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AT&T National Preview

The International may be gone, but it’s been replaced by the AT&T National, the new host is Tiger Woods, the course is Congressional, and the beneficiaries are the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. What could be better?

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With the return of Tiger, Phil, and a week dedicated to the support of the troops, this week’s PGA Tour event is shaping up to be a week to remember.

This week’s stop is at the PGA Tour’s newest event, the AT&T National, which happens to be hosted by the world’s number one golfer and recent father, Tiger Woods. The main focus of this week’s tournament, aside from the anticipated great golf tournament, will be to entertain, and honor the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.  There will be many festivities and events surrounding the main event, events designed to honor, and show the continued support of the Armed Forces. Amid speculation of replacing the tour favorite, The International, the AT&T National will not just replace one of the former favorite stops, but will replace it with class, honor, and dignity.

One of the big events this week, for Tiger Woods anyhow, will be on the 4th of July.  The Earl Woods Memorial Pro-AM is slated to be played on this day. Earl Woods, who was a highly decorated Green Beret, Vietnam Veteran, and also a member of the Special Forces, is the honoree of this very special pro-am. Additional honors this week will include inaugural tee shots by Tiger Woods, and former president George W. Bush. This event holds a special meaning to Tiger as it gives him a chance to honor his father, and it also allows the PGA Tour as a whole, to show their support for the men and women of the armed forces. "It’s very important to me that this tournament honor the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces," Tiger Woods said. "They put their lives on the line so that we are able to enjoy our freedom, and we’d love for them to come out and enjoy a few days of relaxation." Not only is Tiger the best player in the universe, it also appears that his non-golf priorities are in check as well.

During the week there will be a plethora of events geared toward honoring and celebrating the United States Armed Forces. Most of these events are focused around golf, such as the pro-ams, clinics, various ceremonies and parties, caddying (done by selected military personnel), hospitality tents for wounded soldiers, concession discounts for the military (with valid military id), 30,000 complimentary tickets (given to active U.S. Military), and a few fortunate military personnel who were selected to give the first and tenth tee introductions. The PGA Tour has gone out of its way to make sure that this week is nothing short of special for the men and women of this country’s Armed Forces, who are able to attend.

After all of the pre-tournament revelry in support of the troops, the AT&T National will kick off on Thursday. The $6 million dollar purse and $1.08 million dollar winner’s check will be a superb payday for whoever happens to conquer the famous Congressional Country Club’s Blue Course.  Located in Bethesda, MD Congressional Country Club is one of the finest golf courses in all of the United States. Consistently ranked in the top 100 courses in the country, Congressional has been host to five major championships, including two U.S. Opens, The PGA Championship, and the U.S. Senior Open. Congressional is also looking forward to hosting its third U.S. Open in 2001. Also, the former host course of the Kemper Open, from 1980-1986, Congressional was an annual stop for the PGA Tour.  This Rees Jones design will measure in at 7,250 yards from the back tees, with a par of 70.  Although Congressional will not be the longest golf course on the PGA Tour this year, it will provide a good test for the players.  Even Tiger Woods appears to be a fan of the golf course, "It’s one of the great venues that we have in the United States.  We’re very excited. We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our tournament." Pretty high praises coming from the world’s number one.

Be on the look out for some serious firepower at this new event. Tiger Woods, in his first week back since becoming a father, has committed to play in the event. Surprisingly, Phil Mickelson, recently getting the clearance to play after a serious wrist injury, appears to be at 100 percent. Mickelson spoke about his wrist injury last week, "Two specialists looked at it and agreed there were injuries in multiple joints but they’re much better now because of the rest. The cortisone shot helped with one of the joints and there’s no real structural damage. The doctors both feel I’m ready to go back and play at 100 percent effort." That is great news for the tour and for Phil Mickelson. 

Jim Furyk and Adam Scott, the worlds number three and four players in the world respectively, have also stated their intent to play. Vijay Singh has also committed to play, but is having an MRI on his elbow, so his status is uncertain. This week’s field will include 15 players who have won on the tour this year, and 9 of the top 12 players on this years Fedex Cup point chase, and official money list.  Also be on the lookout for many other top international and American players such as: Mike Weir, K.J. Choi, Justin Rose, Camilo Villegas, Fred Funk, Charles Howell III, Shaun Micheel, J.J. Henry, Chad Campbell, Lucas Glover, Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes, who are all expected to tee it up this week in Bethesda. It is going to be a great week in Maryland.  This week’s winner will have to beat a world class field, navigate around a super golf course, and pay a little tribute to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.  It is shaping up to be a superb week of golf, don’t miss it! 

