As the world’s finest players descend on Firestone Country Club for the third World Golf Championship of the season, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, europeantour.com looks at some of the facts and figures…
· Darren Clarke, who won in 2003, is the only European player to have won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The only other non-American players to have lifted the trophy are Craig Parry (2002), Vijay Singh (2008) and Adam Scott (2011).
· In 2007 Tiger Woods created a European Tour record by winning the tournament for a third consecutive season. He became the first player to win the same event for three consecutive years on two different occasions, having already won in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
· Woods won the event for a seventh time in 2009, the first time a player has won an official European Tour event on seven occasions.
· Woods has a remarkable record over the South Course at Firestone. He has played in the tournament 13 times, winning it seven times and finishing tied second in 2004, fourth in 2002, tied fourth in 2003 and tied eighth in 2012.
· Should Keegan Bradley win for a second consecutive year at Firestone, he would become the second player (after Woods) to make a successful defence of a WGC event. As well as Woods’ WGC-Bridgestone Invitational success, the 37 year old has won back-to-back titles in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in 2003 and 2004, and the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2002 and 2003.
· A total of 37 European Tour Members qualified to play in the 2013 tournament. However, Louis Oosthuizen and Peter Senior are not competing. Of the remaining 35 Members, two will be making their first appearance in any of the WGC events - Jonas Blixt and Mikko Ilonen. Eight European Tour Members are making their debuts in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, including Blixt and Ilonen. The other six are: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, David Lynn, Thorbjørn Olesen, Richie Ramsay, Jaco Van Zyl and Chris Wood.
· The 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is the 15th edition. Fourteen of them have been played on Firestone Country Club’s South Course. The only year it was not staged at the Ohio layout was in 2002 when Sahalee CC was the venue.
· Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood will be playing in their 15th consecutive WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The trio have the honour of being the only players to have competed in every WGC-Bridgestone Invitational since the first year in 1999.
· Open Champion Phil Mickelson will be looking for his third European Tour International Schedule victory in four weeks, having won the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open before capturing the Claret Jug. The last player to win on The European Tour in three consecutive appearances was Germany’s Martin Kaymer (2010 USPGA Championship, 2010 KLM Open and 2010 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship).
· At aged 45 years and 163 days, Vijay Singh became the oldest winner of a WGC event when he triumphed here at Firestone in 2008.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 259, Tiger Woods (2000).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 61, José María Olazábal (1st round, 1990), Tiger Woods (2nd round, 2000).
• Firestone Country Club (South) measures 7,400 yards and is par 70. Originally a very generous perk from Harvey Firestone to employees of his tyre company, the club also has made a name as a stern test of golf. The South course, opened in 1929, was remade by Robert Trent Jones for the 1960 US PGA Championship, won by Jay Hebert. The PGA of America brought its championship back again in 1966 and ’75, by which time Firestone had become home of the World Series of Golf. The event moved under the World Golf Championships banner in 1999.