Tournament: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational – Firestone CC (South), Akron, OH
Hole: 9th – Par 4, 494 Yards
Architect: Bert Way – 1928
Robert Trent Jones (redesign) – 1960
The 9th hole at Firestone Country Club’s South Course is a lengthy par four that will offer a challenge for competitors as they close the front nine. From the tee, competitors may hit less than driver, despite the length of the hole, to ensure they find the fairway and avoid the three bunkers guarding the landing area from 266 to 310 yards. The tree-lined fairway is relatively narrow as it measures just 31 yards at its widest point. Competitors will look to hit a right-to-left shaped shot in hopes of finding the left-center portion of the fairway to achieve the optimal angle into the green. Should players successfully find the fairway, a mid- to short-iron will be left into the elevated green. Three greenside bunkers protect the front half of the putting surface, while the rear is framed by multiple mature hardwood trees as the hole ends at the clubhouse. The saddle-shaped green is relatively small, measuring 27-yards-deep by 25-yards-wide, and slopes from back-to-front.
In 2016, the 9th hole played as the most difficult hole on the course with a scoring average of 4.25 (1 Eagle, 20 Birdies, 136 Pars, 73 Bogeys, and 4 Doubles)
- During the second round of the 2006 tournament, reigning tournament champion Tiger Woods hit a nine iron from the rough on the 9th hole over the green and onto the roof of the clubhouse. The ball was eventually located and Woods was granted a drop where he went on to bogey the hole. Despite dropping shot during the memorable moment, Woods went on to claim the title following a playoff with Stewart Cink.
- Firestone is known for its lengthy and challenging par fours. The ninth hole is one of six par fours that will play over 450 yards over the course of the tournament.
- Last year, Firestone CC’s South Course ranked as the hardest course on the PGA Tour in both fairways hit (44.33 percent) and greens in regulation (54.05 percent).