WGC-Bridgestone Invitational tee times, pairings: When Tiger Woods starts Round 1

Woods is bidding for his ninth WGC-Bridgestone title this week

Woods has won the event eight times and made qualifying one of his goals for the season as the tournament moves from Firestone Country Club in Akron to Memphis next year.

"Well, I've always been a fan of this golf course ever since I first played here in '97 so I've always enjoyed it", he said.

It is the first time since the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March that Woods has been closer than a tie for 29th after the first round - a span of eight tournaments. "You ve got to hit every club in your bag and you ve got to hit good shots with all of them". He s won here as many times as I ve won everywhere in my career.

"I went from just hoping to be able to play the tour to now that I feel that I can play the tour", he said.

And it was the seventh time he shot 66 or better in the opening round of this tournament; he won five of the previous six times. Justin Thomas and Phil Mickelson are teeing it up together, and Dustin Johnson and Open victor Francesco Molinari will play as a pairing as well.

Woods will contest the opening round in the company of Australia's Jason Day. "I've always had such great memories of this golf course". I can certainly hit shots, but it's just a little stiff in the morning.

Woods WGC
The American celebrates winning the tournament back in 2006

"I would like to be able to finally finish it off; I've had a couple good results here", said Day, who owns two WGC titles but in the matchplay edition.

World number one Dustin Johnson of the United States will be competing on the back of his win at last week's Canadian Open and vying to repeat his triumph from 2016.

"As I said, it was going to sting for a while, and it certainly does because I had a great chance at it", he said. Add up the consistency over the last four weeks and the way Woods played on Thursday and you've got some strong evidence that Woods is going to win sometime soon.

Following a steady climb in the early part of 2018, a second-place finish at the Valspar Championship catapulted Woods from 389th to 149th in the rankings. "And I don't think anyone could, to be honest".

The 38-year-old told Sky Sports that he first felt the pain earlier in the week, with Rose sitting out the World Golf Championship event to avoid further injury ahead of a hectic forthcoming schedule.

"When you go out on the course and you're playing with some of the best players in the world, you confront yourself with them", he said.

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