Woods vs Westwood

Thursday’s first round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational promises to be the beginning of a classic encounter with current world number one Tiger Woods going head to head with challenger Lee Westwood in what should be a thrilling competition.

Woods, a seven times winner at the Akron, Ohio, course, faces stiff competition in a year when he has yet to seal a victory from in both in-form Westwood and fellow top spot challenger Phil Mickelson, either of whom could usurp Woods from the number one slot this week should the results go their way.

The prospect of Westwood and Woods drawn together is surely one that will add a much welcome sense of excitement to the contest, and with Mickelson having an early start – he and partner Rory McIlroy tee off at 9.50 am – and the former pair at 1:50 pm there is much to look forward to in this tightly fought contest.

McIlroy was responsible for a brilliant display at the Quail Hollow Championship earlier this season where he beat partner Mickelson, and these two should also provide plenty of top quality entertainment.

In last year’s Open Westwood and Woods were also partners, and on that occasion the American missed the cut while Westwood, who was seven shots ahead of Woods over their rounds together, finished third in the competition.

With Westwood and Mickelson both breathing down his neck in an effort to take that number one slot from him, Tiger Woods needs to draw on all of his experience and considerable talent, let alone his knowledge and success around this course, in order to fend off such strong opposition.

For the record, Mickelson will go top if he is in the top four and Woods is down the order, while Westwood requires a win or a second place for any chance of heading the rankings.