Notable past champions at the Congressional Country Club include:  Ernie Els, Craig Stadler, Ken Venturi, Tom Weiskopf, Dave Stockton, Fred Couples, Greg Norman, and Sergio Garcia.

Television Schedule:

Thursday            7/5:      3-6 PM ET                  GOLF
Friday                  7/6:      3-6 PM ET                  GOLF
Saturday            7/7:      1-2:30 PM ET             GOLF
Saturday             7/7:      3-6 PM ET                  CBS
Sunday               7/8:      1-2:30 PM ET             GOLF
Sunday               7/8:      3-6:30 PM ET             CBS

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. johnnypro

    Jul 5, 2007 at 11:49 am

    Why does even a golf tournament have to be “militarized?”

  2. MSG Aaron Jesko

    Jul 5, 2007 at 10:32 am

    How can soldiers find pictures of the AT&T National, especially on the 4th of July? I would like to see the pictures of the military and of the giant flag that was presented on the 1st hole on the 4th of july.

    Thank you,

    MSG Jesko

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European Tour and Ladies European Tour announce Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam will co-host mixed event in Sweden

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For the first time, the European Tour and Ladies European Tour will co-sanction an event which will combine a mixed field playing for the same trophy in a 72-hole strokeplay event.

The inaugural Scandinavian Mixed will take place from June 11-14, 2020, with a field of 78 men and 78 women playing for a total prize purse of €1.5 million at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Stockholm, Sweden.

Swedish golf stars Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam will co-host the event, with Stenson set to compete in the championship. Sorenstam, who has been retired since 2008, plans to play in the pro-am.

Speaking on hosting the event alongside Sorenstam, Stenson stated

“I’m extremely excited to host the Scandinavian Mixed alongside Annika, one of the best golfers the world has seen. To have men and women competing alongside one another showcases what is great about our game.

The European Tour has been leading the way in terms of innovative formats, and I believe this is certainly one that can be part of the way golf is played in the future.”

Ryder Cup and Race to Dubai points will be awarded to the male players in the event, while winnings from the tournament will count towards the LET’s official Order of Merit totals.

Both Stenson and Sorenstam are committed to co-host the event for the next three years.

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Morning 9: Bravo, Lanto! | Wisberger wins again | Rickie Fowler is a married man

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1. Bravo, Lanto! 
AP report on Lanto Griffin bursting out of the gate in his PGA Tour career at the Houston Open…
  • “Lanto Griffin took the lead with a 35-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and won the Houston Open on Sunday with a 6-foot par that gave him a 3-under 69 and a one-shot victory that sends him to the Masters next year.”
  • “Griffin was locked into a battle on the back nine at the Golf Club of Houston with Mark Hubbard and Scott Harrington…Hubbard lost the lead with a bogey on the par-5 16th, while Harrington’s big rally ended with a three-putt bogey on the 17th.”
  • “Griffin’s birdie on the 16th was his first since the eighth hole. On the 18th hole, he ran his 60-foot birdie attempt about 6 feet by the hole and made that to avoid a playoff.”

Full piece.

2. Capstone on Wiesberger’s comeback 
“Austrian Bernd Wiesberger held off a spirited challenge from England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick to claim his third European Tour title of the season at the Italian Open in Rome on Sunday.”
“Wiesberger carded six-under-par 65 in the final round at the Olgiata Club for a 16-under total to overturn a three-shot deficit and beat overnight leader Fitzpatrick by one stroke.”

Full piece.

3. Beemer!
Great stuff from Eamon Lynch, who spoke with the golfer-turned-analyst-turned-golfer-for-the-week Beem.
  • Here’s Beem discussing his son caddying for him…”I want to teach him how good rounds happen, how to save marginal rounds and how to make the most out of a bad situation,” Beem said. “He’s at that age where he gives up mentally. It’s easy to teach them when things are going well. But when things are going sideways, as they did today, how do you save this thing?”
  • “Rounds of 69-71 had put Beem inside the top 20 at the halfway point, but a lousy finish earlier to his third round was chapping him. “I shot 76 today and inside I’m fuming. But there’s nothing I can do,” he said between bites of the Mexican fast food the pair were sharing. “I gave it my best. That’s what I had today.”

