Day in Tiger's group at WGC at Firestone

‘Special to me:’ Tiger Woods reflects on last Bridgestone Invitational in Akron

"I've always been a fan of this golf course, ever since I first played here in '97", Woods said.

This week, Woods will attempt to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for the ninth time.

After feeling he should have won The Open Championship, Woods has that swagger back and the game is better for it.

He has also committed to the first two FedEx Cup playoff events later this month and is all but a lock to qualify for the third - meaning three straight weeks of competition for the first time in more than five years.

Woods hit just 7 of 14 fairways as he returned to one of his favorite courses, a place where he has won eight times but not competed since withdrawing during the final round in 2014.

It's one thing to watch the television coverage of a golf tournament, with its tracer technology and dozens of camera angles at every turn, but another to witness the strength, accuracy and fortitude of the PGA Tour's players in person.

The Northern Irishman tasted victory at this event in 2014 in between winning The Open at Royal Liverpool and the US PGA Championship at Valhalla, and with the tournament set to move on from OH next year McIlroy, who finished in a tie for second at The Open two weeks ago, is keen to put in another strong performance this week.

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"This event has been very special to me over the years, and it's sad to see it leave Firestone", Woods said.

Lahiri will play with Luke List at 10.20 am from the first tee, while Woods will start play with Jason Day at the same time but from the tenth tee. It's a very simple, straightforward golf course, which we don't see very often anymore.

His tie for sixth in the British Open moved him to No. 50 on the button.

Imagine walking the ropes alongside five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, marveling at how diminutive both Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler are, yet how far they can launch a golf ball, or even being able to join the massive gallery surrounding Tiger Woods. He ended up 3 strokes behind victor Francesco Molinari. "But I also had to play well to do it. I just couldn't quite get a feel for it".

Case in point: Molinari's playing partner in the final round of The Open was Tiger Woods.

Woods said he took a Switzerland vacation with friends and family the following week before returning to prepare for the Bridgestone.

Asked how he, as vice captain, might pitch himself to Furyk as a player right now, Woods replied with a big smile, "What would be the word?" If it does, imagine how high expectations will be for Woods at next week's PGA Championship.

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