The Forecaddie: A Firestone farewell in Akron

AKRON, OH - AUGUST 03: Jordan Spieth hits his approach shot between trees from the eighth hole rough as fans watch during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club on August 3, 2017 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR) Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR

The Forecaddie: A Firestone farewell in Akron

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The Forecaddie: A Firestone farewell in Akron

While many may get a bit teary-eyed this week as Firestone Country Club’s South Course hosts its final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, The Forecaddie will likely not be one of them.

Now, that’s nothing against Akron, Ohio, which has proven itself a wonderful golf city dating to the Rubber City Open, or the tournament, which has produced some great champions, including Tiger Woods eight times. It’s just that Firestone’s South Course isn’t one of The Man Out Front’s favorites on the Tour schedule.

To support the claim, TMOF likes to reference this quote from Jack Nicklaus: “This is a great golf course, but it’s a boring golf course because, although each hole is outstanding on its own, when you put them all together it seems like you’re playing the same one over and over, and so you have to be careful not to fall asleep.”

Hard to argue there. Most of Firestone’s holes run parallel to each other, either north or south, and the majority of the small greens are fronted by bunkers. There’s a lack of variety and little imagination in this back-and-forth, tree-lined layout, which was designed by Bert Way in 1929 and redesigned by Robert Trent Jones in 1960.

Hit shot. Walk to next shot. Repeat.

Granted, a lot of Tour players love that.

“I don’t like a lot of the new stuff where they try to give you optical illusions all day, especially on the greens,” Will McGirt said last year. “I just like it where you have to go out and hit golf shots.”

But when compared to Riviera or Muirfield Village or even Tour newbie Trinity Forest, Firestone just doesn’t inspire TMOF. Neither does a par 5 that yields only one eagle.

The par-5 16th at Firestone played 0.135 shots under par last year and allowed 98 birdies. However, just one eagle was made. Why? Because at 667 yards and with water guarding the green, the hole basically takes the excitement off the table. Instead of 3s and 6s being in play, it’s mostly just a bunch of 4s and 5s going on the scorecards.

“Golf is more interesting when you make players make decisions, and the decision is basically taken out of everybody’s hand there, really,” Geoff Ogilvy once told TMOF.

So when people talk about a somber goodbye to Firestone this week, The Forecaddie would rather direct his parting thoughts to Akron and the great fans there. As for the golf course, well, it probably had overstayed its welcome. Gwk

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