Even by Tiger Woods’ own lofty standards of achievement, his performance at the WGC Bridgestone rises far beyond the bell curve.
In the 15 years that the tournament has existed since first taking on the WGC emblem, Woods has won the tournament eight times – meaning slightly more than 50% of the time.
For the non-math majors among us, that translates into the fact that if Woods didn’t win the title this year, he’s probably going to win it next year.
The tournament spent its first seven years as the WGC-NEC Invitational, and Woods won it four times – three straight from 1999-2001 and again in 2005.
He had his second “three-peat” as the event became the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, winning it in 2006 and 2007, then again in 2009 and of course 2013.
Here’s a look at Woods’ career at the WGC-Bridgestone:
1999: First year as the WGC-NEC Invitational. Woods, ranked No. 1 in the world, led after Day One with a 4-under 66, fell back to a tie for sixth on Day Two, then opened up a 5-stroke lead with a third-round 62. Playing with a 6-stroke lead, he had to hold on for dear life as he shot a 1-over 71 on the final day to nip burgeoning rival Phil Mickelson by a single stroke, finishing 10-under.
2000: Woods blew the doors off the record books at Bridgestone Country Club, shooting a 21-under 259 to win the tournament by 11 strokes. He shot a 6-under 64 to lead by a stroke after the first day, then tied Jose Maria Olazabal’s club record 61 on Day Two to drop to 15-under with a 7-stroke lead over Mickelson. He added a pair of 67s to reach 21-under, with Justin Leonard and Phillip Price a distant second at 10-under.
2001: Jim Furyk pushed Woods four full rounds and seven holes of a playoff before the reigning No. 1 made it three straight titles in Akron. Furyk actually led Woods by two strokes after 54 holes, but the two men both wound up at 12-under through four rounds to force a two-way playoff consisting of playing holes 18 and 17 repeatedly until a winner emerged. Both men recorded six straight pars until the fourth go-round on No. 18, with Furyk bogeying it while Woods finished with a flourish, a birdie.
2002: The event moved to the Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington, and Woods’ magic slipped away. He wasn’t even in the Top 10 after two rounds, but rallied to a tie for fourth after 54, two strokes back of the lead. He finished fourth at 11-under, five strokes behind winner Craig Parry.
2003: Back in Akron, Woods finished tied for fourth at 6-under, 6 strokes behind winner Darren Clarke.
2004: The drought reached three years as Woods finished tied for fifth at 2-under, 5 strokes behind victor Stewart Cink.
2005: In its final year as the WGC-NEC Invitational, Woods returned to the top with a 6-under 274 to defeat Chris DiMarco by one shot. Woods was at least tied for the lead at the end of every round.
2006: The tournament changed names to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but it was all the same to Woods. He was 4 strokes back after 18 holes, but rocketed into first with a second-round 64. He fell back a stroke after three and wound up tied at 10-under with Stewart Cink after 72 holes, forcing his second championship playoff in five years. The two men matched each other shot for shot for three holes before Woods’ birdied No. 17 to take the title for a fifth time.
2007: Even Wayne Gretzky seldom made hat tricks look this easy. Woods was 4 strokes back halfway through the tournament, and 1 stroke behind Rory Sabbatini entering the final 18. He closed the tournament with a 5-under 65, and the rest of the field crumbled. He ended up the only player to finish under par and won the field by 8 strokes.
2008: Season-ending surgery saw him miss the tournament.
2009: Back after missing a year, Woods picked up where he left off with his seventh title. He wasn’t even in the Top 10 after two days, at just 2-under, but roared to life with a 5-under 65 on Day 3 to pull within three strokes of leader Padraig Harrington. A second straight 65 pushed Woods to 12-under, and he won the title by 4 strokes.
2010: A disastrous start only got worse as Woods was 8-over after the first round and finished 18 over par, tied for 78th.
2011: Better than 2010, but not up to his standards, Woods finished tied for 37th at 1-over.
2012: Returned to the Top 10 for the first time since 2009 with a 4-under to tie for eighth.
2013: Back on top as No. 1 in the world, Woods tied his own course record with a Day 2 61 to open up a 7-stroke lead and coasted to a n 8-stroke victory at 15-under.