The final Bridgestone Invitational is rapidly approaching, and while many are sad the WGC is moving to Memphis, everyone involved is very excited.

Don Padgett III, the Executive Director of the Bridgestone Invitational, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to answer questions, comments, and concerns surrounding next week’s tournament. The hope of many on the inside, as well as fans on the outside, was if Tiger Woods could qualify for the Bridgestone. With his finish at the British Open, he is ranked 50th on the PGA Tour and thus qualifying him to play at Firestone.

Padgett also talked about the charities and volunteers, the field of players, and looking ahead to next year’s tournament when the senior players will pass through Akron.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
This week has shown some uncertain futures for two long-time staples in the Akron area.

Dan Horrigan, the mayor of Akron, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss a few local topics, one of them being the sale of the Akron Beacon Journal to GateHouse Media. Horrigan believes in a strong local newspaper to hold the politicians accountable, and has said the Beacon is part of the fabric of the city. Once the sale goes through, the mayor wants to sit with the new owners to discuss their approach to journalism and the business community.

Horrigan also touched on the Bridgestone Invitational, which will leave town after 2018. The mayor is disappointed that the Bridgestone will not return for 2019, especially with how it affects the local economy and the Northeast Ohio Golf Charities. He says the city will work on bringing a new tournament to town, with the hopes of the top golfers in the world coming back, as well.

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The Fighting Irish lost a coach who helped Notre Dame return to prominence. That coach happened to have roots in Akron.

John Feinstein, author, commentator, and talk show host, was in the Akron area and joined the Ray Horner Morning Show in studio. Feinstein talked about the passing of Fighting Irish coach Ara Parseghian, who helped lead Notre Dame to two titles, and the impact he had on the program and college football in general.

Feinstein is in town for the Bridgestone Invitational, and he and Ray talked about the field and how the tournament is fairing without Tiger Woods.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is a global event that truly highlights Akron's Firestone Country Club and in turn the entire Northeast Ohio area. 

While it's obviously about the sport of golf, there is a much more important effect that is felt among northeast Ohio's non-profit organizations. 

During a luncheon at the Bridgestone Akron Technical Center Thursday, a check for more than $1 Million was presented and diviied up between 38 local non-profits, including Akron Children's Hospital, University Hospitals, the LeBron James Family Foundation, the Humane Society of Summit County, and more. 

1Bridgestone Invitational Luncheon 3

Of the donation, Bridgestone Invitational Executive Director Don Padgett III they reason they do it was on display during Thursday's luncheon: "Over a million dollars going back to Northeast Ohio (and) the fantastic causes that we celebrate here today." Padgett says that more than $26 million has been raised for local non-profits since 1984. 

Also, for the 7th straight year, Bridgestone Invitational has named a local recipient of the $5,000 "surprise grant." This year's grant goes to Pregnancy Solutions Services in Akron. 

See the full press release recapping the grant presentation and highlighting the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational that runs August 2nd through August 6th below: 

AKRON, Ohio – The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and Northern Ohio Golf Charities today announced the donation of $1 million in charitable funds to Northeast Ohio organizations in connection with the 2016 tournament. The announcement was made at the annual Bridgestone Invitational, Northern Ohio Golf Charities luncheon held at the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center in Akron.

Representatives from Bridgestone Americas, Inc., the PGA TOUR and Northern Ohio Golf Charities attended the luncheon to celebrate the tournament’s charitable mission and announce the donation recipients. The luncheon was emceed by Chris Tye, news anchor and reporter for WKYC, Channel 3.

Thirty-eight charities throughout the region benefitted from the $1,015,981 total raised including the tournament’s two signature charities, Akron Children’s Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

“The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational is a special event for this community and the region,” said Rick Burke, President, Executive Committee, Northern Ohio Golf Charities. “It is a world class golf event that generates economic development for the area but more importantly, it enables Northern Ohio Golf Charities to distribute in excess of one million dollars each year to support so many worthy and necessary charitable causes. The tournament has provided Northern Golf Charities the unique opportunity to enhance the lives of so many in our community and we are immensely grateful to our partners Bridgestone, the PGA TOUR and Firestone Country Club for providing our organization a platform to achieve our charitable mission.”

