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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the WGC-Bridgestone

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

This week on the PGA Tour it is the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, where 49 of the top 50 players in the world are in the field (only Dustin Johnson is missing).

History Lesson

Tiger Woods is the defending champion, winning by seven over Keegan Bradley and Henrik Stenson. In 2012, Bradley won by one over Jim Fuyrk and Steve Stricker, and in 2011, Adam Scott beat Luke Donald and Rickie Fowler by four.

As for our recommendations, Woods is a big unknown, so while he owns Firestone - with eight wins lifetime - it may be in fantasy owners' best interest to avoid him.

Meanwhile, owners should definitely pick Bradley, Fowler and Scott. Bradley has gone 1-2 the last two years at Firestone and is 15th in driving distance and 12th in birdie average this year on the PGA Tour.

Fowler has gone T5-T2-T2 in the first three majors this year and is arguably one of the hottest players on the planet as he had a strong Scottish Open as well. Statistically he's been hot with his short irons - he's sixth from 125-150 yards - and putter, where he's 12th from 5-10 feet.

As for Scott, he was largely forgotten on an Open Championship weekend that ended with Rory McIlroy hoisting the Claret Jug. But over the weekend he shot 69-66 to finish T5 and finished the weekend tied for first in driving accuracy and greens in regulation.

Who is Playing

With all the top names in the field, the clear pick here has to be McIlroy, right? Maybe not if you need a win. But if your fantasy team needs a strong finish, consider this: McIlroy's finishes in his first PGA Tour start following his previous two majors: 25th and 24th. Pretty consistent.

And our other recommendation? Who else? It has to be Matt Kuchar. Kuchar hasn't won since Hilton Head and hasn't really contend in a while, but he had a classic Matt Kuchar Sunday last week at the RBC Canadian Open. Never really in contention, Kuchar shot a 65 to eventually tie for fourth. It was his 10th top-10 and 14th top-25 of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season. That hot round helped to continue Kuchar's fantastic statistical season, where he's 11th in strokes gained-putting, third in scoring average and 19th in the all-around Ranking.

One More Note

This week's opposite field event is the Barracuda Championship. This is not a new event - just the new name of the Reno-Tahoe Open. It uses the Modified Stableford scoring system, and if your fantasy league includes this event, keep an eye out for Justin Hicks. Hicks, who finished third in Canada last week, is seventh in total birdies on the PGA Tour. What does the modified stableford scoring system reward most? Birdies.