Firestone Country Club (South) in Akron, Ohio
7,400 yards – Par 70 – Bentgrass/Poa Greens
Tournament Stimpmeter: 13+… Fast Green Speeds
Green Sizes: 7,619 sq. feet .. Large Green Sizes but play smaller (false fronts/false edges)
Strength of Field Rating: 600+ OWGR …Strong Field Strength
Fairways Hit (Field Average): 54.7% … Hard-to-Hit Fairways
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): 60.7% … Hard-to-Hit Greens
2016: Dustin Johnson -6 over Scott Piercy -5
2015: Shane Lowry -11 over Bubba Watson -9
2014: Rory McIlroy -15 over Sergio Garcia -13
2013: Tiger Woods -15 over Keegan Bradley, Henrik Stenson -8
2012: Keegan Bradley -13 over Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk -12
2011: Adam Scott -17 over Luke Donald, Rickie Fowler -13
2010: Hunter Mahan -12 over Ryan Palmer -10
2016: Jason Day, Scott Piercy -5
2015: Jim Furyk, Justin Rose -9
2014: Sergio Garcia -14
2013: Tiger Woods -15
2012: Jim Furyk -11
2011: Adam Scott -12
2010: Ryan Palmer, Sean O’Hair -9
2016: Jason Day -4
2015: Jim Furyk -8
2014: Sergio Garcia -11
2013: Tiger Woods -13
2012: Jim Furyk -11
2011: Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore -8
2010: Retief Goosen -7
Important Interview Quotes
Q. What is it about Ohio that you guys like so much?
DAVID LINGMERTH: Yeah, Ohio is a special place. Yeah, well, I don’t know really, but the courses do have some similarities. I feel you’ve got to be really strong off the tee because it’s penalizing if you can’t keep it in the short grass. The rough is nasty. Greens are pretty firm this week, even though it rained last night. They held up really well.
But yeah, it’s kind of an undulated course, too. It’s a lot of height change and approach shots off the tee and everything. It’s a fun little course, a lot like Muirfield, the Memorial. -2016
Q. Does it remind you of Oakmont in the sense that you’ve got to hit the fairway to have a chance of doing anything?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, the rough is deep, fairways are narrow. It’s definitely a premium on hitting the fairway. It was just like that. This year the green speeds are a couple feet slower than normal, but we’re playing in the middle of the summer instead of at the end of it. -2016
Q. What’s the key to do well here?
SCOTT PIERCY: You’ve got to drive the ball well here. It’s a lot of sloped fairways that you’re trying to hit into. You’ve got to really know the angles into the greens. It’s okay to miss it maybe in the right rough to get a shot at the green, or in the left rough. Like 18 I was just trying to make sure I didn’t hit it left so I had an angle at that pin. There’s a lot of tough shots. It’s demanding, and it’s showing. -2016
Q. A lot of people like this place, the traditional old style. Is that you, too?
JIMMY WALKER: I do, yeah. It’s a tough track. It’s very tight, and there’s some tight holes where you really have to drive it well. I mean, you stand up on 9, and there’s nowhere to hit it, 18 it doesn’t really look like there’s anywhere to hit it, and when the wind gets blowing out here, it gets tough. -2016
Q. And what did you like right away? Obviously it doesn’t look difficult, but how difficult is it to get to know a course as quickly as possible?
WILLIAM McGIRT: Well, so we played the front nine Sunday afternoon, and then rode the back nine. I fell in love with the place because length is not everything out here. You have to drive it in the fairway. You have to drive it in the correct spots in the fairways to be able to attack pins. I love it because you can’t stand up there and just hit it as hard as you want, go find it and hack it on the green. It’s an old, traditional style golf course, which I absolutely love. The green complexes are — most of them are either small or play small. You’ve got a couple that are big with false fronts or false edges, but I love the look of it, and it’s — I don’t know, there’s something — maybe it’s something with Ohio I like. -2016
Q. How was it on the course first time seeing it?
ROBERT STREB: It’s hard. Just one of those old golf courses, you’ve got to hit it well. They obviously have those tee boxes making you hit the drivers. The firmness of the fairway kind of shrinks them, but if you hit it well, I think you’ve got a pretty good chance. -2015
Q. Twenty rounds in the 60s here the past ten years, nine top 10 finishes. What is it about this place that seemingly brings out good golf in you?