Charities recognized at the luncheon included: Akron Children’s Hospital and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, the LeBron James Family Foundation, The First Tee Chapters of Akron, Canton and Cleveland, Akron Children’s Museum, Akron General Foundation, Embracing Futures, Inc., Summa Foundation and the Humane Society of Summit County. (Please see attached document for a full listing of grant recipients.)

For the seventh year, Bridgestone Americas, Inc., funded an additional $5,000 contribution to a charitable organization. The 2017 Bridgestone Award was presented to Pregnancy Solutions & Services.

“Bridgestone is a global company with global responsibilities, but we understand the importance of supporting and improving the local communities in which we live, work and play,” said Gordon Knapp, CEO & President, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. “It’s an honor to partner once again with Northern Ohio Golf Charities on the Bridgestone Award, which this year we’re proud to present to Pregnancy Solutions & Services.”

Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation is part of a volunteer organization that has partnered with professional golf tournaments at Firestone Country Club for more than 50 years. During this time, the tournaments have provided more than $26 million to local charities seeking to improve the quality of life in Northeast Ohio.

“Bridgestone and Northern Ohio Golf Charities are phenomenal partners that enable the Bridgestone Invitational to give back to worthy local causes ,” said Don Padgett, Executive Director of the Bridgestone Invitational. “This event has a meaningful impact on the area all year long and we have our fans, area businesses and volunteers to thank for their support.”

Among the guests at the luncheon were: Gordon Knapp, CEO, Bridgestone Americas Inc.; Don Padgett III, Executive Director, Bridgestone Invitational, and Rick Burke, President, Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation, Inc.

Not-for-profit, 501 (c)(3) organizations can receive funds generated in conjunction with the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational by submitting a grant request to Northern Ohio Golf Charities. Further details can be found at

Tickets to the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational can be purchased by visiting or calling 330-644-2299.

The following non-profits split the more than $1M from the 2016 Bridgestone Invitational: 

1. 91.3 The Summit 2. Akron Children's Foundation 3. Akron Children's Museum 4. Akron General Foundation (Edwin Shaw Golf) 5. Barberton Area Community Ministries 6. Blessings in a Backpack 7. Cleveland Kids Book Bank 8. East Akron Neighborhood Development 9. Embracing Futures, Inc. 10. Emerald Development & Economic Network 11. Family Promise of Greater Cleveland 12. Flashes of Hope 13. Forever Amber Acres Animal Sanctuary 14. Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity 15. Hiram Farm Living Learning Community 16. Humane Society of Summit County 17. Humility of Mary Housing 18. Interval Brotherhood Home 19. LeBron James Family Foundation 20. Lift Up Ministries 21. Pregnancy Solutions & Services, Inc. 22. RABAB Ministries, The Well Akron 23. Regina Health Center 24. Ronald McDonald House of Akron 25. Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland 26. Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs 27. Stewart's Caring Place 28. Summa Foundation 29. Summit Choral Society 30. Summit Metro Parks 31. The First Tee of Akron 32. The First Tee of Canton 33. The First Tee of Cleveland 34. True Freedom, Inc. 35. Truly Reaching You 36. United Disability Services, Inc. 37. UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital 38. Urban Vision

Published in Local
Thursday, 17 November 2016 12:11

Bridgestone Names Honorary 2017 Chairman

World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational has an honorary chairman for the 2017 tournament. Officials announced on Thursday that Tony Zenty, CEO of University Hospitals, will chair the tournament next summer. 

Bridgestone Invitational Executive Director Don Padgett III said in a statement, "Tom Zenty is a well respected, inspirational leader; as CEO of UH, he unwaveringly displays dedication to serve his community and passion for helping people every day. In his 14 years at UH, Zenty has made an undeniable impact on the lives of those in Northeastern Ohio." 

The 2017 Bridgestone Invitational run August 2 through August 4 at Firestone Country Club in Akron. 





