The role of honour at the 2017 WGC Bridgestone Invitational is littered with major winners. That’s hardly surprising considering Firestone Country Club is a demanding par 70 measuring 7,400 yards that tests all aspects of a players game – therefore it’s hard to be overly dismissive of the chances of the favourites this week even though, as usual, I’ll still be trying to take them on.
Open Champion Spieth turns up here in much better form than last year, when he scrambled brilliantly to finish third. That continued his improvement here in his short career (49/10/3) and, if he hits his irons as well and puts as well as he did at the Open, he could be very hard to beat this week. However, winning four tournaments on the bounce is very hard to do, and he may just have one eye on next week’s PGA Championship.
That comment also applies to Rory McIlroy, who must be relishing the chances of playing a major at Quail Hollow next week, and it may be that he uses this week to fine tune his yardages with his new caddie after sacking JP Fitgerald.
Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson took last year’s event as rode the crest of his first major victory wave but, as he’s not quite in as good a form this time around, and his previous form here was nothing to write home about, I’ll pass on him too.
One player who I think will definitely be looking forward to this tournament is new US Open Champion Brooks Koepka, as he was sixth here on debut in 2015, and long-straight drivers tend to do well here. A first WGC Title would also be a second box ticked this year, and he’s expected to go well.
Charl Schwartzel is another former major winner who has shown glimpses of returning to his very best this year and, having finished fourth and seventh in the last three years, he looks well worth including in this week’s staking plan.
Last, but not least, I’m adding Jason Dufner to the staking plan. The sour-faced former PGA Championship winner will be looking forward to his favourite tournament next week, and he also boasts a fourth and a seventh here in the last four years.
WGC Bridgestone Tips
Brooks Koepka 3 Points Each-Way @ 16/1 with Paddy Power (paying 7 places)
Charl Schwartzel 1 Point Each-Way @ 55/1 with Paddy Power (paying 7 places)