June 29, 2016

Partly cloudy

They’ll all flock to Firestone

Break out the slickers, that rainy day has finally arrived.

That money you’ve saved since last August will come in handy when Firestone Country Club greets the best from around the world for the Bridgestone Invitational.

If it’s anything like past events, it’ll be all about making memories.

Memories like the inaugural Bridgestone last year.

Tiger Woods beat Stewart Cink on the fourth playoff hole to win for the fifth time on the South Course.

He squandered a three-shot lead with five holes left in regulation and survived a blown chance by Cink on the third playoff to win outright.

When Cink couldn’t, Woods could as the skies poured down their praise in the form of rain on what turned out to be the final hole.

Memories like 2005. What turned out to be the final NEC Invitational became an instant classic.

With a gaggle of golfers working their way toward Woods, the best golfer on the planet made everyone realize why he is linked to the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan.

Nicknamed “The Monster” by Palmer, the 667-yard, par-5 16th stood in Tiger’s way and he tamed it.

A towering 7-iron brought the ball to 18 feet behind the pin and he sunk the putt before breaking out the fist pump to beat Chris DiMarco by a single stroke.

Memories like the 1960 PGA Championship where No. 16 bit Palmer to give Jay Hebert the title.

Already a two-time major winner that year and a runner-up at the British Open, Palmer’s chances faded when he triple bogeyed the hole, which was then 625 yards, to fade to seventh.

The biggest memory, however, took place in 2001 with Woods and Jim Furyk battling in an incredible seven-hole playoff.

Surviving three lead changes and bogeys on 18, the two went back-and-forth in a two-hour battle to the delight of everyone not named Woods or Furyk.

It took a bad tee shot by Furyk on the 464-yard, par-4 18th to finally settle things.

Woods put his tee shot to 140 yards and took a wedge to three feet for birdie to sink Furyk and grab his third straight title at Firestone.

Ironically, Woods comes into Bridgestone seeking his third straight title again. Furyk will be there. DiMarco will be there. Cink will be there.

The top 50 golfers in the world as well as members of both Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams will be there.

They’ll all try to pry the Gary Player Cup away from Woods.

Throw in some valuable points awarded toward the FedExCup and this one could be one for the ages.

“It’s an exciting time for golf,” Woods said.

And a memorable one at that.