A bittersweet farewell to the World Golf Championships in Akron

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AKRON, Ohio – Firestone Country Club in Akron hosted the Bridgestone Invitational for the last time Sunday.

Northeast Ohio has been the place for thousands to watch world class golf for years, however, Sunday was the last time Firestone Country Club’s famed South Course will host the prestigious Bridgestone Invitational.

Next year the tournament moves to Memphis, Tennessee.

“I think it’s one of the favorites for a lot of the tournament players. I know it’s one of Tiger’s favorite courses, so I wanted to come up and see it,” said Ralph Lee of Canton.

The favorite this time around brought in not just legend Tiger Woods, but the top 50 players including Phil Mickelson and new British Open Champion, Francesco Molinari.

“Why they are taking the tournament away I have no idea. This is one of the most toughest courses in the entire country,” said Ken Wilmoth from North Canton.

The South Course’s infamous 16th hole, nicknamed “The Monster” has challenged even the best of the best. For many, saying farewell to the tournament is bittersweet.

“I’ve been coming since my dad took me when it was four players in the world series of golf back in the 60’s,” Wilmoth said.

The World Golf Championships in Akron has a yearly economic impact of more than $21 million according to Firestone’s website. The tournament also brings in more than a million dollars for local charities.

“We think this tournament is good for the city, it’s good for the Northeast Ohio region, with all the visitors and guests here,” said Janelle Lee, from Canton.

For more than 40 years, Firestone Country Club has been good to the world of professional golf.

The World Golf Championship will move to Memphis in 2019. Starting next July, Firestone will become the new home of the Bridgestone Senior Players Tournament until at least 2022.

Continuing coverage here.

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