For the last time, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will grace the grounds of Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. This tournament will move to Memphis, Tennessee for future years and Firestone will get the Senior Players Tournament next July. This event has been a regular PGA Tour stop as a World Golf Championships event every year since 1999, except for a stop in Washington in 2002.

It would be only fitting if six-time winner Tiger Woods could bookend the years of this tournament with wins. He won the inaugural event in 1999 and his win in 2013 remains his most recent win. Woods is +1600 and will get a lot of press heading into this year’s event with a star-studded field.

There are only about 75 players in this event annually. The criteria is extremely strict, so we truly have a who’s who of golf down in the Rubber City. There is an alternate event for other PGA Tour players, but this is the one that everybody is watching. The Bert Way design was redone by Robert Trent Jones in 1960 and has been a favorite stop of the players. It is a par 70 coming in at 7,400 yards, which is a big reason why big hitters have had a lot of success in recent editions.

The par 4s at Firestone are among the toughest on tour. Firestone is relatively narrow with its location near an urban environment, so the holes do run alongside each other in a lot of instances. That limits the amount of available room for errant tee shots. The signature par 5 16th comes in at 667 yards, but is actually one of the better scoring holes most years because it is actually a par 5.

All in all, we’ve got 29 of the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup points standings and the top 51 in the Official World Golf Ranking. It doesn’t get much better than that, especially for the final send-off for Firestone as a regular PGA Tour stop.

The tournament favorite at 5Dimes Sportsbook is 2016 champion Dustin Johnson. DJ, fresh off of his win at last week’s RBC Canadian Open, is +695 and the only player under 10/1. Johnson’s 6-under score is the lowest winning score since 2005 and is tied for the lowest winning score in this event, but it was good enough to edge out Scott Piercy. Johnson tied for 17th last year with three really good rounds and one subpar round of 75 on Friday. With the small field, there is no cut, so he was able to make it to the weekend at 3-over. He shot 75-76 over the weekend in 2015 to finish tied for 53rd. He’s had a bit of a tough go of it at Firestone, even with that win in 2016. He had a second-round 73 that year. In 2016, because of the Olympics, the tournament was in late June and sat just two weeks after the US Open and two weeks before The Open. That watered down the field a bit. He’s not worth a play this week in my estimation.

Rory McIlroy checks in at +1095 as the second favorite. Rory won back in 2014 by two shots over Sergio Garcia. He was able to make up some ground with a Sunday 66 as Garcia shot a 71. Sergio had a 61 on Friday, but faltered on Sunday and opened the door for Rory. McIlroy was fifth last year in his first Firestone start since winning in 2014. Rory has been pretty picky about his events this season, but ranks 10th in strokes gained tee-to-green. He’s 11th in stroked gained off the tee. Those are both important stats on a big track like Firestone where it’s all about how you hit it from the box. Rory was second at The Open Championship at Carnoustie after tying for 12th at the Travelers. His lone win this season on the PGA Tour came at the Arnold Palmer, but he’s a threat this weekend.

Justin Rose is +1300 this week as the third favorite. He’s been playing really well, but it’s been a hot minute since he’s played well at Firestone. Rose was third in 2015, but only has two rounds under par in the two years since and both of those are 69s. He’s been at least 2-over in the other six rounds. He was fourth back in 2014, so he’s got two strong finishes and two poor finishes over his last four WGC-Bridgestone Invitationals. He’s racked up four straight top-10 finishes, including a tie for second with McIlroy at Carnoustie, so he’s in as good of form as we’ve seen him in a while. It’s hard to argue with that, but this price point with his recent history at Firestone is tough to back.

Tiger Woods is the man, the myth, and the legend in Akron. He has eight career wins and one runner-up, which came back in 2004, at Firestone. This tournament represents his most recent win back in 2013, as mentioned above. Tiger has had a lot of issues off of the tee, but he’s sixth in strokes gained tee-to-green, so he’s been strong with the middle irons and on the approach. At +1600, the price is skewed a little bit, but the 42-year-old has back-to-back top-10 finishes and it would add to the comeback for him to win the last event at a course he has dominated in his career.

With so many excellent players in the field, we’ve got a lot of golfers well under 100/1, so there aren’t a ton of noteworthy value buys. Paul Casey at +4500 is a good one off of his top-five finish last season. Luke List is probably the best long shot candidate at +125000. List is fifth in strokes gained tee-to-green this season in his 60 rounds. He’s also sixth in strokes gained off-the-tee. He rates up with the best in those areas, but doesn’t have the wins or performances to show for the stats. At a price point like this, he’s very much worthy of consideration, even with the strong field.

Coverage of the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be on Golf Channel and CBS this week.

