|Course(s)||Firestone Country Club
|Length||7,400 yards (6,767 m)|
European Tour (1999–2015)
|Prize fund||$9.25 million|
|Tournament record score|
|Aggregate||259 Tiger Woods (2000)|
|To par||−21 Tiger Woods (2000)|
|2016 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational|
The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is a professional golf tournament, one of the annual World Golf Championships. It is sanctioned and organized by the International Federation of PGA Tours and the prize money is official money on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. The event, sponsored by NEC through 2005 and known as the WGC-NEC Invitational, was established in 1999 as a successor to the World Series of Golf, which was also sponsored by NEC.
The tournament changed sponsorship in 2006, with Bridgestone taking over from NEC as title sponsor. As a part of the original five-year sponsorship agreement, the event continues to be held at its traditional site of the South Course of Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. In August 2013, the sponsorship was extended through 2018.
The WGC-NEC/Bridgestone Invitational
The current event has a field of about 75 players, roughly half the number for a standard professional golf event. Invitations are issued to the following:
- Playing members of the last named Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup teams (whichever was played last).
- Players ranked among the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking (one week and two weeks prior to event).
- Tournament winners of worldwide events since the prior year's tournament with an Official World Golf Ranking Strength of Field Rating of 115 points or more.
- The winner of one selected tournament from each of the PGA Tour of Australasia, Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour and two selected tournaments from the Japan Golf Tour.
From 1999 to 2001, only the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams were eligible and the field was about 40 players. Prior to 2011, both Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams were eligible.
All events have been held at the South Course of Firestone Country Club, except the 2002 edition. It was played at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington, which hosted the PGA Championship in 1998.
World Series of Golf
From 1976 through 1998, the PGA Tour event at Firestone Country Club was the "World Series of Golf," and was sponsored by NEC beginning in 1984. It was founded as a four-man invitational event in 1962, comprising the winners of the four major championships in a 36-hole event. A made-for-television exhibition, the competitors played in one group for $75,000 in unofficial prize money, televised by NBC.
In 1976, it became a 72-hole, $300,000 PGA Tour event and its field was initially expanded to twenty; the victory and $100,000 winner's share went to Nicklaus. The largest first prize at a major in 1976 was $45,000 at the PGA Championship.
The World Series of Golf quickly became a leading event on the tour. For many years a victory in it gave a 10-year exemption on the PGA Tour, the same as was granted for a victory in a major championship at that time, and twice as long as is given even for winning a major now. The field consisted of the winners of all the high status men's professional golf tournaments around the world in the previous twelve months. This was quite different from the criteria for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational listed above, but produced much the same sort of global field.
- Ridenour, Marla (August 4, 2013). "PGA Tour, Bridgestone extend contract to keep tournament at Firestone C.C. through 2018". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "World Series of Golf back for final time". The Augusta Chronicle. AP. August 27, 1998. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
- "Now golf has a real World Series". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. August 29, 1976. p. 7B.
- "Nicklaus silences his doubters". Palm Beach Post. wire services. September 6, 1976. p. D1.