AKRON, Ohio — Big-time golf returns to Akron this weekend with the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship at Firestone Country Club.
One of five majors on the PGA Tour Champions, this marks the tournament's fourth year in Summit County after the now-defunct WGC Invitational moved to Memphis, Tennessee. It will also be the last year with Bridgestone as the title sponsor, with Kaulig Companies set to take over the role in 2023 (the event itself could also be renamed).
Steve Stricker, a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, returns as defending champion. The event sports a $3 million purse, with first place earning $450,000.
This is the second of three straight majors on the PGA Tour Champions schedule. There was a week off after Padraig Harrington won the U.S. Senior Open in Pennsylvania, and following the Senior Players there will be another week off ahead of the Senior British Open in Scotland.
Harrington is not in the field. He went from the U.S. Senior Open to the Irish Open and next week is at St. Andrews for the British Open, which he has won twice.
This week's winner gets a spot in The Players Championship next March. Stricker did not play the TPC Sawgrass this year while recovering from a virus.
Firestone South—a par 70 course that will be 7,248 yards long this week—was the longtime host of the World Series of Golf (1976-98) and then the World Golf Championships event (1999-2018). Past Firestone winners in the field include David Frost, David Duval, Darren Clarke and Vijay Singh.
Steven Alker (the current Charles Schwab Cup leader) with three victories and Miguel Angel Jimenez with two are the only multiple winners on the PGA Tour Champions this year. 2003 U.S. Open champ Jim Furyk was a two-time runner-up at Firestone South, including a seven-hole playoff loss to Tiger Woods in 2001.
The tournament begins Thursday with the final round set for Sunday. All four rounds will air on Golf Channel.