The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational kicks off minus three-time defending champion Tiger Woods, who continues to rehab from knee surgery.
Without Woods, the field loses some of its luster. However, 47 of the top-50 players in the world rankings are scheduled to tee it up in Akron.
Woods, an injured Luke Donald and Mike Weir are the only three players in the top-50 missing the event.
Last year, Woods ran away from the field with three sub-par rounds, including a final-round, 5-under 65 to cruise to an eight-shot victory over Rory Sabbatini and Justin Rose.
The win meant Woods three-peated here for the second time, making him the first player to accomplish that feat. That was Woods' 14th victory in 25 career starts in the World Golf Championship events.
The previous two WGC events this year were claimed by Woods and Geoff Ogilvy. Woods trampled Stewart Cink 8 and 7 in the Accenture Match Play and Ogilvy fended off Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen and Vijay Singh to win the CA Championship by a stroke.
With Woods missing this week and Davis Love III not qualifying, there remains just five players that have competed in all 10 Bridgestone Invitationals. Those five are Stuart Appleby, Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood.
The GOLF CHANNEL will have four hours of coverage each of the first two days, while CBS will also carry four hours of action on Saturday and Sunday.