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The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is a World Golf Championship, which is held every year. Only male professional golf players participate in the tournament. Its organizer is the International Federation of PGA Tours. The prize money is the money for both the PGA (the Professional Golfers Association) Tour and the European Tour. The major sponsor of the event is the Japanese information technologies NEC Corporation. The event was organized in 1999, becoming the successor of the World Series of Golf. The latter was also sponsored by the NEC Corporation.
In 2006 another Japanese company, the Bridgestone Corporation, became a new sponsor, and thus the WGC-NEC Invitational became the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The sponsorship agreement was signed for 5 years. The tournament will take place at its usual site, Firestone Country Club, located in Akron, Ohio.
The number of the players, who participate annually in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, is not high in comparison with the number of fields of other tournaments. About 75 golfers participate in the competition every year. The invitations to the tournament are sent only to the best players according to their rankings. There are specific criteria for the players eligibility. The golfers should be the playing members of the US and International Presidents Cup and the US and European Ryder Cup teams; or they should be ranked among the Top Fifty Golfers according to the Official World Golf Rankings. The winners of one of the following tournaments can also participate in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: the PGA Tour of Australia, the Japan Golf Tour, the Sunshine Tour, and the Asian Tour.
All of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational tournaments before 2006 were held in the USA. One of the most interesting final games was probably that of 2000, when the legendary Tiger Woods won with a great advantage in points over the other players. The game was delayed and the golfer had to play almost in darkness. But after birdying the final hole, he was illuminated by numerous cameras of the press and fans, standing in the gallery.
Before 1999 the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational tournament was called the World Series of Golf. It was established in the early sixties, but soon became one of the leading tournaments on the PGA Tour. A victory in that tournament gave to the winner a ten-year exemption on the PGA Tour.
Tiger Woods is the most notable WGC-Bridgestone Invitational player. He won this tournament four times, in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2006. Other eminent players include Stewart Cink, Craig Parry, Darren Clarke, Greg Norman, David Duval, Phil Mickelson, and many more.
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