Full piece.

Beem tied for 55th after a final-round 71
4. Kang’s advice
Mike McAllister at PGATour.com…“LPGA pro Danielle Kang had some choice words for her boyfriend, PGA TOUR rookie Maverick McNealy, after he shot a third-round 73 on Saturday at the Houston Open.”
“…So what exactly did Kang tell McNealy, who started the week nicely with a 68 before sliding down the leaderboard with middle rounds of 74 and 73?”
“She wanted me to do three things today,” said McNealy, who then provided the specifics.
  • “1. Don’t look at the leaderboards. “So I intentionally did not look at a single leaderboard today,” McNealy said, a difficult task on the back nine given his big move that at one point had him inside the top 10.”
  • “2. Be stronger and stricter with the mental scorecards. “I did that with my 95% of my shots today,” McNealy said. “I only had two shots that I wasn’t fully focused or in the zone or committed on, so I was really happy with that. If I can keep it to two or less, it’s going to be a good day.”
  • “3. Say two good things to himself after every shot. “So it was a very positive day out there for me,” McNealy said.”
5. Kelly rallies
AP report…”Madison’s Jerry Kelly knew he needed to make as many birdies as he could Sunday in a sprint to the finish in the SAS Championship. He was so locked into the process that he didn’t realize how many he made until he marked them down on his card.”
“Locked in a tight race, Kelly ran off five straight birdies to close out the front nine and then made an insurance birdie late that carried him to a 7-under 65 and a one-shot victory in the final regular-season event on the PGA Tour Champions.”
6. Hammer’s takeaway
Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”The 20-year-old University of Texas sophomore was extended a sponsor invite into the Houston Open, his hometown PGA Tour event, and walked away Sunday with a 1-over performance and four rounds under his belt.”
  • “It was a great week,” said Hammer, whose only other pro start came at the 2015 U.S. Open when he was 15 years old. “Obviously, I would’ve liked to have played a little better the last three rounds, but I made the cut and played for four days.”
  • “He also got a taste of just how tough the Tour can be. The reigning McCormack medalist as the world’s top-ranked amateur earlier this year, Hammer got a difficult draw. He had to play 12 holes in 30 mph gusts Friday and then wake up early to finish his second round on what was a 24-hole day on Saturday.”
7. Knight’s whirlwind
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…:”Cheyenne Knight drove through Whataburger on her way home from winning her first LPGA event.”
  • “After a satisfying meal of chicken tenders, sweet tea and fries, there was dancing in the kitchen with her family to “We are the Champions” by Queen.”
  • “It didn’t really sink in, however, until later on Monday when the family watched the replay from the final round of the Volunteers of America LPGA Classic. Congratulatory texts from the likes of Morgan Pressel, Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis, Angela Stanford and the Korda sisters helped too.”
  • “The whirlwind continued throughout the week, with Knight boarding a plane bound for China after getting in the field for the Buick LPGA Shanghai.”

Full piece.

8. Q-School storylines 
Zach Sepanik for LPGA.com with this on Lucy Li…”She may be gearing up for her first taste of Q-School and one of the youngest individuals competing at 17 years old, but Lucy Li (Redwood Shores, California) has big plans in her future both on and off the golf course.”
  • “As the professional ranks beckon, Li has no timetable for her announcement on making the leap. While she is still determining the right moment for a decision, one thing is for sure and that is how Li will make an impact outside the ropes.”
  • “I’m going to start a foundation giving back to junior golf part of my earnings from events I play,” said Li, who first got started in golf at the age of 7. “It is such a great sport and I really want more kids to play, especially with how many opportunities come through it. I’m going to take the time from now until next season starts to really figure things out with help from my family.”

Full piece.

9. ICYMI: Rickie’s off the market
As reported by Golf Channel’s Grill Room team…”Congratulations go out to Rickie Fowler and Allison Stokke, who just revealed that they got married last Saturday.”
“Fowler and Stokke on Friday both posted pictures of their Oct. 5 beach wedding to Instagram”
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Tour Rundown: Heroic and human in Houston

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It was a funny thing, to read on various social and traditional media sites, that this week’s PGA Tour event was not quite up to snuff. I hope that those pundits took the time out to watch the final 9 holes on Sunday. They saw a mix of heroic and human shots, of smart and silly decisions, and nerves galore. For those who decry the dominance of Brooks Koepka, this week was for them.

