Local Knowledge: 2010 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
Series: Local Knowledge
Published: Wednesday, August 04, 2010 | 9:30 p.m.
There's a lot on the line this week as the PGA Tour heads to Akron, Ohio, for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone. First, coveted Ryder Cup points are on the line for U.S. players who have two more weeks to qualify on points. Secondly, it's the eve of the PGA Championship, the season's final major. Tiger Woods is winless in 2010, but a seven-time winner at Firestone. Can he find the magic again this week? We asked that very question and more to Firestone PGA Head Professional David Champagne. PGA.com: Thanks for joining us, David. First things first - many golf fans and media alike have been waiting for a Tiger Woods breakthrough on the course in 2010. He has seven wins previously at Firestone. Is there any reason to believe he won't find that magic again this week at one of his most comfortable venues on Tour? Champagne: There is no reason at all to believe he cannot find the magic this week. Firestone happens to be one of Tiger's favorite places to compete and obviously he has had an incredible amount of success here in the past. It's only a matter of time before he finishes on top again and there is a good chance it could be this week. PGA.com: Stuart Appleby earned a spot in the Bridgestone field on Sunday with his win at the Greenbrier. More impressively, he earned the win thanks to a remarkable 59 in the final round. It was the second 59 in one month, matching the one fired by Paul Goydos at the John Deere Classic. What do you make of two 59s in such a short period of time? And, can you fathom ever seeing a sub-60 round at Firestone? Champagne: Congratulations to Stuart on an awesome display of golf and we are happy to see him eligible to play here this week. I'm not sure what to make of it. It's almost like the amount of no-hitters and perfect games in baseball this year, hard to believe. There is always a chance for a 59 here, although I'd be amazed. Jose and Tiger do hold the course record at 61 so I guess it's possible. PGA.com: The Bridgestone Invitational truly is the start of a tremendous stretch of big-time tournaments on the PGA Tour. What's it like to always be in the meat of the schedule, so to speak? Champagne: It makes for a great venue. We typically get one of the better fields here at Firestone. The players really enjoy coming here and it's a great test for them to get ready for the PGA Championship next week. We are anticipating a great tournament and I am sure the players are looking forward to it as well. PGA.com: Along those lines, what is it that makes Firestone South such a special course? The players obviously love going there and always say it's a stern, but fair test. Champagne: Firestone South truly is a great golf course. It's very fair, right in front of you so to speak. It's very long and tree-lined on every hole which makes ball striking very important. You also need to know where to position your ball on the greens. What I love about Firestone is that it's an old, traditional style course that you can't fake your way around. If you're not striking the ball well, it will be very difficult to score well on this course. PGA.com: As the PGA Head Professional, what's your single most memorable experience about working the tournament? Champagne: I'm not sure if I have one moment that sticks out in my mind. What I truly appreciate about tournament week is the excitement it brings to Firestone and the camaraderie amongst the members of the club as well as the staff. It's an exciting week and we are all very proud that Firestone has the opportunity to showcase how special of a place it really is.