Emotions will be running high this week for the final World Golf Championship of the season, as the world’s top golfers descend on Akron, Ohio one last time for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Firestone Country Club’s par-70, 7,400-yard South track has been a mainstay on the PGA Tour, hosting this event 18 times. Beginning next year, however, this fourth WGC event of the season will move to its new home at TPC Southwind. With the move comes a new name: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Here are five things you need to know about the 19th and crowning edition of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Firestone Country Club
Hole 7 at Firestone Country Club

Inside the Field

Bridgestone’s swan song this week might arguably be fielding the best class of golfer from top to bottom in its storied history. The 72 player lineup includes 49 of the top 50 players in the OWGR and 29 of the top 30 in the FedExCup Playoff standings. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Open Championship winner Francesco Molinari arrive in Akron as the hottest players on Tour. Tiger Woods’ share of sixth place at Carnoustie was good enough to crack the top-50 rankings and give him a chance for an unprecedented ninth win at the same event. Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama’s final round 61 last year matched the 18-hole record at Firestone shared by Jose Maria Olazabal (1990), Woods (2000 and 2013), and Sergio Garcia (2014).

A Final Time, but Not Goodbye

The revered landscape of Firestone Country Club has been one of the most historic stops on Tour, hosting three PGA Championships (1960, 1966, and 1975) and The World Series of Golf (from 1962 to 1988) in addition to decades of World Golf Championships. Giants of the game like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player have hoisted trophies here – which speaks to the respect and integrity of the course.

16 at Firestone Country Club
Ho. 16 at Firestone Country Club

Beginning in 2019, the SENIOR PLAYERS Championship – one of five major championships contested annually on the PGA Champions Tour – will be contested on the South course for at least four years. Of the 78 players who competed in the 2017 SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, 57 competed in either the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational or World Series of Golf, and this move ensures professional golf’s 65-year tradition at Firestone will continue.

Generations of Love for Firestone

All the greats have played at Firestone, and all the greats have loved it. Ask any player who’s competed on the South course and they’ll tell you it’s not only one of the best courses they play all year, it’s also absolutely adored. Jack Nicklaus won seven times on Firestone and it has a special place in his heart. Nicklaus played here in his first PGA Tour event – the 1958 Rubber City Open.

Firestone also holds a special allure for Rory McIlroy – who first played the course in 2007, and then won his first WGC here in 2014. McIlroy believes the classic layout helped develop and mature his game, and winning here gave him the confidence to win the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island the following week. Firestone’s old-school feel, charm, and atmosphere are deeply ingrained in the fabric and history of the Tour for both fans and players alike.

Tiger’s Domination

Tiger Woods has won 40 times on seven courses, and eight of those wins have come here at Firestone. Imagine if Tiger had gotten a crack at Firestone when it hosted a major like it did for Nicklaus – three times. Woods hasn’t played here since 2014 but there’s nowhere he’s been more dominant, and that extends beyond even the wins.

In Tiger’s first three victories here (1999, 2000, and 2001), he never averaged less than 302 yards off the tee, or fewer than 72-percent of greens hit. In Woods’ last five victories at Firestone he’s ranked third, third, first, second, and third in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. In short? There are horses for courses. And then there is eight-time master, horses for courses. Tiger is the latter.

The Monster

The 667-yard, par-5, No. 16 was dubbed “The Monster” by Arnold Palmer after carding a triple-bogey 8 during the PGA Championship in 1960. A plaque on the “Palmer Bridge” honors the late legend who won three times here. The 16th hole demands your respect and can be an opportunity for a late birdie with perfect execution. Anything less than perfect, however, and it will also inflict serious damage to your card and quickly affect the outcome of the tournament – especially when Sunday pins are tucked front-right just over the water.

Arnold Palmer plaque
The plaque commemorating Arnold Palmer on hole 16 at Firestone Country Club

The tee shot is downhill and every year it produces some ridiculously long drives – like Dustin Johnson’s 439-yard knock in the first round last year. However, it’s more regularly memorable for the carnage it causes for countless players. And then there’s that dirty little tidbit about the yardage: from the rear of the tee box when measured with a laser, the reading is actually 666.

Winner Prediction

Some weeks it’s those six inches between your ears that matter more than anything else on the course, and this week Bryson DeChambeau has something to prove. DeChambeau took heat on social media for not holding the lead late Sunday at the Porsche European Open, and then again afterward for a seemingly ungracious congratulatory handshake with the winner.

It may not have been DeChambeau’s finest hour, but it also didn’t warrant the degree of attention it received. Bryson is learning to manage his emotions as well as the spotlight that comes from being a rising star who has been doing things differently his whole life. This week is the perfect opportunity for his hard work, determination, and passion for what he believes in to find vindication – yet again.