When it comes to world-class fields, this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is among the best. A total of 49 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings will be teeing it up at Firestone Country Club on Thursday, with just Titleist Brand Ambassador Webb Simpson (World No. 5 ) among the missing. Simpson and his wife, Dowd welcomed a new baby daughter, Willow Grace, last Saturday evening. Titleist golf ball loyalists occupy 26 of those Top 50 positions, including 10 full product line brand ambassadors.
>> Adam Scott Ready to Defend
Titleist Brand Ambassador Adam Scott seeks to defend his 2011 championship after posting a four-shot win at this event last year. Scott never trailed following any round en route to his first World Golf Championships win, which included an opening 8-under par 62. The World No. 6 enters the tournament with confidence after his performance here last year and his runner-up finish at The Open Championship two weeks ago.
"It is always exciting to return as the defending champion," Scott told Team Titleist. "There is always a little extra motivation when you are defending, to try and hold onto the trophy. It would be quite an honor to defend a World Golf Championship with the field that's assembled this week."
Scott also got in a couple of rounds at the Ocean Course at Kiawah earlier this week in preparation for the year's final major, the PGA Championship. It is a course he had never seen prior to visiting last week.
"It was interesting," said Scott. "Not quite what I had expected. It's going to be very weather dependent. There's good scores out there in good weather, but if the wind blows, it's going to be very difficult."
Scott made final preparations for this week's event by playing 18 holes with fellow Titleist Brand Ambassadors Geoff Ogilvy and Nick Watney on Wednesday.
>> The Inside Scoop on Stricker's Prototype 913D3
Titleist Brand Ambassador Steve Stricker, who made the switch to the new 913 prototype driver on the eve of the British Open is sticking with the new big stick after continuing to tweak it at Firestone on Tuesday. As it turns out, after trying other combinations, he remained with the exact specs and shaft that he was fit for in England. He also worked on his fairway metal in Akron, a 910Fd that he was working to his liking.
Driver: Titleist Prototype 913D3
Shaft: Motore Speeder VC 8.2
SureFit Tour Hosel Setting: A•1
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Fairway Metal: Titleist 910Fd
Shaft: Fujikura Tour Spec 9.2
SureFit Tour Hosel Setting: A•1
>> From Most to First
Titleist golf ball loyalist Lee Westwood is playing in his 40th career World Golf Championships event, the most of any player in WGC history. By contrast, eight players in the field of 78 are participating in their very first World Golf Championships event, including Titleist Brand Ambassadors Jamie Donaldson, Scott Piercy and Bernd Weisberger (pictured below).
Donaldson won the Irish Open last month, while Piercy captured the Canadian Open last week. Wiesberger originally qualified via his victory at the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea in March, which he followed up with a victory at the Lyoness Open in his home country of Austria last Saturday.