JIM FURYK: I’m comfortable here. I’ve always liked this golf course. I’ve always — it’s one of my favorites. It’s in the top 5 for me. It reminds me of home. It reminds me of where I grew up in Pennsylvania and the style of golf course, kind of going back and forth, straightforward, not a lot of blind shots. It’s a difficult golf course, but you have to drive it well. When I’m hitting the ball well and driving the ball well here, I feel like I have a chance. -2015
Q. Have you figured out a way to play this course?
GRAEME McDOWELL: I think just when my expectation level started to kind of drop coming into this week, I started to kind of find out how to play it. Especially this year, the golf course is firm and fast and really tricky and better for guys like me and Jim Furyk, rather than the usual Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroys that play well around Firestone. This year, extremely difficult, extremely tricky, and really requiring a lot of grinding. I guess that suits my game a little bit more than normal. -2015
Q. This isn’t a place where you traditionally have a lot of success. Can you pinpoint what’s changed for you through two rounds this time around?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I feel like I’m driving it a little better than normal out here. But I felt like I’ve been driving well all year. So before — this year, I think my driver is definitely better, and my misses aren’t as big. Out here, it’s hard to hit the fairways, but as long as you don’t miss it too far offline, you can still hack it up there on the green or just around the green, which helps. I think in years past I’ve had too many chip-outs. -2015
Q. I think that’s the beauty of the golf course is the fact that you can go out and shoot a couple of 70s, but yet no one’s going to actually run away from you.
ZACH JOHNSON: That’s exactly right, especially in these conditions. Fairways are hard to hit. Greens are firm. It’s hard to hit a the ball close and see a lot of wedges in your hand. It’s a beautiful test. It’s good when it’s wet. It’s good when it’s firm. That’s why it’s one of the most popular and certainly the favorite among all the — it’s a favorite of mine and my peers. -2015
Q. You’re one of the best drivers on the PGA Tour. Is this one of the toughest golf courses with all the slopes and the speed of the fairways?
ZACH JOHNSON: Without a question. I struggled so much yesterday on the front nine. I didn’t hit a driver on the fairway until the 10th hole. But it exposes you. That’s the beauty of it. If you’re playing well, you’ll rise to the top. If you’re not playing well, it’s going to eat you up. Certainly, as a competitor and a player, that’s what you want. It separates the field nicely. -2015
Q. Justin, you have a good history at the Memorial and here in Akron. Is there anything about Midwest golf or Ohio golf that appeals to you?
JUSTIN ROSE: I love the golf — the condition of the golf course is always first class when we play the Memorial and again here. The types of grasses are fantastic, the bentgrass and then whatever the rough is. You know, I kind of like these overseeded type golf courses. Yeah, just they’re really pure. Greens are fast. Greens are pure. So, yeah, that’s kind of the style I like to play. -2015
Q. Shane, you played well on a lot of tough courses this year. Why do you think that is? What part of your game helps on tough courses like this?
SHANE LOWRY: If you look at my career so far, I tend to play well on tough courses, when we have a high winning score. Every year around winter I tend to do okay. I used to like it when we played at Valderrama. When pars are good and you pick off a few birdies, I tend to like it. Out here it’s all about driving the golf ball. I feel like I’m driving the ball well at the minute. I’m hitting it long and straight, and I just hope I can do that for another two days. -2015
Q. Tiger, given your success here obviously, everybody knows how well you’ve played this golf course. Is this maybe not the perfect litmus test, but certainly a proper one to see how your game is progressing?
TIGER WOODS: Not necessarily, because I’ve come into this event not playing great and I’ve come into this event playing great, but it’s one of those golf courses I always feel comfortable.
The neat thing is there are certain venues, whether it’s here or Torrey or Bay Hill, I somehow see the sights, I see the sight lines. Even though the golf course, like some of the courses like Torrey or Bay Hill have changed greens over the year, this place hasn’t. I still feel comfortable seeing the sight lines and playing the venue.
But this golf course is just amazing. It’s very forward. It’s right in front of you. And there are some years where it is just impossible to hit these fairways. They’re so hard and so fast. And other years, everything plugs, and it plays long, and you’ve got to make a bunch of birdies. -2014
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Jim Furyk, thanks for joining us here back at the Bridgestone Invitational. A very good track record, nine top 10s and 14 starts. Your 15th start here at Firestone Country Club. Some opening comments, please.
