Tiger Woods' July and August could be the perfect storm that ushers the return of the Tiger of old. His T6 finish at The Open Championship at Carnoustie allowed him to improve 21 spots in the OWGR to exactly No. 50, earning an important top-50 invite to the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club from August 2-5.
While the PGA Championship at Bellerive will be Tiger's last opportunity this year to win his 15th major, he should feel optimistic about his chances of ending his five-year drought without a win on the PGA Tour when he plays at Firestone.
Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, has been one of Tiger's strongest courses and in its final year of hosting the Bridgestone Invitational, it would be fitting if Tiger was in contention on Sunday. Also: When you're watching the Bridgestone Invitational, keep in mind that Tiger is currently 20th in the Ryder Cup USA rankings and he can still make the team on points.
Here's a detailed look at Tiger's dominant history at Firestone, starting in 1997, when he played in the NEC World Series of Golf.
Lowest round: 61 (Second round at the Bridgestone Invitational in 2013, second round at the NEC Invitational in 2000)
Lowest total: 21-under 259 in 2000
Score: 68-71-72 (+1)
Higlight: Unfortunately, the most recent memory of Tiger at Firestone is him withdrawing due to a back injury, which he reaggravated during the shot below.
Score: 66-61-68-70 (-15)
Highlight: Tiger tied his best round ever at Firestone, when he shot a 9-under 61 on Friday at the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Score: 70-72-68-66 (-4)
Highlight: Tiger earned a top-10 finish at the 2012 Bridgestone Invitational but after starting the week 70-72, he finished nine strokes behind winner Keegan Bradley.
Score: 68-71-72-70 (+1)
Score: 74-72-75-77 (+18)
Highlight: There weren't many highlights during Tiger's 2010 trip to Firestone as he finished tied for 78th at 18-over, his worst finish at the Bridgestone Invitational, but he may have had the best shot of the first round.
Score: 68-70-65-65 (-12)
Highlight: Tiger's 12-under score for the tournament is tied for his third-lowest at Firestone, as he fired off back-to-back 5-under 65 rounds during the weekend to win by four strokes over Robert Allenby and Padraig Harrington.
Score: 68-70-69-65 (-8)
Highlight: Tiger played four consecutive rounds of par-or-better golf, capped off by a 5-under 65 on Sunday.
Score: 67-64-71-68 (-10)
Highlight: Tiger won at Firestone for the second year in a row despite hitting an approach shot on the 9th hole during the second round that hit the cart path and bounced on the roof of the clubhouse. Somehow, someway, the ball, which technically stayed in-bounds, was found – by a member of the clubhouse's kitchen staff no less, according to ESPN – and Tiger escaped with a bogey on the par-4 hole.
Score: 66-70-67-71 (-6)
Highlight: For the second time in five months, Tiger edged out Chris DiMarco to win a tournament. First he won the Masters over DiMarco in a playoff, then he defeated DiMarco by one stroke at the Bridgestone Invitational thanks to a tie-breaking birdie on the 16th hole on Sunday that put him ahead by a stroke, followed by a par save after he sent his tee shot into the trees on the 18th hole.
Score: 68-66-70-69 (-7)
Score: 65-72-67-70 (-6)
Score: 66-67-66-69 (-12)
Highlight: Tiger opened the 2001 NEC Invitational with 30 holes of bogey-free golf as he improved his standing throughout the weekend: T3 on Thursday to T2 on Friday to sole possession of second on Saturday to a win on Sunday. He made up two strokes in the final round to force a playoff with Jim Furyk, whom he defeated on the seventh playoff hole to complete his three-peat at Firestone.
Score: 64-61-67-67 (-21)
Highlight: One of Tiger's best shots of his career came in the twilight at the 2000 NEC Invitational, when he landed an approach shot within a few feet of the pin on the 18th hole.
Score: 66-71-62-71 (-10)
Highlight: At 23 years old, Tiger edged out Phil Mickelson by one stroke for his 12th career PGA Tour victory and his first at Firestone. His 8-under 62 on Saturday gave him the wiggle room to shoot a 1-over 71 on Sunday. He two-putted from roughly 60 feet on the 72nd hole to win.
Score: 67-68-70-70 (-5)
Score: 67-72-69-70 (-2)