2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational picks, predictions odds: Ranking the field at Firestone 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational picks, predictions odds: Ranking the field at Firestone
This week marks the middle of a frenetic five-week run to end the 2017-18 PGA Tour regular season. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational takes place in... 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational picks, predictions odds: Ranking the field at Firestone

2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational picks, predictions odds: Ranking the field at Firestone

This week marks the middle of a frenetic five-week run to end the 2017-18 PGA Tour regular season. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational takes place in Akron, Ohio, at Firestone Country Club for the 19th and final time before moving to Memphis in 2019. It’s a WGC so stars and superstars litter the tee sheet, and a certain somebody with 14 major championships and eight wins on this course is ranked No. 50 and in the event for the first time in a few years. 

Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.

Event information

What: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational | When: Aug. 2-5
Where: Firestone Country Club — Akron, Ohio

Ranking the field (odds)

  • Dustin Johnson (7-1): I legitimately think D.J. could win three straight between Canada, this week and next week’s PGA Championship and remind us all who actually has the best closing kick.
  • Rory McIlroy (10-1): I’m in on McIlroy to finish out this year in a big way. He showed me something on the weekend at Carnoustie. Fully subscribed.
  • Tiger Woods (12-1): Yeah, come at me. Take his name out of it, and you’re picking somebody who just finished in the top 10 at The Open and has eight (!) wins at this course.
  • Justin Thomas (22-1): Thrived last year after missing the cut at The Open with two wins in his next four events. It’s not difficult to see him catching the same kind of heater this time around.
  • Tommy Fleetwood (28-1): Of all the top guys, he’s one of the ones it’s easiest to see catching absolute fire over the last six weeks and riding with Patrick Reed into the opening ceremonies of the Ryder Cup in Paris.
  • Justin Rose (12-1): I’m not sure there’s anyone I trust more right now than Rose. He has four top-five finishes here.
  • Rickie Fowler (22-1): A thing I did not know is that Fowler has four straight top 10s at Firestone.
  • Francesco Molinari (25-1): Despite his hilariously good summer, I hate picking guys who are coming off of apex wins like Molinari is.
  • Jordan Spieth (20-1): Only because it’s a borderline crime to not include Spieth in any top 10 for the next two decades.
  • Zach Johnson (50-1): He’s not sexy, especially at a bomber’s course like Firestone, but he has five top 10s here including a second place last year when Hideki Matsuyama set fire to the place on Sunday.
  • Tony Finau (50-1): Finau, who has finished top three at each of the first three majors of the year, is 50-1 to win the next two weeks. Insane.
  • Jason Day (25-1): Day has more wins this year than Spieth, Fowler and McIlroy combined. 
  • Xander Schauffele (35-1): Finished top 15 here last year and nearly just won The Open.
  • Jon Rahm (25-1): He’s gotten a little lost over the last few months, but don’t forget about how well his game travels all over the planet.
  • Paul Casey (40-1): It says more about the field than it does about Casey that he’s 15th on this list. 
  • Field strength — A+: As good as it gets for a no-cut small field event.

    Three stories to watch

    1. Tiger, back: Big Cat got in the field by a single stroke at the Open Championship, which is perfect because he’s more or less owned this place for the last two decades. It’s the most likely spot for win No. 80 for Woods, and it would be the perfect bookend to his last win, which was on this course in 2013. For all the consternation within those five years, Woods taking a victory lap at what amounts to a home game in that course’s final week as a PGA Tour host would be a nice appetizer to next week’s final major of the year.

    2. Akron, gone: I think of it as the host for this tournament, but Firestone’s history with the PGA Tour runs deep. It dates back to the 1950s when the Rubber City Open (!) was held there and continued throughout the years with numerous World Series of Golf events and three PGA Championships. I don’t know if it’s sad to see the course go, but it feels like piling on for Akron to lose golf and LeBron James in the same year.

    3. Ryder Cup implications: I wrote about this earlier in the week, but there are some serious Ryder Cup implications that will play out over the next two weeks. The fates of Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele (among others) will swing over the next eight rounds with $20 million worth of purses and a handful of Ryder Cup uniforms at stake.

    Past winners

    • 2017: Hideki Matsuyama
    • 2016: Dustin Johnson
    • 2015: Shane Lowry
    • 2014: Rory McIlroy
    • 2013: Tiger Woods

     

    WGC-Bridgestone Invitational picks

    2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational picks, predictions odds: Ranking the field at Firestone

    Rory McIlroy

    Winner: I picked him for Bridgestone and next week’s PGA Championship between when he finished up at Carnoustie and Francesco Molinari won. He showed me something there.    

    2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational picks, predictions odds: Ranking the field at Firestone

    Dustin Johnson

    Top 10: Easy pick here. D.J. is coming off a big win last week and took Firestone two seasons ago. He was lousy at Carnoustie, but we’re a long way from Carnoustie, and the biggest dog on the PGA Tour should eat on this track.    

    Zach Johnson

    Sleeper: Somebody who has this many top 10s at a course and played well at The Open should not have 50-1 odds for an event.    
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