There is less than a month left before the FedExCup playoffs begin and plenty is at stake this week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Charl Schwartzel ranks 78th in the FedExCup points standings and he’s not headed to Firestone Country Club looking for a season turnaround.
Quite the opposite, in fact, because the 2011 Masters champ enters the final World Golf Championship event of 2014 on the back of a seventh-place finish at The Open Championship.
The 29-year-old has a decent record at Firestone Country Club and last year finished tied for 21st after carding a third-round 64. A year prior he tied for 24th.
The beauty of such an event is that it has no cut. Players like Schwartzel can really have a crack at going low, but the likes of Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy will also be attacking the course, so the Vereeniging local has plenty of work to do.
Tiger Woods heads into the week desperate for a win, but with eight prior victories at Firestone he’s certainly got some home-ground advantage. What he doesn’t have is consistent form and now lies one spot away from slipping out of the world’s top 10.
Also likely to contend is Jim Furyk, who finished second to Tim Clark at the RBC Canadian Open last week. The American has finished second in three of his last seven starts.
Clark, meanwhile, has rejuvenated his confidence with victory at Royal Montreal last week. The 2010 Players Championship winner certainly has a big step up to make if he wants to contend at WGC events, but he’s in the right frame of mind to do it.
For Schwartzel it’s about climbing the FedExCup ladder this week. He’s managed to go deep during individual rounds at Firestone, but this week he’ll need four great rounds to contend with the world’s best. And he’s in the right space to do it.