-footer at the last to grab a piece of the lead, but left the putt hanging on the edge of the hole. It was not settled until Singh's last putt fell. He had 29 feet for birdie at the last, but that putt came up a little over three feet short. Singh had missed several short putts on the week, but this one dropped into the hole for par and the win.

Singh became the oldest player, and first in his 40s, to win a World Golf Championships event at 45 years, five months and 12 days old. The previous oldest winner of the Bridgestone Invitational was Craig Parry in 2002 at 36 years, seven months and 13 days old. The previous oldest winner of a WGC event was David Toms, when he captured the 2005 Accenture Match Play Championship at 38 years, 1 month and 23 days old.

In 2007, Tiger Woods fired a final-round 65 to run away with the title, winning by eight over Rory Sabbatini and Justin Rose. He finished the event at eight-under-par 272 and was the only player in the field to finish under par. The victory was the third consecutive for Woods at this event and sixth overall. He became only the fourth player in history to win on the same course six times, joining Jack Nicklaus (The Masters at Augusta National), Sam Snead (Miami Open at Miami Springs Golf & Country Club) and Alex Ross (North & South Open at Pinehurst No. 2).

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 here 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 55th time in Firestone South history that the course is hosting a PGA Tour event. The first was the Rubber City Open from 1954-59.

Woods has recorded top-five finishes in all nine of his Bridgestone Invitational appearances. Woods is a combined 91-under par in his nine appearances at this event. Of the 36 rounds of golf, 10 have been in the 70s and 26 in the 60s. His overall earnings are $7,952,500.

Woods has dominated the World Golf Championships. In his 29 career starts, Woods has 15 wins and 24 top-10 finishes. In fact, Woods has earned $21,063,330 in his 29 WGC appearances.

Ogilvy, winner of the 2008 World Golf Championships-CA Championship and also the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in 2006 and 2009, has a chance to join Woods as the only other player to win all three World Golf Championships events. The 31-year-old Australian, along with Woods and Darren Clarke, is one of three players who have won more than one individual World Golf Championships title. Just five players have competed in all 10 Bridgestone Invitationals: Stuart Appleby, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood.

The PGA and European Tours will be in Minnesota next week at Hazeltine National Golf Club for the final major of the year, the PGA Championship. Harrington captured his third major championship and first PGA Championship title last year.

08/04 15:48:03 ET

As of August 4, 2009, at 03:48 PM ET

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