WGC-Bridgestone Invitational experts' picks

July, 30, 2013

Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC (South) in Akron, Ohio.

Horse for the Course

Bubba WatsonAP Photo/Matt Dunham
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Bubba Watson. In the three times he's played Firestone, he's gotten better every year. Last year, he finished tied for 19th, but, the way he's been playing lately, I expect a big jump this year. At worst, he should be in the top 10; at best, he'll be top four.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Tiger Woods. The 14-time major champion has seven wins at Firestone, but it's been four years since his last victory on the South Course. That win in 2009 was Tiger's 70th career PGA Tour title.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Tiger Woods. Despite some recent struggles at Firestone, Woods still has seven victories at the venue and three other top-10 finishes.

Birdie Buster

Collins: Adam Scott. In 10 starts at the Bridgestone, Scott has only one finish better than ninth! A remarkable stat when you think about it. Now two years out from his win here and a couple of weeks from a nice performance at the Open Championship, the Masters champ will find a top-10 finish.

Evans: Henrik Stenson. The 37-year-old Swede hasn't won in 2013, but he has three second-place finishes, including one at the Open Championship at Muirfield. This is his first appearance at Firestone since 2010, when he finished 80th. His best showing here was a tie for 13th in '05.

Harig: Brandt Snedeker. Just like earlier in the year, Snedeker is healthy and on a roll, having tied for 11th at the Open followed by his victory in Canada, his second of the year on the PGA Tour.

Super Sleeper

Paul CaseyScott Halleran/Getty Images
Collins: Paul Casey. He hasn't teed it up at Firestone since 2011, but Casey is playing a solid stretch of golf, including a win at the Irish Open a few weeks ago. As well as he's been playing on the European Tour this year, getting a top-five finish in the U.S. will be the spur to get him back on the PGA Tour full time.

Evans: Jim Furyk. The 2003 U.S. Open champion hasn't won on tour since 2010, when he took three events and the FedEx Cup playoffs. In 2013, he has missed the cut at Merion and Muirfield. But he did rebound last week with a tie for ninth at the RBC Canadian Open. Last year, the 16-time winner had a tie for second at Firestone. Furyk will be looking for redemption this week after handing the 2012 tournament to Keegan Bradley with a double-bogey on the 72nd hole.

Harig: Paul Casey. The Englishman recently won the Irish Open but wasn't eligible for the Open Championship. He's still a bit under the radar, but a victory would be another huge step in his return to prominence.


Collins: Tiger Woods. If I really need to explain to you why Tiger is going to win this week, just go back and check three of the venues he won at earlier this year -- Torrey Pines, Doral and Bay Hill. Getting his eighth win at Firestone will be a breeze.

Evans: Dustin Johnson. The mellow 29-year-old long-hitter nearly won in Canada. In January, he took the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. That must seem to him like a million years ago. It's time for him to win again.

Harig: Rory McIlroy. As crazy as it sounds, this is the tournament where McIlroy got things turned around a year ago. He likes Firestone and has had plenty of time for reflection of late. It's time Rory got his year turned around.





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