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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My "5 to Watch" at the WGC-Bridgestone

The second of this week's "5 to Watch" posts concerns the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at the Firestone Country Club in Akron OH. (That's Nicklaus territory!)


The defending champion is Dustin Johnson, but DJ may have his hands full this year. There are a number of players who are on the verge of getting their games back in shape... and a few who are already on top of their games.

I struggle to pick only five players this week. I find myself leaving red-hot Jon Rahm off my list (you know he's up for this WGC, after getting "DJ'ed" in Mexico), and Rickie Fowler (who always seems to play well in this event), and Brooks Koepka's looking pretty good as well. But I can only pick five...
  • Of course Dustin Johnson makes the list! He finally appears to be shaking off the effects of that fall just before the Masters. And it's not just that he's the defending champion -- we tend to forget that he's won three of the last four WGCs. (You may recall that the WGC-China went to Hideki Matsuyama.) He really just needs a few putts to fall.
  • This one may surprise you, but Kevin Chappell should be high on more lists. He finished T3 here last year, and has only gotten better since. With his first win coming earlier this year, his confidence must be sky-high at this point, despite a few missed cuts.
  • Likewise, Matt Kuchar was T3 at Firestone last year. Do I really need to remind you why he should be on your short list?
  • While his chances are probably being overhyped this week, you have to think Jordan Spieth could get it done. It really is just a question of how much that Open win drained from him. Is he on adrenaline or fumes this week? We'll have to see.
  • And my flier is... Adam Scott. Yeah, I'm calling the man who's fifth on the Firestone earnings list a flier. But something's been missing from his game this season. I have no guarantee that he'll find it this week, but a comfortable track like this might be a good place for everything to fall into place.
My pick is (drum roll, please)... Kuchar. I know he wants to win this one, but I think he's mentally preparing for the PGA next week. Firestone may be the perfect place to get his mind focused for it, and that could result in a WGC win.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 1:30pm ET, but don't forget about the news conferences today at 2pm ET today.

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