Tiger Woods gets one last crack at Firestone for WGC final edition

Woods celebrates his victory in 2005

Woods celebrates his victory in 2005

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is leaving Firestone Country Club in Akron for Memphis beginning next season, meaning this is the last chance for Tiger Woods to cash in at one of his strongest courses.

Justin Rose has been forced to pull out of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with back spasms.

"I went from just hoping to be able to play the tour to now that I feel that I can play the tour", he said.

That includes his victory in 2013 ― his most recent win anywhere.

On Wednesday, Tiger told reporters the straight-forward course at Firestone, which is rare on the tour, will remain a special place to him.

"I think for me personally, the key's always been results, but also, you know, when you go out on the course and you're playing with some of the best players in the world, you confront yourself with them". "This has been one of the very few tournaments that is kind of a small-town atmosphere".

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Woods is playing the opening rounds of this tournament with a two-time victor this season, Jason Day. "But I also had to play well to do it". With that, the 42-year-old Woods knows this weekend could very well mark his final time playing - at least in a meaningful capacity - Firestone, which he's frequented since his days as an amateur. However, with 50-1 odds, he somehow has ended up in the middle despite finishing in the top-10 in all three majors this year and 4 other events.

But Woods - an 18-time victor of WGC events - is not concerned by the additional physical rigours of playing more competitive golf as he continues his encouraging comeback from back surgery. With the field of the World Golf Championship event comprised of the top-50 golfers in the world, Woods finished the 2017 season ranked 656th. "Hopefully, this will be a week that I can catch the magic again and play well".

"I said it was going to sting for a while and it certainly does because I had a great chance at it", Woods, whose last major title came in the 2008 US Open, said.

Matsuyama returns to this World Golf Championship needing to revive some good memories. There are also plenty of really good players who are in the middle tier range relative to the field like Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, and last years victor Hideki Matsuyama.

"Hopefully it firms up a little bit for the rest of the week but it was a day where you needed to take advantage of the conditions and I felt like I did that pretty well".

The 14-time Major champion feels he is in good shape and ready to win again after recovering from a long-term injury.

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