2014 WGC Bridgestone Invitational: Recap

Nothing can be taken away from Sergio’s gutsy effort at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational this weekend. Except the trophy, which was taken with relative ease by Rory McIlroy on Sunday. Okay, all kidding and mean comments aside, the season’s third WGC event brought with it the usual drama and excitment, and penned a role-reversal from the Open with Rory instead chasing Sergio on Sunday, but unfortunately McIlroy coasted to a victory, which limited the excitement in the final round. McIlroy said he thought a final round score of 63 would secure the win, but it only took a 66 to beat Garcia, who shot one over par, by two strokes.

Rory and Sergio, Ryder Cup friends, exchange pleasantries after the WGC Bridgestone Invitational conclusion. Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Rory and Sergio, Ryder Cup friends, exchange pleasantries after the WGC Bridgestone Invitational conclusion. Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

The other big storyline from the week was Tiger Woods withdrawing in his final round after agitating and possibly re-injuring his back. With the PGA Championship getting underway, and the Ryder Cup looming, Woods’ status is murkier than ever before. On the other hand, Phil Mickelson fired his lowest round of the season with an impressive 62 on Sunday including a hole out on 13. Mickelson could be breaking at just the right time for his PGA Championship hopes as well as Ryder Cup aspirations.

As for our 12 highlighted players, it was a mixed bag of results. As mentioned, we really liked Sergio who seemed poised for a PGA win – and he certainly was before his final round stalled and McIlroy was able to overtake him. We also mentioned that Ryan Moore was poised for a win, and he opened the tournament with a 65, good for a second place tie, and then struggled on Friday, and fought his way back to a T8 finish on the weekend. Perhaps the best advice we gave was on the Aussie – not Adam Scott – Marc Leishman. With this solo-third added to Leishman’s resume, he has put together quite an impressive 2014 campaign, and there is no reason why he shouldn’t continue at the PGA next week. He is playing great golf, especially with the irons.

As for our misses, Furyk did not live up to the enormous hype we gave him – granted he finished with a top 15 still – of course we all know what happened with Tiger, Stricker really looked out of sync all week en route to a T63, and our highest dark horse was Gary Woodland with a measly T19. I’m giving us an out on the Jason Dufner pick, who finished in a T66, and give the explanation below. Oh yeah, and I might have mentioned that Rory and Rickie were going to have disappointing weeks… Maybe Rickie’s T8 finish was disappointing given his heightened expectation to earn top 5s, but obviously I failed to give both their proper credit. Rory might finally be growing into the guy we all thought he would be after the 2012 PGA at Kiawah, right before our eyes. Now, we look ahead to the season’s final major. Onward and upward!

Highly Favored Players

1. Jim Furyk (-5, T15)

2. Sergio Garcia (-13, Solo-2)

3. Adam Scott (-7, T8)

4. Tiger Woods (Withdrew)

Guys We Like

5. Steve Stricker (+12, T63)

6. Ryan Moore (-7, T8)

7. Marc Leishman (-12, Solo-3)

8. Jason Dufner* (+14, T66)

Potential Dark Horses

9. Gary Woodland (-4, T19)

10. Matt Jones (-1, T31)

11. Jamie Donaldson (E, T37)

12. Pablo Larrazabel (+12, T63)

*I noticed this article on Thursday, detailing a recent development with Dufner’s injury status, and it was too late to do anything but watch his struggles. Had he not been dealing with the neck injury, I stand by my thought that Firestone C.C. should set up well for Dufner.

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