The PGA Tour heads south this week for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. A limited field of 76 players will tackle Firestone Country Club, with the event back in its traditional pre-PGA Championship spot on the schedule.
Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.
1. Jordan Spieth: No reason to buck the trend now. Spieth has gone on heaters before, and he appears to be in the midst of another one after dramatic wins at the Travelers Championship and The Open. Spieth has gotten progressively better with his results at Firestone, including last year's T-3 finish.
2. Dustin Johnson: Johnson didn't have a top-10 finish at Firestone before last year, but he broke that trend in a big way. While he isn't playing up to the level with which he dominated the Tour earlier this year en route to two WGC wins, he still has a significant weapon off the tee and likely needs only a little bit of improvement on and around the greens to give a serious run at his title defense.
3. Rory McIlroy: The Ulsterman hasn't played here since his win back in 2014, and now he enters amid a cloud of uncertainty with a new caddie on the bag. Including his win, McIlroy has finished T-9 or better in four of his last five trips to Akron and despite a tumultuous week at Royal Birkdale he tied for fourth in his most recent start.
4. Rickie Fowler: Fowler holds the distinction of being the only player in this week's field with top-10 finishes each of the last three years at Firestone. While he couldn't quite climb the leaderboard in England, eventually finishing T-22, he continues to have a remarkably solid season with four top-10 finishes in his last six starts.
5. Hideki Matsuyama: The world No. 3 has had close calls at each of the last two majors, and it shows that his form is on the brink of another breakthrough. Matsuyama dusted the field en route to a WGC victory earlier this season in China, and his consistency indicates he should be able to notch his first Firestone top-10 finish this week.
6. Jon Rahm: Rahm is making his debut in Akron this week, but that hasn't slowed him down before. A middling performance at Royal Birkdale is merely a bump in the road for Rahm, who won the Irish Open in his start before that and has mixed top-10 finishes with missed cuts over the last two months.
7. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar still hasn't had a break since his near-miss at Royal Birkdale, but now he returns to a course where he has finished T-27 or better each of the last three years. That includes a trio of top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's third-place showing, and Kuchar's T-32 finish in Canada broke a string of six straight top-20s.
8. Henrik Stenson: The Ice Man is quietly lurking just below the radar, having notched a T-11 finish in defense of his Open title last month. Stenson now has finished T-26 or better in five of his last six worldwide starts, and his last three trips to Akron include a runner-up in 2013 and a T-6 finish in 2015.
9. Adam Scott: The Aussie won this event back in 2011 for his first title with Steve Williams on the bag, and he has since followed with two top-10 finishes in the last three years. Scott tied for 22nd at Royal Birkdale and has only one top-10 finish over his last five starts, but this is a course that often brings the best out of him.
10. Zach Johnson: Johnson's inclusion here amounts to a bit of a curve ball, but he seems to have turned things around at the Deere and built on that momentum at The Open, where he finished T-14. Johnson tied for 10th at Firestone last year, one of three top-10 finishes he has recorded in Akron over the last six years.