JIM FURYK: Obviously, I didn’t realize my track record was that solid. It’s nice to know.
I’ve always enjoyed this golf course. I’ve said this a billion times here. It’s kind of where I grew up in Pennsylvania, back and forth type of holes, old school, old style.
I’ve just always been comfortable on this style of course and have liked it. Disappointed that I haven’t won here. I’ve had a couple of really good opportunities, but it’s one of those that I definitely would like to win before my career’s over. -2014
Q. Do you think you might have to play a little more aggressive with the softness?
ADAM SCOTT: Absolutely. If you’re playing well, you can really throw it right to the hole here. Playing from the fairway will be key to do that. Even out of the rough, the rough, long, but it’s not unplayable like we’ve seen it here sometimes in the past. -2014
Q. Sergio, what is it about this course that suits you well, and how do you think your game will play out this week on this course?
SERGIO GARCIA: It depends. Obviously, it all depends a little bit on how the course plays. If it doesn’t rain, this course can play quite tough. Some of the holes are very, very difficult to hit.
But it’s like any other week. Obviously, if I’m on, if I feel comfortable, if I feel confident, I think I can do well. I’ve done fairly well before.
But if you’re a little bit off, it’s the kind of golf course that’s asking you a lot of different shots. Mainly off the tee, it’s asking you a lot. So you have to be very patient and realize that it’s probably not going to be the easiest week that you have all year. -2014
MARK STEVENS: ind of talk about the course and if it changed overnight with the rain.
CHARL SCHWARTZEL: Yeah, I think, with the rain and the golf course being a little softer, it makes it easier to drive the ball. On this golf course, the fairways can get really runny, and most of them have got quite a lot of slope in it. It makes it difficult to keep it on the fairway. Being softer definitely allows you to hit some more shots off the fairway, and you definitely sort of want to be doing that on this golf course. Second shots require some precision, and if you get that right, you’re going to set yourself up to shoot a good score because the greens are so good that it isn’t really any excuse to putt badly. -2014
Q. What about your game? What about your game that fits this course?
MARC LEISHMAN: I guess I’m reasonably long off the tee. That helps. So if you do hit it in the rough, you’re not having to hack 4 and 5 irons out. You’ve still got 7s and 8 irons. That fits pretty well. I can work my irons both ways.
And I’ve got a reasonably good short game. It’s a decent combination on a tough golf course like this when you are going to miss greens. -2014
Q. Positive memories from last year. What do you feel sets up best for you on this course?
HENRIK STENSON: I’m coming in maybe not playing my best, and I haven’t done that great. I don’t have the best track record here except last year. But it’s a course that should suit me pretty well if I’m playing good. It’s fairly long. Got to be accurate off the tee and get some longer shots into the green. It’s a course that I probably should have done better at in the past. -2014
Q. The drives here are so important. The fairways are so narrow. When you do get in the rough, it’s hard to fight back.
GRAHAM DeLAET: Yeah, and most of the times you can’t chase something onto the greens. You’re out 100 yards and trying to get up with a wedge. That’s what happened to me on 8 and 9, my last two holes, and I wasn’t able to hole the putts. -2014
Q. You obviously play really well at Firestone, just a strong finish again.
KEEGAN BRADLEY: Yeah, I didn’t play that great today, but I hung in there. I do play well here. I love Firestone. I love everything about this place, the atmosphere, the course, the grass. Everything’s amazing. -2014
Q. You’re familiar with this course. What does it take to win here? What kind of a player is it who plays well here, or is there such a thing?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: You’ve got to drive the ball fantastic here. To win the golf tournament, you’ve got to put the ball in the fairway off the tee. There’s no way you can win here hitting it crooked off the tee, so that’s first and foremost. And then obviously these green complexes are really demanding. They’re really fast. They’ve got a lot of undulation to them, so they put a lot of stress on your game. So putting the ball in the fairway and being able to make those to 6? and 8-footers for pars are going to be really key this week. -2013
Q. Why is this a good course for you?
JASON DUFNER: You know, it’s just pretty tight off the tee. I feel like I can be aggressive with my driver, which gives me some shorter clubs into these greens, and then some of the hole locations can be tough as the week goes on. I feel confident with my driver on this course, and that makes me be able to aggressive and have shorter clubs in. -2013
Quotes found at ASAPsports.com unless otherwise noted.