Published in Local

Major Timothy Jenkins hasn't seen his family in about 10 months after being deployed to Kuwait. When he learned he would returning from deployment earlier than planned, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to surprise his family.

As a supporter and volunteer at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational for five years, Jenkins of Avon was thrilled to use it as the location to surprise his wife and four kids during a military appreciation ceremony.

His wife, Rania, was told she would be accepting an award on her husband's behalf for his service as a volunteer. But as she was expecting another holiday weekend without her husband, Major Jenkins was hiding just outside of Firestone Country Club waiting to create a memorable homecoming. 

Pro golfer Billy Hurley III was there to announce the surprise during a military appreciation ceremony. 

Published in Local
Friday, 01 July 2016 23:36

AUDIO Day Taking Control At Firestone

The second round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational was a solid one for Australian Jason Day, who is currently in the lead at 4 under par.

Day spoke with the media Friday after his round,  and despite some windy conditions early on, he was pleased with his performance on the South Course.

He shot a 69 on Friday, leaving him in sole posession of first heading into Day 3. David Lingmerth of Sweden is behind him at 67.

The world's #1 golfer heading into the tournament at Firestone, Day says he's focused on making sure he stays at that elite level.

Jason's played in the Bridgestone Invitational in previous years, and he knows he just has to play his game in order to be in the conversation down the home stretch.

"I really want to win this tournament, it's been one of the tournaments on my radar for a very long time, and I'm hoping I'm there by Sunday."

Day tees off at 2 p.m. Saturday, where he'll be paired up with (David) Lingmerth.

Published in Brad Russell
Thursday, 30 June 2016 21:49

AUDIO McGirt Leading After Day One

Day One of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational was a successful one for American William McGirt, who shot a 64 in the first round.

McGirt spoke with the media Thursday after his round to talk about his solid start.

"It was a good solid day all around," he said. "Drove it pretty well with the exception of the tee shot on 18."

William knows a little bit about this tournament and some of the past winners, Even though it's early, it's a list he'd love to be on.

The North Carolina native won the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio in early June.

When asked if there's any similarites between Firestone and Muirfield Village in Dublin, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus, McGirt said he likes both of the courses, which are more traditional in nature.

McGirt has a three stroke lead over  three players including Jason Day, who is the world's number one golfer.

Published in Brad Russell
Pro Football HOF running back Jerome Bettis dropped by the patio of the media center of the South Course at Firestone Country Club for Day1 of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
 When asked about his Hall of Fame speech, Bettis said he used that platform to thank all the people who helped him get to that point in his life.
"It was a special moment, and I wanted to spotlight the people who were influential, including my high school coach, Lou Holtz, and all of the people who made my life better."
"The Bus" is here at Firestone today to meet and greet the fans in partnership with Stryker Orthopedics. He says anytime he gets to see new people and talk with them about football, golf, or anything, it brings a smile to his face.

Bettis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

As far as his own golf game, Bettis said he enjoys hitting the course whenever he can.

Published in Sam and Brad
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 16:20

VIDEO Golfer Tries Swensons Gally Boy

When you're about to start a golf tournament, most people would probably want to take a bite out of the competition. But this player took a bite out of something else.

European golfer Andrew "Beef" Johnston put his nickname to good use and sampled a Gally Boy from Akron favorite Swenson's Drive In at the Bridgestone Invitational Wednesday.



The first round of play at the Bridgestone Invitational begins Thursday morning.


Published in Local
The celebration in Akron continues, from the LeBron James party at Lock 3 last week to the Bridgestone Invitational this week. As the mayor said, there is a lot of civic pride going around the area.

Dan Horrigan, the mayor of Akron, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss all the bells and whistles that go into the Bridgestone week. The mayor talked about the commitment by the volunteers, and how the area prepares itself for such an event.

Speaking of the area surrounding Akron, the city is in possession of what is left of Rolling Acres Mall. Horrigan says the city is researching how much it will cost to demolish the decrepit structure, and assures the listeners they have plenty of ideas for the site. “[We’ll see] what’s the best fit for the city, the best fit for the future,” says the mayor.

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