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Congressional Oversight: AT&T National preview



By Pete Pappas

GolfWRX Staff Writer 

The AT&T National returns to Congressional Country Club this week after a two-year hiatus from our nation’s capital.

Congressional’s Blue Course will set up with the same par and yardage as it did for the 2011 U.S. Open, but don’t expect the same historic performance from this year’s AT&T National champion as we saw from Rory McIlroy last year when he won his first major championship and put his stamp on 12 U.S. Open records in the process.

In 2011, Congressional received a bailout from Mother Nature. Thunderstorms softened the course so much that protecting par was hopeless. This year the Blue Course at Congressional for the AT&T National will be firm, fast, and ironically more worthy of hosting a major than it was one year ago.

“It’s in as good a shape as any time I’ve been here,” said Congressional Golf Director John Lyberger. 

With Congressional hosting the U.S. Open last year, the AT&T National was played at Aronimink Golf Club. Defending champion Nick Watney prevailed with a two-stroke victory over 2011 PLAYERS champion K.J. Choi on the strength of a bogey-free four-under 66 in the final round, earning his first AT&T National title and second victory of the 2011 season.

Watney will be grouped Thursday and Friday with Choi – who won here in 2007, and tournament host Tiger Woods – who won in 2009.

“From what I hear it’s fast,” said Woods speaking of the course conditions.  “I like it quick because it keeps a premium on shaping shots and more than anything keeping it under the hole.”

Woods is ranked No. 4 in the world and is one of three multiple winners on Tour this season with victories at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard and The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.

Watney and Choi meanwhile are still looking for their first wins of the season — though they both have top-10 finishes to their credit.

Watney, Woods, and two-time winner this season Hunter Mahan highlight an AT&T National field that has its share of big names – including 11 major winners and nine 2012 tournament winners.

Teeing it up with Watney, Woods, and Mahan will be former U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk – who appeared poised to win his second U.S. Open title two weeks ago until the normally consistent 42 year-old imploded over the final few holes. 

Furyk finished T-4 at the U.S. Open and also has a fourth-place finish at Colonial as well as an impressive T-13 placing at The Memorial.

Also in the field this week and a welcome sight back in the winner’s circle is Dustin Johnson.  Johnson returned from a two-month layoff to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic earlier this month in dramatic style.

Relying on clutch putting down the stretch Johnson fired a final-round four-under 66 to hold off John Merrick by one-shot.

Johnson’s recent success at Congressional bodes well for him heading into the AT&T National.  He finished T-23 at Congressional at the 2011 U.S. Open.

And maybe most importantly Johnson doesn’t appear to be feeling the effects of the serious back injury that forced him to withdraw from the Masters earlier in April — an injury that left him without the ability to practice for nearly six weeks.

While it’s true the Congressional field includes some big names it’s also true it doesn’t include “a lot” of big names.  And overall the tournament is considered as having one of the thinnest fields of the Tour season.

First because the AT&T National is given invitational status only 120 players tee it up rather than the normal 156 players. Second, only two players in the World Golf Rankings Top-10 will be in the field this week – Woods and Mahan. Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood (ranked Nos. 1-3 in the Official World Golf Rankings) have all chosen to remain overseas at home in Europe. And notable American players including U.S. Open champion and World No. 5 Webb Simpson, Masters champion and World No. 6 Bubba Watson, World No. 7 Matt Kuchar, and PGA Tour Player of the Month for May Rickie Fowler have also decided to skip this week on the Tour schedule.

Combine fewer big names with a larger number of relative unknowns in an overall smaller field – and the first impression might be something along the lines of “snoozer.” But on closer inspection there are many reasons to tune in this week.  Not the least of which include the exciting and possibly historic opportunities this presents for the newest young guns on Tour. 

Teen sensation 17 year-old Beau Hossler at one point led the U.S. Open and finished T-29 showing remarkable poise and shot-making ability every nerve-wrecking step of the way. University of Texas amateur 18-year-old Jordan Spieth took low-am honors at the U.S. Open with his T-21 finish and continues to do things earning him greater praise and respect both for his game and for how he handles himself on the course. And how about 20 year-old Patrick Cantlay who turned pro just last week at the Travelers Championship.

