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“I feel like this course will be great preparation,” he said. “It’s a golf course here where you have to play really well tee to green. Sometimes straight par 4s are the hardest, where there’s not a lot of shape to them _ and you do have quite a few of those out here on this golf course.”

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STEP LADDER: Snedeker believes that a career as a pro golfer usually follows a career arc: you play, you contend, you win a tournament, you win a big-money World Golf Championship event and then you win a major championship.

Right now, Snedeker is trying to make the step to winning a WGC or maybe even skipping right ahead to taking home a major.

“It’s the next step in a progression,” he said. “You win tournaments and then you start winning bigger tournaments. Obviously, the WGCs, especially Bridgestone, has one of the best fields in golf. You’re playing against 70 guys who are probably the top 50 in the world and 20 guys who are playing great golf.

“Winning these tournaments is kind of the next step on the rung for me and then winning a major would be a next step after that. These are where you really find out where your game stacks up against the best in the world.”

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WELCOME ABOARD: With his tie for 16th last week at the Canadian Open along with top 10s at both the U.S. and British Opens, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama has been invited to join the PGA Tour. He’ll be a special temporary member for the remainder of the 2013 season.

With $501,907 in earnings in just three professional starts, Matsuyama has already surpassed last year’s No. 150 in earnings ($474,295). He has through the Wyndham Championship to earn his tour car for next year.

He’s not alone. During this season, Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain and Jordan Spieth have joined the tour under the same circumstances as Matsuyama, with Spieth subsequently erasing that “temporary” tag by winning at the John Deere.

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DIVOTS: The winner of the Bridgestone collects $1,575,000. There is no cut and only a 73-player field, also solid reasons why the world’s top players flock to Akron each August. … Prime pairings for the first two rounds: reigning British and U.S. Open champions Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose; seven-time Bridgestone winner Tiger Woods and Hideki Matsuyama; Dustin Johnson and Masters winner Adam Scott; Rory McIlroy and Snedeker; and defending champ Keegan Bradley and Luke Donald. … Thunderstorms are forecast for Wednesday night and Thursday morning, with the weather clearing for the weekend. … Bradley won the Bridgestone a year ago when Jim Furyk, who had led all week, made a double bogey on the final hole.

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP