Planet Golf — 29 July 2015 by GW staff and news services
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.
An, Byeong Hun 2015 BMW PGA Championship
Bae, Sang-Moon 2014 Frys.com 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.