Planet Golf — 29 July 2015 by GW staff and news services
Rory, Kirk to miss Bridgestone
AKRON, OH – Rory McIlroy and Chris Kirk have informed tournament officials that they will not be playing next week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club due to injury.
“Unfortunately, I will not be defending my World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational title,” said McIlroy, who is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered in early July. “Best of luck to all the competitors, and I look forward to returning to Firestone in 2016.”
McIlroy, the tournament’s defending champion, will miss the Bridgestone Invitational for the first time since 2009. In his six previous appearances, he has four top-10 finishes, including his win last year.
Four-time PGA Tour winner Kirk broke his right hand prior to The Open Championship while playing with his children and has yet to recover fully.
Several of the game’s top players, however, will highlight the field, including Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Zach Johnson, who have all recorded victories over the last three weeks.
Spieth has moved to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking thanks to four PGA Tour victories, including two major championship wins this season, and victories at the Hero World Challenge and the Emirates Australian Open to end 2014.
Spieth’s campaign continues to be one of the best in Tour history with 12 top-10 finishes, eight in the top three. With a victory at the Bridgestone Invitational, Spieth could take over the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking at the same event in which McIlroy become No. 1 in the world with a victory last year.
Spieth’s incredible season means and equally incredible lead in the FedExCup standings with 3,763 points – nearly doubling his closest competitor in Bubba Watson (2,043 points). Spieth’s FedExCup performance is so dominant that if Watson won the next three events, he would remain in second place behind the 22-year-old.
Day, whose wife Ellie is from Northeast Ohio, will come to Akron following his fourth victory at the RBC Canadian Open. Playing in the second to the last group, Day drained a birdie putt from 21 feet 10 inches on No. 18 to come from two shots behind third-round leader David Hearn for his RBC Canadian Open victory.
Day is in search of his second career World Golf Championships victory, having won the 2014 Cadillac Match Play. Day will be teeing it up at the Bridgestone Invitational for the fifth time in his career. His career-best finish at the event came in 2011 with a T4.
With the win, Day moved from No. 16 in the FedExCup standings to No. 4 with only five events before the Playoffs. The win also moved Day to No. 4 in the Official World Golf Ranking.  Day (27), McIlroy (26) and Spieth (22) represent three of the top-four players in the world.
Now that the top 50 in the OWGR have qualified, below is a list of the 78 players who are now officially eligible to play. Players can either win at the Quicken Loans National this week or move into the top 50 in the OWGR as of Monday, August 3, to finalize the field. Players have until 5 p.m. ET on Friday, July 31, to officially commit to the Bridgestone Invitational.
Player                              Qualification
An, Byeong Hun            2015 BMW PGA Championship
Bae, Sang-Moon           2014 Open
Bjorn, Thomas               2014 Ryder Cup
Bowditch, Steven          2015 AT&T Byron Nelson
Bradley, Keegan           2014 Ryder Cup
Casey, Paul                  2014 KLM Open
*Cullen, Nick                 2014 BetEasy Masters
Day, Jason                   2015 RBC Canadian Open, 2015 Farmers Insurance Open
Dodt, Andrew               2015 True Thailand Classic
Donaldson, Jamie        2014 Ryder Cup
Dubuisson, Victor         2014 Ryder Cup
Every, Matt                   2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Fowler, Rickie               2015 Aberdeen Scottish Open, 2015 THE PLAYERS Championship, 2014 Ryder Cup
Furyk, Jim                     2015 RBC Heritage, 2014 Ryder Cup
Gallacher, Stephen       2014 Ryder Cup
Garcia, Sergio               2014 Ryder Cup
Gomez, Fabian             2015 FedEx St. Jude Classic
Grace, Branden            2015 Dimension Data Pro-Am*, 2015 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Haas, Bill                      2015 Humana Challenge
Hahn, James                 2015 Northern Trust Open
Harrington, Padraig       2015 Honda Classic
Henley, Russell             Top 50 OWGR
Hoffman, Charley          Top 50 OWGR
Holmes, J.B.                  2015 Shell Houston Open
Horschel, Billy               2014 TOUR Championship, 2014 BMW Championship
Ilonen, Mikko                 2014 Volvo World Match Play
Jaidee, Thongchai        Top 50 OWGR
Johnson, Dustin            2015 World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship
Johnson, Zach              2015 The Open Championship, 2014 Ryder Cup
Kaymer, Martin             2014 Ryder Cup
Kisner, Kevin                Top 50 OWGR
Kjeldsen, Soren            2015 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
Koepka, Brooks            2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, 2014 Turkish Airlines Open
Kuchar, Matt                 2014 Ryder Cup
Lahiri, Anirban              2015 Maybank Malaysian Open
Larrazabal, Pablo         2015 BMW International Open
Lee, Danny                   2015 Greenbrier Classic
Leishman, Marc           Top 50 OWGR
*Liang, Wen-chong      2015 JGT Championship
Lingmerth, David         2015 the Memorial Tournament
Lipsky, David               2014 Omega European Masters
Lowry, Shane              Top 50 OWGR
Luiten, Joost                2014 ISPS Handa Wales Open
Mahan, Hunter             2014 The Barclays, 2014 Ryder Cup
Martin, Ben                   2014 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Matsuyama, Hideki       Top 50 OWGR
McDowell, Graeme       2014 Ryder Cup
Mickelson, Phil            2014 Ryder Cup
Molinari, Francesco     Top 50 OWGR
Moore, Ryan                 2014 CIMB Classic
Na, Kevin                     Top 50 OWGR
Noren, Alexander         2015 Nordea Masters
*Oda, Koumei              2014 Bridgestone Open
Palmer, Ryan               Top 50 OWGR
Oosthuizen, Louis        Top 50 OWGR
Poulter, Ian                  2014 Ryder Cup
Reed, Patrick               2015 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, 2014 Ryder Cup
Rose, Justin                 2015 Zurich Classic, 2014 Ryder Cup
Scott, Adam                 Top 50 OWGR
Schwartzel, Charl       Top 50 OWGR
Siem, Marcel                2014 BMW Masters
Simpson, Webb            2014 Ryder Cup
Snedeker, Brandt         2015 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Spieth, Jordan              2015 John Deere Classic, 2015 U.S. Open, 2015 Masters, 2015 Valspar, 2014 Emirates Australian Open, 2014 Ryder Cup
Stal, Gary                     2015 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
Stenson, Henrik           2014 DP World  Tour Championship, 2014 Ryder Cup
Streb, Robert               2014 The McGladrey Classic
Todd, Brendon             Top 50 OWGR
Villegas, Camilo           2014 Wyndham Championship
Walker, Jimmy             2015 Valero Texas Open, 2015 Sony Open, 2014 Ryder Cup
Watson, Bubba            2015 Travelers Championship, 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions, 2014 Ryder Cup
Westwood, Lee            2014 Thailand Golf Championship*, 2014 Ryder Cup
Wiesberger, Bernd       2015 Alstom Open de France
Willett, Danny               2015 Omega European Masters, 2014 Nedbank Golf Challenge
Wilson, Oliver               2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Woodland, Gary          Top 50 OWGR
*won event designated by the International Federation of PGA Tours as a qualifying event for the tournament.

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