Tiger Woods will win his 79th career PGA Tour event this weekend, cruising to his eighth career title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Tiger has blown the field away before at Firestone South, but this could be a record-setting weekend in Akron. The Friday round of 61, which initially looked like a march to 59, wiped away the hopes of any other contenders and he picked right back up on Saturday with birdies on his first two holes.
Tiger is now at 15-under for the championship, a good eight shots clear of the second place set which includes Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, and Jason Dufner. The No. 1 player in the world has yet to make a bogey on Saturday and the only hopes anyone else in the field would have is if he started throwing shots away and coming back. No one is going to jump up and catch him at this point, so hoping for some sort of implosion over his final 27 holes is the only option.
An eight-shot lead at any PGA Tour event is astounding, but especially at a WGC championship, where all the best in the world show up. There are just 73 players in the field this week, but almost every name is a world-class player and 48 of the top 50 in the World Golf Rankings are in attendance.
The round on Friday was one of the most remarkable stretches in a career that may be the best in golf history. Tiger's driver, irons, wedges, and putter were all right on point. He was so confident with the putter that many of his birdie putts on the back nine were slammed right into the center of the cup, rolling with significant speed at the hole. Woods had the lines and was so confident that speed, which was a problem in his disappointing Sunday at the British Open, was almost an afterthought. And he's got it rolling again on Saturday, saving a couple clutch pars -- particularly after blasting one past the hole at No. 3
Those par saves have been almost as impressive as all the birdie putts, which Tiger reiterated yesterday after the round. The par-save on the 18th green may have been his most impressive putt of the day. Today, he's been able to recover and get up-and-down to make up for some wayward tee shots. It's all working right now for Woods, who will pick up his fifth win of the season on a course, which like Bay Hill, Doral and Torrey Pines, is one of his favorites. Not a bad way to go into the season's final major at Oak Hill next week.
Here's a snapshot of the leaderboard with the final group of Woods, Keegan Bradley, and Chris Wood through their first seven holes: