Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone set to tee off Thursday

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The world’s best golfers are flocking to Akron to try to tame the famed Firestone Country Club South Course this week.

The tourney begins Thursday and Tiger Woods is the defending champion.

Tiger owns Firestone. He has won there 8 times, including in 2013, when he beat the competition by 7 shots.

Can he get it done this year?

It might be a tall order as he is still getting his game together from back surgery. The best he has done upon returning was tie for 25th in one tourney.

Some of the young lions of golf have to be feared, like British Open champion Rory McIlroy, who spoke with reporters on Tuesday. Rory was asked about the Claret Jug, which he won in beating the field just under two weeks ago at the Open Championship.

“I have sort of been taking pictures of it. Besides the T.V., on top of the toilet. I have been sending them around to my friends. It’s been nice having it in my possession,” joked McIlroy.

Picture taking skills aside, Rory stated what many other top pros always say about Firestone and playing in the Bridgestone Invitational.

“This is one of my favorite weeks of the year, and I can speak on behalf of a lot of other guys, and they would say the same thing.”

Rory has achieved a top ten finish at Firestone three of the past five times he has played the event.

A few other names mentioned by some experts as possible contenders for the title include 2011 champ Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Jim Furyk, Keegan Bradley, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose, who has three top 5 finishes in his career in Akron.

Woods tees off Thursday at 2:20 p.m. with Martin Kaymer from the number one tee. McIlroy tees of at #10 at 10:40 a.m. with Matt Kuchar.

By the way, McIlroy tied for 27th at Firestone last year.

Click here for continuing coverage.