Then of course the significance of a potential win for Tiger which would make him the first three-time winner on Tour this season could just about mark the beginning of a new chapter of “Tigermania” all over again.

The Greek Syndicate – Plugged In Predictions 

Just one prediction this week and it’s because I’m going “all-in.”  Tiger.

I’ve been pretty critical of him all season.  And have given my reasons why I believe he’ll never “be back” or be the same “science fiction” type of player he was just a few years ago. Before the U.S. Open started I said he’s still the only player on Tour who can make the kind of shots like the chip he made at The Memorial.  But he’s also the same player who can go from delightful to frightful from one round to the next.

But if just for this week, considering his familiarity with the course, particular statistics, the field, and his career-winning percentage, it’s his time, and I think he puts together four rounds good enough to win – 10-under. Woods’ career win percentage hovers around 25 percent. And this year in non-majors?  You guessed it – 25 percent (two wins in eight tries).

Woods is second in ball striking, second in total driving, ninth in greens-in-regulation, 10th in putting between five and 10 feet, and 26th in strokes gained putting. If he’s going to fail or hurt himself anywhere this week it will be on putts from 10 to 15 feet, where he’s ranked an abysmal 155th on Tour.

Congressional Caucuses

Johnson Wagner, Ben Crane, Ryan Palmer

Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Davis Love III

Marc Leishman, Ben Curtis, Adam Scott

Kyle Reifers, Billy Hurley III, Beau Hossler

Tiger Woods, Nick Watney, K.J. Choi

Robert Garrigus, Jim Furyk, Jason Day

Bobby Gates, Brian Harman, Jordan Spieth

Notah Begay, K.T. Kim, Patrick Cantlay

Tiger “Sisyphus” Woods

Thinking of Tiger’s performance at Olympic two weeks ago, all season even, and through to this week, it dawned on me – Tiger is the Sisyphus of the PGA Tour.

For those who won’t know the story of Sisyphus — loosely speaking in Greek mythology Sisyphus was condemned to roll an enormous boulder up a hill, only to watch it tumble back down time and time again.  And it was Sisyphus’ fate to repeat this action forever because of certain “indiscretions” he committed.

There are conflicting interpretations of what this means for Sisyphus. Some say Sisyphus is happy because his struggle to reach the highest of heights will always fill his heart with joy and ultimately success. Others say Sisyphus’ quest for power and constant defeat personifies the absurdity of human life in that regard.

Which interpretation better applies to Tiger where he resides today as he chases Jack’s record? I’m not sure to be honest. But I think the interpretation that does best apply to Tiger won’t be known until Tiger stops pushing that boulder up the hill.  And then most importantly, why he stopped doing so. And I wonder if in the end it won’t even have anything to do with Jack’s record.


Woods and Watney share the tournament record 13-under 267 set by Woods in 2009 and Watney in 2011.

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 Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

You can follow Pete on Twitter @TheGreekGrind and GolfWRX @GolfWRX

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Pete is a journalist, commentator, and interviewer covering the PGA Tour, new equipment releases, and the latest golf fashions. Pete's also a radio and television personality who's appeared multiple times on ESPN radio, and Fox Sports All Bets Are Off. And when he's not running down a story, he's at the range working on his game. Above all else, Pete's the proud son of a courageous mom who battled pancreatic cancer much longer than anyone expected. You can follow Pete on twitter @PGAPappas



  1. More Help

    Feb 4, 2013 at 11:34 am

    What’s up to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this web site, and your views are pleasant designed for new viewers.

  2. TheGreekGrind

    Jul 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion and giving feedback ballgoinhole.

    I genuinely appreciate it.

  3. ballgoinhole

    Jun 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Well done! It’d be so easy to write about an upcoming tournament by reciting fact after fact after fact, the tour is full of them. Reading your personal opinion and stated biases makes the reading more enjoyable and adds the right spice to the mix. It’s one thing when some lunkhead posts a diatribe or scathing critique and quite another to read something from a knowledgeable golf writer who exercises fair and reasonable judgment. I find it more enjoyable to hear what people in the know think.

    As for TW, say what you will about his chances of winning a tournament or a major, but what we all tune into is his passion for the game and for excellence.
    You absolutely would never hear Tiger calling himself an idiot (PMickelson) or casting blame for a round that didn’t live up to expectations. Even when we all think he’s imploded (USopen rounds 3 and 4) his take was predictably grounded in the reality of playing the game.

    There is no one on tour more fiercely determined and when this passion is coupled with superb play we cannot take our eyes off him.

  4. ballgoinhole

    Jun 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm


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    Jun 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm

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Tour News

WATCH: Tiger Woods on Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf



Tiger Woods just appeared in a Bridgestone Golf Facebook Live video. While the audio isn’t the greatest (sounds like there’s some mowers rolling by), we’ve got to pass it along.

Check out the video below.

Woods initially discusses his wedges, before moving on to sharing some insights about how he hits his patented stinger–covering the ball, starting it farther right, and keeping his follow through short.

On his ball, the Bridgestone Tour B XS, which he presents as a softer ball well-suited to his swing, Woods says

“I need spin. I don’t spin the ball a lot. My swing has never produced a lot of spin. I’ve always been able to take spin off the golf ball–I grew up in an era where we played balata. What separated a lot of guys was the ability to take spin off the golf ball…to keep it below the tree line. There was a lot more movement in the golf ball.”

“My swing has naturally evolved. I’ve had different swings throughout the years, but each swing didn’t spin the ball a lot. So, when I get up to my long irons with a harder ball that most people would launch…I don’t. It falls out of the sky because it has so little spin.”

Woods mentioned that he hasn’t played Shinnecock since the course’s pre-U.S. Open makeover, but that he expects the course will be particularly difficult: an old-school U.S. Open with minimal graduated rough where it will be difficult to shoot under par.

Responding to comments, Woods sings Hazeltine’s praises and mentions he’d love to be able to wear shorts during PGA Tour events

“We play some of the hottest places on the planets and it would be nice to wear shorts…even with my little chicken legs,” Woods says.

Woods tells amateurs looking for more spin around the greens that they need a soft golf ball, mentioning that solid contact, maintaining loft, and allowing to club to do its job are key. Woods mentions that he has “a couple extra shots around the greens” thanks to the softness of his golf ball.”

We’ll next see the 14-time major champion in action at next week’s Memorial Tournament (which he discusses to wrap up the video).


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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Fort Worth Invitational



GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Absolutely savage new putter cover for Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm. Just killer.

Prettier than a new penny.

Spotted: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI

Everything here is excellent. Just excellent.

More like Garsen Murray. Am I right?

If you were Aaron Wise standing over the winning putt at last week’s Byron Nelson, this is what it’d have looked like (of course, you’d have had a ball and the putter would be soled on the green, but you get the point…)

Abraham Ancer’s new Artisan wedges are simply incredible… All of this: Artisan star stellar stuff.

Rickie Fowler has gone grape.

You can’t fool me. You’re not Adam Hadwin, you’re a golf bag.

Is Patrick Cantlay considering a switch to a Cameron Napa?

Check out all our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial



GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club (par 70; 7,209 yards). The event has now been hosted here for 73 straight years.

Headlining the field this week are Jordan Spieth, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Jon Rahm (No. 4), Justin Rose (No. 5) and Rickie Fowler (No. 6). Joining them are notables Webb Simpson, who’s coming off his win at The 2018 Players, as well as Wesley Bryan, Jason Dufner, Bryson DeChambeau, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Pat Perez, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, and last week’s champion, Aaron Wise.


Last year, Kevin Kisner captured the second PGA Tour victory of his career after shooting a final-round, 4-under 66.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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19th Hole