Woods part of elite field at Firestone

AKRON, Ohio, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods returns to a course on which he has dominated for the opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational Thursday.

Woods, however, has been a long way from being a dominating player this year following the sex scandal that rocked his marriage.


This World Golf Championship event will be the eighth tournament of the year for Woods, who has finished as high as fourth (at both the Masters and U.S. Open), but who has also missed the cut, withdrawn once because of injury and wound up tied for 23rd at the British Open last month in his most recent appearance.

The Bridgestone will be played at the Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won seven times.

Anthony Kim will also be a part of the elite 88-player field. He has been out of action with an injury since early May.

Kim admitted this week that prior to the British Open he had never heard of Louis Oosthuizen, who ran away with that tournament at St. Andrews. Now Kim and Oosthuizen will be paired together for the first two rounds at Firestone.


As has been the case at other tournaments this year, Woods finds himself in danger of losing his world No. 1 ranking.

"It would mean a lot to me (to be No. 1)," said Phil Mickelson, one of those who has a chance to pass Woods this week.

"Coming down the stretch (in the golf season), there are a lot of cool things that can happen. It's not just myself who has a chance to be No. 1. Lee Westwood (runner-up to Mickelson at this year's Masters) does as well.

"We have a lot of guys fighting to get on the Ryder Cup, guys that have a possibility to be Player of the Year, guys that have won multiple times on the tour.

"It's been an interesting year in golf. It's going to come down to these last two months. I think there will be a lot of excitement."

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