by Jeff Skinner
This is the time of year when professional golfers start to put the hammer down. This week’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational kicks off a stretch of golf that will not only test the best golfers in the world but wear them out at the same time.
The next eight weeks of the PGA Tour schedule consists of seven tournaments including a WGC, a major and the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Here is what the next two months have in store: WGC Bridgestone, PGA Championship, Wyndham Championship, The Barclays, The Deutsche Bank, The BMW and then the Tour Championship. There is only one off week between BMW and the Tour Championship. And the following week after the Tour Championship a lucky dozen golfers get to tee it up at the pressure filled Ryder Cup. If this stretch of golf doesn’t get you excited than something’s wrong.
This week at The WGC Adam Scott returns to Firestone Country Club as the defending champion and the world wants to see if he will bounce back from the Open Championship freefall. It won’t be easy for Scott here as 78 of the world’s best will be vying for the final WGC title of the season. The only top player to pass on the Bridgestone is Webb Simpson who is home with his wife and newborn daughter.
We’ll get to see plenty of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods this week and over the next two months as they will tee it up at The PGA Championship and at least three of the playoff events. Firestone is Tiger’s personal playground as he has seven victories there.
The FedEx Cup Playoffs have finally been around long enough for the players to get acclimated to the format and they have come to acknowledge the playoffs as a viable entity. Mickelson says they have achieved their goal, “There was a lot of skepticism at first when it first came out. We knew that it was a good thing in that it got the best players in the world to compete against each other four additional weeks. We were not sure how it was going to evolve but now it’s really become a staple of the PGA TOUR and something that the players really look forward to and strive for. They add move tournaments throughout the summer in an effort to increase their points standing heading into the FedExCup, and it’s become really a solid staple on the PGA TOUR.”
It will be a tough stretch for many players but this is the time of year that the rubber meets the road, to use an old Firestone tag line. We’ll crown another major champion, a Tour Championship winner, a FedEx Cup winner and determine the PGA Tour Player of the Year over the next eight weeks. And then we get the Ryder Cup… It doesn’t get much better than this.