Ahhh, we’re back to Ohio. To the familiar vista that is Firestone Country Club. The eastern Midwestern destination we all recognize — an annual Tour stop stamped firmly with the Wolf Golf Championship tag, having witnessed EIGHT Tiger Woods dubyas since 1999. It’s 7,400 yards, a par-70, and its 18th green’s staged some fantastically memorable moments in modern golf.
There was the Tiger 9-iron that fell from the moon right damn near into the cup in the year 2000 AD.
There was Stevie Williams, after Tiger fired him and Adam Scott won, becoming perhaps the first caddie ever to give an interview on an 18th green rambling about HIS personal records, HIS victories, and HIS most meaningful win in the year 2011 AD.
Firestone’s just a nice, straightforward, tough golf course. Sure, Tiger finished 21-under here in 2000. But since, just 2 winners have come in at better than dash 15. For these guys, that’s relatively tough.
Other than that, not a ton to say. It doesn’t have awe-inspiring views or dramatic elevation changes. It’s just there. It’s well-designed. It’s straightforward. It’s fucking Ohio. You go hit your ball, chase it, hit it again, add up your score and see what happens. Simple.
Oh, and it was the site of this minx taking Rory straight to pound town right on the damn tee box in 2014.
It’s a WGC, so the field is strong. Very strong. And exclusive. Just 61 players will tee it up (most tourneys feature 156 players) and it’s top-heavy based on world rankings. Here’s how you book your tee time at Firestone:
– Play in most recent Ryder or Prez Cup
– Rank in top-50 in world one week or two weeks before event
– Win a PGA Tour tourney within a year of the event
– Win a selected tourney from one of three diff global Tours
While most of the big dogs are here, some notables are not. Rory, Willet, Westwood and a few other foreigners are at the French Open. That’s in France. Much of this can be chalked up to precisely what many of the absentees last week were attributed to: this year’s weird scheduling. The Olympics in August threw everything off; ironic, for no one is fucking going.
Even Shane Lowry, Firestone’s defending champ and a recent collapser at Oakmont, withdrew from Rio. He’ll be in the field this week, though, looking to repeat.
DJ’s teeing it up for the first time since his dramatic, controversially handled dominance at Oakmont. Friday he’ll be in the featured group with Spieth and Rose; Thursday the key featured group will be J-Day, Adam Scott and Russel Knox (how’d he slip in there?).
It has now crossed the line. It’s an embarrassment. It’s a failure. Jason Day, the #1 ranked player on planet earth? Out. Rory McIlroy? Out. Adam Scott? Out. Tiger Woods? Dead. Jordan Spieth? Officially “uncertain” (see: out).
Will it still be fun to watch and a great golf spectacle? Nope. Absolutely not. It’s gonna stink. The players are gonna stink. The gold medalist will have an asterisk. It’s a worst-case scenario for golf’s triumphant first return to the Olympics since 1904. And it’s all the IOC and Brazil’s fault. Act civilized and none of this would have happened.
So far I’ve been pretty good with predicting shitty performances, so-so on predicting how the course will play, and downright terrible at predicting the winner. Third try comin’ up. Let’s get it.
(-15) — Two of the last three winners here won at 15-under. While Lowry was just 11-under last year, I’m sick and tired of courses playing easier than I predict, thus leaving me upset and distraught. As I’ve preached over and over again, I want carnage. So far haven’t gotten it. This week, preparing for the best and hoping for the worst. 15-under crowns a World Golf Championship Champ in Akron.
J Day — Somehow, Jason hasn’t won here before. Which is weird because it feels like he’s won literally everywhere. This track feels like one of those places that the best just win at. Jason’s going to do it eventually, might as well be this year.
When you’re presented with a field of just 61 dudes who’ve all earned their right to be here based on superb golf merit, this becomes difficult. How do you pick dead fucking last out of the best/hottest 61 players on earth (minus the Euros)? You look at DLIII, that’s how. Since winning last year, David Love III has mail timed it in and is one trillion percent focused on this fall’s Ryder Cup. As he should be. Captain Davis will finish DFL. Book it.
Mrs. Doubtfire qualified for the British Open! After being part of the coverage for the last few years, Montie will tee it up, miss the cut, then hop in the booth for the weekend. Riveting stuff from the old chap.
— The Open (@TheOpen) June 28, 2016
The Tour’s 2016-2017 schedule was released this week. Everything’s back to normal, except Doral in Florida will not host an event for the first time since 1962. It throws a little bit of a wrench in the Florida swing, but the event is moving to Mexico City, not an overly difficult charter flight for the boys to hop.
It’s 4th of July weekend so, I mean, you probably shouldn’t be inside watching golf all weekend. Need to hop into the AC, grab a bottle of water, and cool the jets for an hour or two? Perfect. Toss on the action at Firestone. It’s a solid stepping stone towards British Open week in 2 weeks, the PGA in New York 2 weeks after that, and the now brutal Olympics 2 weeks after that. Which all serves, of course, as a massive stepping stone towards the only thing any true American golf fan cares about — the Ryder Cup. If you think my USA onesie won’t somehow be involved in that, you’re an insane person.