Occurrences at Storied Club Included PGA Champions Major, Senior British Open Qualifier, Ambassador of Golf Award Ceremony
(AKRON, Ohio) – Firestone Country Club, renowned as one of North America’s most historic venues for championship golf, celebrates a remarkable week as host of the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship, and other events associated with the major tournament and the PGA Tour Champions.
The revered club, which has hosted numerous PGA Championships and World Golf Championships on the PGA Tour, was the site of Bridgestone Senior Players Championship on the PGA Tour Champions on June 21-27. Steve Stricker, who will captain the U.S. team at this year’s Ryder Cup, won the senior major on the difficult South Course for his second victory of the year and third major title. Stricker finished at 7-under 273 for the tournament, while runner-up Jerry Kelly was -1 for the tournament and the only other player to finish under-par for the week.
On June 21, the Fazio Course at Firestone played host to a Monday Qualifying event for The Senior Open. More than 90 players competed in the overseas qualifier, which was the first time in the Championship’s history that the event occurred on a U.S. course.
Firestone also hosted the 2021 Ambassador of Golf award ceremony on June 24, with Former President George W. Bush accepting the honor. Presented by the FirstEnergy Foundation, the Ambassador of Golf Award honors a person who has fostered the ideals of the game on an international level and whose concern for others extends beyond the golf course. Before the ceremony, CBS Sports commentator Jim Nantz, former U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin and professional golfer and current Golf Channel / NBC Sports commentator Peter Jacobsen conducted a roundtable discussion on the South Course and praised Firestone for its history and challenge.
Throughout the week, many competitors echoed those praises from Nantz, Irwin and Jacobsen about Firestone:
“The emotions it brings up, the adrenaline you get just stepping on the property, it kind of puts us in heaven.” – Jerry Kelly
“The community of Akron is what sets Firestone apart. It’s not the largest city we travel to on the PGA Champions, but you can always tell how important professional golf is to this area and how much passion they have for the game.” – Jim Furyk
“Being back at a very special and demanding golf course, it’s always in good condition and everyone is so friendly. I was reminded of some of the best golf of my life at Firestone.” – Jose Maria Olazabal
“I was getting an award here a couple of years ago and this is amazing that we get to play here. We play in a lot of great tournaments, but we do not play golf courses like this. With all the legends winning here, it’s pretty special.” – Fred Couples
“Every year it’s awesome. It’s one of the best conditioned courses we play on the PGA Tour and now the PGA Champions. All the familiar faces from the locker room guys and volunteers – it’s pretty cool they’re still all here and making this event special.” – Mike Weir
“I have always enjoyed the challenge of the golf course. In my 30 years of coming here, the course has never been in better condition. It’s always good, but this year, it’s just exceptional.” – Ernie Els
“It’s a special spot. We came here for so many years on the regular Tour and WGC events, and I even committed to the Travelers Championship on the regular Tour this week, but I could not pass up the chance to play Firestone again.” – Steve Stricker
A limited number of spectators were allowed on the grounds for the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship, and partake in other events throughout the week at the club including Summerfest at Firestone, which included local food trucks and other dining options, and concerts from such noted performers as The Sunrise Jones, The Shootouts and the Akron Symphony Orchestra. Also occurring throughout the week were several pro-am and sponsor tournaments and parties, golf clinics and a Wednesday junior golf tournament.
“This year’s Bridgestone Senior Players Championship was an amazing opportunity to once again showcase Firestone as a premier club and the South Course as a venerable major championship venue,” says General Manager Jay Walkinshaw. “Every member of our staff should be applauded for their efforts not only during that week, but for what they do on a daily basis.”
Now a featured Invited (formerly ClubCorp) property, Firestone has hosted the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship since 2019. It will continue to serve as the host venue through 2026, as Akron-based Kaulig Companies will replace Bridgestone as the title sponsor for the Senior Players Championship beginning next year.
For more information, www.firestonecountryclub.com.