Odds as of July 30, 4 p.m. ET:

Dustin Johnson +695

Rory McIlroy +1095

Justin Rose +1300

Tiger Woods +1600

Jordan Spieth +1650

Rickie Fowler +2000

Jason Day +2500

Francesco Molinari +2500

Jon Rahm +2800

Justin Thomas +2800

Tommy Fleetwood +2800

Brooks Koepka +3000

Henrik Stenson +3300

Alex Noren +4000

Patrick Reed +4000

Paul Casey +4500

Zach Johnson +4500

Hideki Matsuyama +4500

Bubba Watson +5000

Xander Schauffele +5000

Tony Finau +5000

Webb Simpson +6000

Patrick Cantlay +6000

Bryson DeChambeau +6000

Marc Leishman +6600

Matt Kuchar +6600

Phil Mickelson +7000

Branden Grace +7000

Charley Hoffman +7000

Tyrrell Hatton +7500

Sergio Garcia +7500

Thorbjorn Olesen +8000

Russell Knox +8000

Kevin Chappell +8000

Louis Oosthuizen +8000

Adam Scott +8000

Ian Poulter +9000

Kevin Kisner +10000

Luke List +12500

Charl Schwartzel +12500

Matthew Fitzpatrick +12500

Kyle Stanley +15000

Kevin Na +15000

Daniel Berger +15000

Gary Woodland +15000

Emiliano Grillo +15000

Haotong Li +17500

Pat Perez +17500

Rafa Cabrera-Bello +17500

Ross Fisher +20000

Austin Cook +20000

Brian Harman +20000

Kiradech Aphibarnrat +20000

Brendan Steele +22500

Cameron Smith +22500

Adam Hadwin +22500

Si Woo Kim +22500

Paul Dunne +25000

Aaron Wise +25000

Jhonattan Vegas +25000

Anirban Lahiri +27500

Brandon Stone +27500

Alexander Bjork +30000

Andrew Landry +37500

Shubhankar Sharma +37500

Satoshi Kodaira +40000

Ted Potter, Jr. +50000

Wade Ormsby +50000

Patton Kizzire +50000

Ryuko Tokimatsu +50000

Kodai Ichihara +50000

Jaco Ahlers +75000




The final World Golf Championships event of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season is this weekend at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. It is the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and it returns to its annual spot during the first weekend of August after being played in late June and early July last year to accommodate the Olympics in Rio. This is one of the most exclusive fields on the PGA Tour schedule, with just about 75 players that meet the necessary criteria for a WGC event and an invitational event at that.

The field consists of the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking, the participants in the most recent Ryder Cup, past tournament winners, and some players from the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine Tour, the Asian Tour, and the Japan Golf Tour. That means that a lot of notable names are in the field and some very good players can be had at some very good prices.

There are 78 players this year, with 33 of the top 35 in the FedEx Cup points standings on hand.

The golf course in question this week is the South Course at Firestone Country Club. It’s a par 70 checking in around 7,400 yards. This tournament started in 1999 and has been played at Firestone every year, except for 2002, when it was played at Sahalee in the state of Washington. This tournament used to be like miniature golf for Tiger Woods, who won seven times from 1999-2009 and added another for good measure in 2013.

The course was originally used as a perk for Firestone employees to use. A Robert Trent Jones re-design in 1960 prior to the PGA Championship really put the course on the map and it has been used for big events ever since. Hearing the name and the location wouldn’t make you think twice, but this is one of the most challenging courses on tour with its low par coupled with its long length and some very challenging putting surfaces. Dustin Johnson’s win here at 6-under last year was the lowest winning score since 2005, but 12-under or less has won seven times since 2006.

Over at 5Dimes Sportsbook, the favorite may come as a little bit of a shock. It is not Dustin Johnson, nor is it Rory McIlroy. It is Jordan Spieth, the winner of The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale just a couple of weeks ago. Spieth is priced at +730 in his quest to grab his first WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title. Johnson and McIlroy each have one. Spieth tied for third last year at 3-under. It was his second straight top-10 at Firestone and his best career finish. He finished tied for 10th in 2015, seven shots off the pace at 4-under, but finished with a 66 on Sunday. Spieth also won the Travelers Championship, so he’s working on back-to-back wins. He was 13th in Ohio at the Memorial at Jack Nicklaus’s home course and second in the Dean & DeLuca Invitational, so he has four top-15 finishes over his last five events.

Rory McIlroy is the second favorite at +860. He was fourth at The Open Championship and seventh at The Masters. He missed the cut at the US Open with an opening-round 78. He’s really picked his events carefully this season, mostly playing in only the big tournaments. He was 35th at the PLAYERS Championship. This will be his first US event since the Travelers Championship more than a month ago. He played the Irish Open, which is hosted by his foundation, and did not play well there. He also struggled at the Scottish Open with a missed cut before a top-five at The Open. McIlroy’s inconsistency makes him maddening to bet at such a low price. McIlroy, who didn’t play this event last year, is also changing caddies, so he’ll have a new looper on the bag this weekend. That could be interesting.

Dustin Johnson had a really nice bounce back performance under phenomenal scoring conditions at the RBC Canadian Open last weekend. It was a bit of a surprise to see Johnson play that event, but after two straight missed cuts and a finish outside the top 50 at Royal Birkdale, DJ had some things to work on. He fired four rounds under 70 and finished at 17-under. That was only good enough for eighth, but he has to feel better about his game coming into the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he won last season. He’s at +940.

There’s a big gap between the big three and others, like Rickie Fowler at +1600, Brooks Koepka at +1700, and Hideki Matsuyama at +1800. Matsuyama might be an interesting play this week. You would think that a par 70 of 7,400 yards would fit his skill set well, but he hasn’t had good finishes at Firestone. He was 42nd last year and 37th the year before. Matsuyama has played really poorly on Friday in this event, but has three rounds under par over the last two years. Quietly, Matsuyama has been 14th at The Open, second at the US Open, and 11th at the Masters this season. Obviously a long course plays well for guys like Fowler and Koepka, so there’s already value in the second tier.

Justin Rose is an interesting name in the next level at +2500. Rose struggled here last year, but had top-five finishes each of the previous two years. He was third in 2015 at 7-under, including a round of 63 on Saturday, and fourth in 2014 with an opening-round 65 as the main highlight. He’s a pretty good look in matchups since he has played well here, but hasn’t been in great form over the last couple of months.

Another guy at +2500 is Jason Day, who considers Ohio to be his adopted name. Day generally plays well in this event. He finished third last year at 3-under with Spieth, Matt Kuchar, and Kevin Chappell. Day was 12th in 2015 with three 69s and a 70.

Moving down the board a bit, Chappell is priced at +6600 and could be a very good look. Last week’s playoff loser at the Canadian Open, Charley Hoffman, is playing some good golf and is also +6600. If you really want to go the longshot route, try Xander Schauffele. Schauffele may become a household name relatively soon. He was fifth at Erin Hills in the US Open, 14th the next week at the Travelers, 35th at the Quicken Loans National, first at the Greenbrier Classic, and then 20th at The Open.

Coverage of the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational can be seen on Golf Channel and CBS throughout the week.

Odds as of July 31, 3 p.m. ET

Jordan Spieth +730

Rory McIlroy +860

Dustin Johnson +940

Rickie Fowler +1600

Brooks Koepka +1700

Hideki Matsuyama +1800

Jon Rahm +2200

Henrik Stenson +2500

Jason Day +2500

Justin Rose +2500

Sergio Garcia +2500

Adam Scott +2800

Matt Kuchar +3000

Paul Casey +3300

Branden Grace +4000

Daniel Berger +4000

Marc Leishman +4000

Tommy Fleetwood +4000

Alex Noren +4500

Justin Thomas +4500

Phil Mickelson +5500

Rafa Cabrera-Bello +5500

Thomas Pieters +5500

Jason Dufner +6000

Zach Johnson +6000

Charl Schwartzel +6600

Charley Hoffman +6600

Gary Woodland +6600

Kevin Chappell +6600

Louis Oosthuizen +6600

Patrick Reed +6600

Bubba Watson +7000

Lee Westwood +8000

Russell Henley +8000

J.B. Holmes +9000

Kevin Kisner +9000

Brian Harman +10000

Chris Wood +10000

Xander Schauffele +10000

Francesco Molinari +10500

Andy Sullivan +12500

Bernd Wiesberger +12500

Bill Haas +12500

Brendan Steele +12500

Bryson Dechambeau +12500

Jhonattan Vegas +12500

Kyle Stanley +12500

Matthew Fitzpatrick +12500

Ross Fisher +12500

Si Woo Kim +12500

Billy Horschel +15000

Emiliano Grillo +15000

Jimmy Walker +15000

Ryan Moore +15000

Thorbjorn Olesen +15000

Pat Perez +17500

Tyrrell Hatton +17500

Wesley Bryan +17500

Adam Hadwin +20000

Hideto Tanihara +20000

Russell Knox +22500

Danny Willett +25000

Harold Varner III +25000

Hudson Swafford +25000

Satoshi Kodaira  +25000

Andres Romero +27500

Fabrizio Zanotti  +27500

Renato Paratore +27500

Scott Hend +27500

Thongchai Jaidee +27500

Mackenzie Hughes +30000

Jeunghun Wang +40000

Rod Pampling +45000

Paul Lawrie +50000

Sam Brazel +50000

Shaun Norris +50000