Your WGC-Bridgestone Invitational First Round Open Thread: WWTD?
By Stephanie Wei under WGC

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder...

What Will Tiger Do? Good question. Who knows, but that’s the foremost matter on everyone’s minds, including his fellow competitors, at Firestone, where the first round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational has kicked off.

Tiger Woods pegs it at 1:40pm ET with the Open champion and good pal, Darren Clarke.

According to the scouting report, my sources say Tiger is striping the ball and his game looks good on all fronts. Of course, that’s from a practice round. The real test will start today and end on Sunday.

Besides WWTD, there is a tournament happening and other players in the field! I know, crazy, huh?

Late yesterday the course was playing soft and long due to the rain on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. While Firestone is starting to dry up, conditions are still soft and prime for scoring. The superintendent said the rough is thicker than last year, and after I walked the course yesterday, it sure looked nasty. Good course management is key to success — putting the ball on certain sides of the fairway off the tee is important for hitting the approach shot into small targets.

Currently, there’s a packed leaderboard with the morning wave taking advantage of the ideal conditions. D.A. Points, Stewart Cink (who seems to always play well at Firestone), and Jason Day (whom I tipped in a radio spot yesterday) are tied for the lead at five-under at the moment. Rory Sabbatini is the clubhouse leader, firing a four-under 66. Jonathan Byrd, Geoff Ogilvy and Brandt Snedeker are also at four-under with a few to play.

Phil Mickelson, who was spraying it off the tee (per usual) in his practice match yesterday, is holding his own at three-under through 12.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are two-under, currently T10.

Just another friendly reminder because I haven’t mentioned it enough times, Tiger tees off at 1:40pm ET. WWTD?