The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational has produced a list of winners that reads like it could be the top-10 ranking in the world—well, except for that one guy who, despite having won the event eight times, is ranked 262nd. We’re not quite sure who he is.
The South course at Firestone CC annually puts a premium on ball striking, with four of the last five winners finishing top five in strokes gained/tee-to-green the week of their victories. Of those players (Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Keegan Bradley, Adam Scott and Hunter Mahan), all but Bradley finished top five in GIR percentage the week they won.
With that said, we’re looking to the tour’s best ball strikers in picking a winner this week. Here’s who we’ve narrowed it down to, along with odds from GolfOdds.com and a peak at each player’s irons.
Adam Scott 15/1
The sweet-swinging Aussie is second on tour in greens in regulation (73.2 percent) and fifth in strokes gained/tee-to-green. Scott seems to have cleared up some putting woes that plagued him early this season, and he’s coming off top-10 finishes in the last two majors. He also finished T8 at Firestone CC last year and has three other top 10s at the event, including a victory in 2011.
Scott is playing a set of Titleist MB 680 irons.
Hideki Matsuyama 25/1
Matsuyama leads the tour in strokes gained/tee-to-green and is ninth in greens in regulation (70.9 percent). He hasn’t finished worse than T23 since the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral but hasn’t won since the 2014 Memorial. That could change this week at Firestone CC, a course not all that different from Muirfield Village. In only two showings at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he’s finished T21 and T12.
In Matsuyama’s bag are Srixon Z 945 irons with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts.
Jordan Spieth 11/2
This pick doesn’t need justification, but here it is anyway. Spieth is third on tour in strokes gained/tee-to-green and is probably the best putter in the game right now. He can't be discounted in an event of this magnitude, especially when a win comes with the No. 1 ranking.
Spieth is swinging a set of Titleist AP2 714 irons.
Sergio Garcia 25/1
Last year’s runner-up at Firestone CC is coming off a T6 at the British Open and is fourth on tour in strokes gained/tee-to-green. He’s T18 in greens in regulation (69.9 percent) and fourth in scoring average (69.73). Yes, Garcia blew a three-shot, 54-hole lead last year, but that was in the midst of McIlroy’s dominant run. Nobody was getting in Rory's way.
Sergio is playing TaylorMade RSi TP irons.
Check back Monday to see how our picks fared and for a run down on which club(s) played the biggest role in crowning a winner.