It was a lean week for professional golf, with the European Tour and PGA Tour Champions as the only other games in town. As with the Houston Open, each of those offerings provided an 11th-hour finish, providing attention-grabbing golf until the final putt was holed. Lest we forget, golf from October on used to be called the Silly Season, and it featured free money for dour professionals. Count how lucky we are on both hands, that the wraparound season, and the Schwab Cup, Race To Dubai, and Race to CME Globe came about. Let’s have a quick Tour Sprintdown, starting now.

PGA Tour: Houston Open readies for Memorial Park with Lanto’s win

The PGA Tour might have unknowingly stumbled onto a vial of elixir at this week’s H.O. With nary a star golfer to be found, the event came down to a battle of the also-rans (Stewart Cink, Chad Campbell, Harris English) guys who once were at the top, but now, are not; versus the wanna-get-theres (Lanto Griffin, Scott Harrington, Mark Hubbard) golfers freshly promoted from Triple A, itching for the security and confidence that a big-tour victory brings. I’m not sure how to package it, but there is something there! Paging Chris Harrison. Bring roses.

Back to the tournament. The Houston Open used to hold the door for the Masters, entertaining the best of the world; now, it doesn’t. That’s a negative. The tournament used to be played at a yawner of a tour course, in a town called Humble; in 2020, it returns to the city center, to a public course reborn from Tom Doak and Mike Nuzzo. That’s a huge positive. In 2019, viewers watched as a trio of non-winners soared and stumbled down the stretch, risking all to gather in an initial tour triumph.

It was a tale of three golfers: Lanto Griffin, the 3rd-round leader; Scott Harrington, the survivor; and Mark Hubbard, the best Twitter handle on any tour. Hubbard got nothing going on the back nine. Just one birdie would have brought him a tie for 1st. Instead, a lone bogey at the 15th cemented a tie for 2nd with Scott Harrington. Harrington narrowly missed a tour card during last season’s Korn Ferry schedule, but redeemed himself in the playoffs. He had four birdies and two bogeys over a 6-hole stretch late Sunday. Like Harrington, just one more birdie might have done the trick. Instead, it was Lanto Griffin, also a KF Tour graduate, who made a 6-feet putt for par at the frightening 18th, to win an inaugural tour title in style.

European Tour: Wiesberger holds off surging Fitzpatrick

Good old internal out of bounds. It snagged Rory McIlroy in Northern Ireland this summer, and it tackled Matthew Fitzpatrick at this week’s Italian Open. Something that should not exist, yet does, once again changed the course of a tournament. Fitzpatrick had the lead at the 9th, then he did not. He fought back gamely, but missed a golden chance for eagle at the 17th. The resulting birdie forced him to birdie the 18th, and he could not muster a 2nd-consecutive chirp.

Finishing a few groups ahead of Fitzy was Bernd Wiesberger, the talented Austrian who summoned all his skills over the closing 55 holes. From the 9th hole on Saturday through the finish, Wiesberger had 12 birdies and 0 others. He was flawless when he needed to be, and there was just enough flaw in Fitzpatrick to let Bernd through the door. The young Englishman had four birdies on the day, 3 on the inward half, when he needed to press. Would he have made them, had the 9th hole yielded par or birdie, rather than double bogey? Impossible to say. For the champion, Olgiata provided a venue for his 2nd Rolex Series title of the season, pairing well with Wiesberger’s Scottish Open triumph over the summer.

PGA Tour Champions: Kelly collects 3rd title of 2019

Jerry Kelly has never been one to hide his emotions. One imagines the glee on his Wisconsin-bred face as he birdied holes 5 through 9 on Sunday, racing to an outward 29 and the lead at the SAS Championship. One also imagines the consternation as New Zealand’s David McKenzie turned the tables, coming home with 5 birdies and 1 eagle for an inward 31. Fortunately for Kelly, he added birdies at 15 and 17, granting freedom to bogey the last and win by a stroke.

Kelly hasn’t been a Champions-Tour golfer for long. He won twice in 2017, a year after he reached the senior circuit, then dipped to 1 victory last season. 2019 has been a veritable motherlode for the tour grinder. SAS represented his 3rd title of this campaign, following wins in June at the AFI and September, at the ALLY. It also means that Kelly closed the gap on Scott McCarron, in the race for the Charles Schwab Cup. Three events remain, spread out over the next 5 weeks. As with everything else autumn, this race will not decide itself until the final putt falls.

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