Firestone Country Club needs no introduction, golf fans alreayd know it as one of the premier venues in all of golf. But this year, there is an even more heightened level of attention as the world's best players converge for the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational. The return to play of the No. 28 player in the world doesn't normally garner such attention - but this year has not been exactly normal. So is Firestone C.C. ready? Mark Gore, PGA General Manager of Firestone C.C., says more than ever.
PGA.com: What should fans/viewers look for when watching this week – in terms of what kind of course is Firestone (South)?
Gore: The South Course is a very traditional golf course that is tree lined with very few hazards. The condition is impeccable and all the players truly love playing this golf course because they can hit their driver on most holes. The course is demanding because it does force the player to work the ball from both left to right and right to left.
PGA.com: Best advice for new players, Tour or amateurs, when coming to the course? What’s the one shot they better have working?
Gore: The best advice is to be patient. There are definite birdie holes and holes you just want to focus on making par. The rough will be Challenging this week because some of the wet conditions we had early in the week. The one shot they truly need is their driver.... If a player can drive the ball well on this course then normally your're rewarded with good scoring opportunities. As I stated before, you need to be able to work the ball both ways.
PGA.com: How’s the community support been for the event?
Gore: Outstanding! Tickets sales are up and the community truly embraces this event. Each year close to $1 million dollars is donated back to local charities. The economic impact to Northeast Ohio for this week is more than $30 million. The corporate support is incredible and having the top 76 players in the world really makes this possible.
PGA.com: A certain golfer, initials TW, makes a long-awaited return to action this week. He’s won there 7 times and he had his worst showing as a Tour pro there last year. Any thoughts on what you expect to see from him this year?
Gore: His swing looks outstanding and I think he is ready to go! I would not be surprised if you see at least a top 5 finish from TW. He loves this venue and it's evident by his making this tournament his return!
PGA.com: What’s the best part of your job?
Gore: Coming to Firestone CC every day and greeting my staff. I truly have the best staff in the business and am blessed to have such a wonderful job.