WGC-Bridgestone Invitational 2013: Winners and Losers at Firestone
When you are Tiger Woods and you are competing in the Bridgestone Invitational at the Firestone Country Club, you expect to win.
Tiger Woods had won the tournament seven times previously, and it was obvious that both the golf course and the tournament were among his favorites on the tour. When Tiger fired a 61 on Day 2 of the tournament, much of the drama had been removed.
After that spectacular round, Woods cruised home to a seven-stroke victory. Woods was the biggest winner at Bridgestone, but he wasn't the only one.
Here are this week's winners and losers.
Winner: Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley wanted to have a good showing at Bridgestone. After a very solid 2012 season, Bradley has been somewhat inconsistent this season. He hasn't won a tournament this year and has been in the top 10 in just six of 19 tournaments.
One week prior to the PGA Championship, Bradley has appeared to get his game in excellent condition, as he finished the tournament in a tie for second place with Henrik Stenson at eight under par.
Bradley averaged 317.9 yards per drive, which ranked fourth among all competitors. That's no surprise, considering Bradley is one of the biggest hitters on the tour. He also led the way by hitting 75 percent of his greens in regulation.
Bradley is playing as well as he has all season.
Loser: Bubba Watson
After winning the Masters in 2012, Bubba Watson raised his own personal standards. As a result, the pressure has increased dramatically on one of the longest hitters on the tour.
Watson appeared to be ready to make a challenge after firing 67 and 69 in the first two rounds of the tournament. However, when the money was on the table on Saturday and Sunday, Watson lost his game. He closed with 72 and 74 to finish with a two-over-par 282.
Watson struggled on the greens. He averaged 1.804 putts per hole, a figure that tied for 34th in the tournament. He's going to have to do much better to have a chance at Oak Hill in the PGA Championship.
Winner: Henrik Stenson
Henrik Stenson has become one of the most consistent players on the tour this year. While he has not won an event, he finished tied for second in the Bridgestone Invitational, and that marks the fourth time he has finished second this year.
He has now placed in back-to-back tournaments. He also finished an impressive second in the British Open in late July.
Stenson played with champion Tiger Woods on the final day, and he demonstrated a sense of calm and cool in shooting an even-par 70. While he did not make a serious charge at Tiger, he didn't fall apart either.
Stenson is striking the ball very cleanly. He hit 70.83 percent of his greens in regulation, the fourth-best of any golfer in the tournament.
Loser: Sergio Garcia
It's been a difficult year for Sergio Garcia, both on the course and off.
He has had a couple of public spats with Tiger Woods that did not reflect well on his character and has also struggled to play consistently.
Garcia's best showing is a third-place finish in the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March. Garcia's form has been especially poor recently, as he finished tied for 45th in the U.S. Open and tied for 21st in the British Open.
If Garcia thought he would get his game going at Bridgestone, he was mistaken. He shot a five-over-par 285, and he finished tied for 40th.
He struggled with his driving accuracy, hitting 46.43 percent of his tee shots into the fairway. That put him in a tie for 62nd in that category.
Winner: Martin Kaymer
You may not have noticed Martin Kaymer's performance over the weekend because he was not a contender in this tournament that Tiger Woods dominated.
Kaymer has not had a stellar season, but he has to be encouraged after he shot a four-under-par 276 that allowed him to finish in a tie for ninth place.
Kaymer struggled with an opening round of 74, but he rallied by closing with 67-69-66 in the final three rounds. Kaymer hit 67.86 percent of his drives into the fairway, a figure that tied for fifth in that category.
Kaymer has 19 wins in his professional career, including the 2010 PGA Championship. His game appears to be rounding into shape heading into next week's PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
Loser: Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson is one of the biggest hitters on the tour and capable of playing spectacular golf on occasion. However, the one thing he seems to lack is consistency.
That came into play this weekend at the Bridgestone Classic. He shot a three-over-par 283 for the tournament, a figure that placed him in a tie for 33rd.
Johnson shot an impressive 69 in the second round and 67 in the final round, but he was prevented from climbing into contention because he shot a 72 in the first round and a 75 in the third round.
Johnson's iron play was not good. He hit just 58.33 percent of his greens in regulation, a figure that tied for 41st among his competitors.
Winner: Tiger Woods
It's been a sensational year for Tiger Woods, and his memorable play continued at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational as he dominated the field and won his fifth tournament of the year.
Woods had an impressive 66 in the first round, but then took command with a 61 in the second round that gave him a commanding edge. Woods had a seven-stroke lead at the end of the third round and held the same margin at the completion of the final round.
Woods has won five or more tournaments in a year 10 times during his career. The victory at Bridgestone marked the eighth time he has won this tournament in his career. He also won at Bay Hill for the eighth time earlier this year. The legendary Sam Snead is the only other golfer to win one tournament eight times in his career.
Woods continues to hit the ball consistently with his irons. Woods hit 73.61 percent of his greens in regulation, ranking second in the tournament.
If he can add next week's PGA Championship to his list of 2013 achievements, Woods will have an excellent chance of coming away with Player of the Year honors.
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